I was recently asked for “The best advice I’ve ever received.” While I’ve received a lot of advice in my 26 years and a lot of people have influenced me with their words, if I had declare one piece of advice as the most influential and meaningful in my life, it would have to be from my Dad on asking for what I want in life.
Now, I can’t pin point the exact moment that he first bestowed this advice upon me, but it has been one of my more distinguishable traits for as long as I can remember. Probably my earliest memory is as a child when I go to a restaurant and pretend to be mature, normal child and order a side salad. I would look up at the unknowing waiter and politely ask for a side salad with cheese, crotons, and ranch and never left off the “no lettuce, please.”
While an eight year old ordering a particularly unusual salad may not demonstrate why this advice has been so meaningful, it really is the start to what has shaped me to be who I am today.
As a child and on to my adulthood, I have always been encouraged to ask for exactly what I wanted and have been able to articulate myself maturely (or at least, I think so.) While it progressed from custom ordering off of a menu, to asking for leadership positions, and to requesting collaboration for this blog, asking has always been something that I am not afraid to do.
Recently, at the Forbes Under 30 Summit (did you know Iattended J) I spent a day with the Mayor of Philadelphia who was leading a very ambitious campaign for the city of Philadelphia to host the Summit next year and he said “You don’t get unless you ask.” And that my friends, is the best advice I think anyone can give.
I’m not claiming to be the best practitioner of this advice. I have certainly missed out on a few opportunities because I was too afraid to ask for them. It can be intimidating to ask because you risk the answer of a “no” but from my experiences, more often the not, the answer is “YES!”