For a second, think about a situation where you needed to ask for permission to do something. You wanted to purchase something at work or go somewhere for a conference. You agonize about asking your question for minutes, hours or possibly days. You play possible situations and conversations over and over in your mind. Inevitably, the hypothetical question sneaks into your head……..what if they say no????
I don’t know who “they” are. But “they” used to scare me A LOT, as did the possibility of hearing the word no. This applied to many different situations. Buying our car, applying for a house loan, and a million other little things, professionally and personally, all had the same possible outcome. Someone might say no…….
As a beginning teacher, I wanted to stay in my room, teach my kids and not ruffle any feathers…….ever. If I needed something, it was easier to go out and buy it myself than to ask someone to get it for me. People were busy and I did not want to bother anyone. I did not know what was acceptable to ask about or challenge, I was new…..and young. However, as time went on, I became…..not new anymore. I am one of the older teachers in my building. Still not sure how or when the change occurred; but the word no doesn’t scare me like it used to, because when it comes right down to it…….
What’s the worst that can happen??
Last school year, we wanted to make AVID t-shirts. AVID is a program for increasing student success for all students in a school, but there is usually a group of students getting a little more support. I teach one of the support classes; and my friend Monica and I coordinate the program at our school, with the help of our assistant principal. Recognizing and making these t-shirts was really fun, once we got them rolling. But there was a little bit of stress beforehand.
We found the t-shirts we wanted at JoAnn Fabrics, on sale for $1 per shirt. However, we did not have time to go through the proper channels to get a P.O. and so on. Of course, we found these on a Friday and the sale ended on Saturday. So we paced and talked and analyzed what would happen if we bought them or if we waited……..aahh!!! Finally, we asked the secretary if it was possible. We thought the worst possible outcome was she would say no, it could not be done and we would just figure out a different way to get the shirts. She told us to just buy them and we ended up saving $200 for our group of kids. Like a lot of things in education, we did not really have a budget to begin with, so this was great news for us!! (Side note, if you are smart you will treat the secretaries or administrative assistants in your building like kings and queens!! They can make or break your life many a time, trust me!!!)
More and more at my school, I have adopted this motto. (Hopefully my principals don’t get too mad about me writing this one.) What is the worst that can happen? Yes the worst would be to get fired, but I am kind of assuming here that your solutions, ideas and questions are not inappropriate and it is going to be okay. This kind of ties into Needing Professional Development. If you want to go to a conference or workshop, ask to go. The worst that is going to happen is “they” might say no. But “they” might say yes and you might get to GO!!!!
My husband is really good at this. He plants an idea in my brain, let’s it sit there for a while. Brings it up occasionally just to keep the idea there. Works out a business pitch about why he needs the item and how it will help him in the long run. He could teach a course to husbands on how to get your wife to say yes to just about any purchase. Salt water fish tank in Minnesota sound familiar to anyone else……..But all the while he is thinking the worst that can happen is I might say no. (Actually he is probably thinking he will keep asking until I eventually just say yes.)
Challenge Time!! All I want you to do is keep this in mind. If you are a don’t want to ruffle any feathers kind of person, just once ask your question to one of the “thems”. Instead of sitting quietly by the wayside and letting business go on as usual, ask your question. Seriously, what’s the worst that can happen? Someone might say no…….but they might say yes!!! If you have any other tips or tricks, let us know here or on the Facebook page, Speaking Jelinese. I appreciate any likes, comments or shares. Those buttons help us build our community of people trying to find balance in this chaos we call life!!
Talk to you soon,