No More No.

Getting what you want isn’t always easy. To do it, you better work. (covergirl!)

Growing up, one of my biggest fears was talking on the phone — with strangers. After each one of my birthdays, my mom would make me call and personally thank each and every person who gave me presents, even if it was her friend from work’s sister’s mom. Guess personalized stationary wasn’t cutting it. I dreaded calling anyone who I didn’t have a crush on or who didn’t want to gossip with me about what happened at school that day. Even worse, sometimes I had to call people to…gasp…ASK for things. I had an irrational fear of rejection, of being turned down. The thought alone made my stomach turn with embarrassment.

One of my internships this summer was with a non profit ballet company in Eugene. As the corporate partner manager for Ballet Fantastique, I have become, among other things, a “professional asker,” if you will. On a regular basis, I deal with business owners, hotel owners, advertising companies, restaurant gurus–you name it, I’ve probably talked to them. I came to realize that people are more willing than I would have ever imagined to engage with you and your cause. I wrote letters asking for free hotel rooms, gift certificates, cabins, concert tickets, advertising space — and after following up — I got exactly what I wanted, and what the company needed.

Yes, there were a few “no’s” thrown into the happy mix of “YES!,” but they began to seem trivial in comparison to the kindness I experienced from many willing donors.

Lesson learned. Don’t fear the phone. Don’t fear strangers. Learn to put yourself out there. Perseverance is key. People are often kinder than you would think. And if they can’t help out now, try again next time. And if they’re assholes about it, well screw ’em. You probably don’t want their name in your performance program anyways.

Three “well, no shit” moments:

1. If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it.

2. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.

3. If you don’t step forward, you will always be in the same spot.


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