You Don't Get What You Don't Ask For

Recently, I finished a book called #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso, the CEO of online retailer Nasty Gal, one of the fastest growing companies in fashion. Sophia's story from rags to riches is incredible; she built Nasty Gal from the ground up without any loans. At the time, she had been homeless and dumpster diving to make a living, and eight years later, Nasty Gal is a $100 million company. How did she do it?

In the book #GIRLBOSS, Sophia has a philosophy: You don't get what you don't ask for. Sophia is a hustler through and through, and one of her greatest strengths is identifying what she needs and where to get it. Sophia recounts a story where her eBay business (at the time) was doing well, and she continued to haggle the prices of the clothing she was purchasing at vintage stores. Over the years, this collective haggling allowed her to save the money she needed to scale Nasty Gal single-handedly, making her profitable from day zero. Some people may call her shameless, but she calls it strategic. Think about how many opportunities you have missed in your life, just because you kept your questions to yourself!

The ability to ask should be simple, yet it is not. As an educator, I see students fearing "The Ask," choosing to keep their ideas to themselves rather than reaching out and taking the risk. They would rather choose to fail (by not acting at all), then to try for the chance of succeeding. This mentality spreads to adulthood, where individuals live their lives in safety, not out of contentment but for fear of failure. To even contemplate the possibility of failure is debilitating for some.

What is so beautiful about Sophia's mantra is how this mentality can open up opportunities in almost every area of your life: work, social, health, relationships, and more. Love your company, but feel it is time to take on more responsibilities? Ask. Have an attractive friend and wondered what it would be like to date? Ask.

Of course, it is not to say that asking is consequence-free. There are occasions where it can backfire, such as a friend who discontinues their friendship after being asked out. However, the most important things in life are the ones worth fighting for. If it was easy to have a successful career or a happy relationship, everyone would have it. If it is important to you, acknowledge the fear and overcome it. After all, as famous hockey player Wayne Gretzky once said: You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.