Don't Give Me All That Shy Shit
If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer’s always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place. — Nora Roberts
“Elvira if you don’t ask, you don’t get”, these are words that echo round my head whenever I’m faced with a new challenge that I feel too embarrassed to address. I was shy child, an uncertain teenager and now somewhat of a nervous young adult. However, I was born to a strong, self-assured, African woman, who has regularly reminded me throughout the years (in her best pidgin accent, no doubt) that no one has any time for “Miss Shy Shy”.
And believe me, she most certainly lived what she preached. Summer 2005, we took a family holiday to New York. Back then, all the big rappers were rocking Jesus pieces and being "bling bling" was a standard black boys needed to adhere to. My brother, being an impressionable early 20 something year old, dragged my mother to the Jacob & Co store to ogle at the impressive jewellery that the likes of Kanye West were rocking daily. She followed, waddling elegantly in her sandals as only a Nigerian woman can.
While my brother and I cowered in the corner of the shop, embarrassed at being in such a bling environment when we weren’t really looking that bling ourselves, my mother waddled straight up to the counter and asked the assistant whether Jacob was in today, not even really knowing exactly who Jacob was. I'll never forget the look on that assistant’s face! I’m sure she was thinking who da hell is this fresh woman asking for one of the most sought after jewellers in the country?!
Regardless, my mother stood strong and because she asked with such confidence and ease, she seemed to confuse everyone in that store. Lo and behold, Mr Jacob & Co stepped out himself to greet us and before you know it, we were all having tea and cake in his office that afternoon. Soon after, my brother was introduced to Mr West, a friend of Jacob's, obviously. All because my mother had the balls to ask! [She tried a similar thing in DASH Miami with the Kardashians, leaving her phone number for Kim, but it didn’t work as effectively. Kim if you’re reading this, Miss Charity is still waiting for a call back].
So you see, with an example like that, I had no choice but to learn to overcome feeling uncomfortable in getting the things I wanted. As my mother correctly taught me,
You don’t get by waiting for someone to give to you. Ask and make it happen.
I regularly get messages from people seeking answers on how I landed that paid collaboration with so and so brand or how I organised a free brunch for my blogger friends. Here’s the super amazing, out of this world, you-wouldn’t-even-believe-it secret!! You ready? …. I just asked. Sometimes, I get a no and I ask someone else or I wait a while and ask again but in a different way. Sometimes, I smile really nicely and sell my pitch and it’s a yes. The important part my dear reader, just in case you missed it, is I asked.
Never be afraid to go after what you want. Ask and you shall receive, that’s the saying right? But even if you ask and you don’t receive, what’s really the worst that could happen? Your ego may be a bit bruised but I promise, you’ll live. Give it a go and see. Mama Charity would be so proud ;D
Favourite pieces from Nine Lives
*Title from 'Sugar' by Maroon 5