Last week, I had a win at work: someone agreed to do something, when I thought it was more likely that they would say no. Later I was telling the woman who gives me Brazilian waxes about it, in similarly vague terms. (Am I the only one who always winds up telling hairstylists and aestheticians about her life?) She said, “Good for you for asking. Closed mouths don’t get fed.”

It turns out that’s a common expression, but I’d never heard it before, and I told her I liked it. She said she’d heard it in a movie.


A Secret to Success: It Never Hurts to Ask #motivational quotes #inspiration #inspo #how to succeed in life #how to be successful in your career


The very next day, I did what I’d been putting off for more than a week: I contacted a few people and asked for help for the new business I’m trying to grow. We’ll see how that goes!

If they say no, or if I just don’t hear back from them, I’m a sixpence none the poorer. So why did I wait a week to ask?

I guess I feared that these people, whom I respect and look up for, would think badly of me for asking. I imagined them saying to others: “How dare she! Why would I want to help her out?”

But this was silly. Most of us don’t mind a polite, reasonable request, even if we’re going to decline it.

And what if someone did think I had a lot of nerve? know what J.K. Rowling said (according to the internet, anyway):


“Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”


I think it can be hard for writers and other creative people, in particular, to ask for what we want. After all, many writers are introverts who have trouble putting themselves out there. However, writing and other creative fields really reward doing just that.

Writers who spend some time submitting work and getting rejected have a great advantage here. They know that they don’t fall apart if someone says no, and they know that it often takes a lot of no to get to a yes. This is applicable to other spheres of life as well, from career to dating to traveling.



Last year I got the chance to hear Grace Bonney, the founder of the popular website Design Sponge, talk about getting over her fear of rejection. I may not get all the details right, but here’s the main idea. For several weeks, she made requests that were almost certain to be rejected. Imagine calling a delivery pizza place and asking for a pizza with dried seaweed as a topping, or asking for a fifty percent discount on your drugstore purchase, and so on. This not only cured her fear of being rejected, but also showed her that many people will try to accommodate even unreasonable requests to some extent.

Her “rejection therapy” involved smaller requests, but I’ve learned just in the past couple of years that big requests can change your life.

I’ve also learned how valuable it is to not give up after a bunch of rejections. One year, I set a goal of getting 50 writing rejections by December 31. I figured this would keep me sending out my stories and poems. My novel Sole Possession had been rejected a handful of times, and I was about to give up on it, but I sent it out one more time just to reach my rejection goal. Instead, I got a book contract.

When we’re trying to solve a problem or achieve a goal, a lot of us don’t even think of getting help from others. We can get entrenched in the idea of thinking that we have to do everything by ourselves. At times, we can feel that asking for help shows weakness.

It’s good to be responsible and independent. But if we ask for help when we really need it, and we often give help to others when they ask for it, we’re going to have better lives.

Is there something you could ask for–this very week–that might make a difference? Why not give it a try?


A Secret to Success: It Never Hurts to Ask #motivational quotes #inspiration #inspo #how to succeed in life #how to be successful in your career


Have you ever been glad you got up the courage to ask? Have you had some negative experiences that keep you from asking? Let us know about it in the comments! Thanks for reading, and have a good week!