Since I’ve been in California (no, this isn’t another recap of a weekend that was better than yours, chill out), I’ve been spending a lot of time doing things alone and finding ways to entertain myself because while I know a few people here including coworkers, I’m not spending every waking moment working or hanging out with them. Basically, I have A LOT of free time.
I am one of those people who always had some sort of social aversion to doing things on my own. The whole “oh my God I’m going to look so silly hanging out at this place alone even though I REALLY WANT TO GO, what will people think of some girl wandering aimlessly in a sundress with a camera around her neck?” Before I started working for myself I wouldn’t have even thought about going to Panera to get coffee and sit with my laptop and a book for a few hours. I felt too uncomfortable and would get anxiety once it got a tiny bit crowded. Then I’d leave, making it a completely unproductive trip because it’s not like I can get anything done in 20 minutes. I was afraid to zone out, as if I had to be completely aware of my surroundings while in public at all times (you do, but not that much).
This trip has forced me to do more by myself, which is actually something I wanted to get out of it since I rarely do that at home. Why, I have no idea. I think I’m pretty cool so what’s wrong with using myself as company, right? Not in like a “hey that’s the girl who talks to herself” way, but in a “I don’t need other people around 24/7 to have a good time” way.
But this post isn’t about how you should spend more time with yourself. No, it’s about something completely different and now I don’t even know why I spent 3 paragraphs talking about that. OH! Because it’s one of several ways I’ve learned to leave my comfort zone, which has helped me grasp the concept of one of the most important things you can ever learn to do, and that is to learn how to ask for what you want.
Seriously, you guys. I don’t want to sound all Dr. Phil or Suze Orman on you, but I know a lot of people who don’t know shit about doing this. I’m one of them, except maybe I’m not anymore because writing a blog post on something usually makes me an expert on the subject. Asking for what I want has become one of the greatest things I’ve learned to do because, well, despite how terrifying and difficult it sounds, I have started to get what I want!
I feel like I’m “practicing” doing this by asking for little things I wouldn’t normally ask for at all. I want to try your yoga studio but what if I hate it? Can I try a class for free before signing up rather than paying $16? I can? AWESOME! Hey client, I’d prefer to send you invoices biweekly rather than monthly like you’re used to, do you mind? No? Thanks!
Yea, these are borderline insignificant and don’t necessarily apply to big-world questions such as “can I have a raise?” or “can you add avocado to that?” or “will you marry me?”, but baby steps, right? A lot of people seem to think I wouldn’t have a problem going balls deep and doing whatever I gotta do to get what I want, but the truth is I can be a huge fucking baby when it comes to that. A lot of times I’d rather not ask and just go with the flow if the ground rules are already established. I’d rather not hear someone tell me “no.” Oh, and that’s the other thing.
The worst that could happen is that they will say no. And then what? Unicorns die? Kittens grow gnarly fangs? No. But at least you tried.
I’d rather not settle for something if I have a different alternative, particularly an alternative that isn’t going to do much, if any, harm. I don’t normally bother saying anything until I’m about to get stomped on, but what’s the point in delaying the inevitable if I already know? Just shut up and ask, Mandy.
All I want out of life (well, one big thing) is to successfully work for myself, making a lucrative income that me and my (future) family can live comfortably with. I want to get married someday and have children and a bunch of other expensive things, and I want to be able to fully enjoy every moment without having a soul-sucking job that I hate taking up my time. Obviously self-employment has some extreme soul-sucking tendencies, and realistically takes up more time than a typical 40 hour office job, but I think I forgot to mention above that I also want to feel fulfilled and happy and I want my hard work to pay off in return.
What’s that have to do with anything? Well, two serious traits that I know have set me back in regards to my career goals have been my difficulty with just going and doing things on my own without hesitation, and my lack of effort in asking for what I want. If I can’t do those, I probably can’t elbow my way through the masses of buzzword-obsessed mediocre writers.
You might have read this and thought “wow Mandy you went in public alone and asked for a free yoga class, you’re really going to do a fucking jig over it?” And you know what? Yes. Yes I am.