Do you ever wonder why out of the millions of conversations you've had over your lifetime; there are several that remain front and center in your mind?
I was twenty-four and working for the Indiana State Police as a grant administrator and personnel officer. I enjoyed my job but wanted more. A good friend of mine from high school was the head coach at a large school district in Indianapolis. One night we were talking and he offered me a job as the distance coach for the high school girls track team. Since running in high school and college, it was a job I had always wanted, but there was one problem...my day job was a BIG obstacle.
When my friend asked me to consider the position, I immediately thought, "There is no way I can make this work. I would have to leave work two hours earlier than I leave now. My boss is not going to go for it."
But I really wanted to coach!
After several days of being in agony on what to do, I sought counsel from Major Medler.
He had always given me good advice. I shared with him my dilemma. His response changed my life. He said, "Ask. The worst that is going to happen is that your boss is going to say no. But at least you'll know."
After my conversation with Major Medler, it took several hours to get the nerve and "pop" into my boss's office. He was also a Major, but he intimidated me. I hem-hawed around and finally he said, "Stenger (that was my maiden name), what do you want?!"
I stuttered, "Well sir, I have been offered a coaching position. I'd really like to do it, but my current hours won't allow for it. Would it be possible…for me to…um…come in early and work through lunch so I could leave at 2:30?"
Whew...I had done it. I was bracing for the worst case scenario when he said, "Will this affect your work?"
More confidently I responded, "No sir, no it won't."
He grinned and said, "Okay, you can work an adjusted schedule and coach. Have fun!"
I wanted to give him a big bear hug, but that probably wasn't the most appropriate response. I thanked him continuously as I backed out the door. I could have done the Irish jig down the hallway, but no need to draw attention to myself. I couldn't believe it! I was going to be a coach. A dream was coming true!
Over the last 14 years, I have never forgotten that lesson. There are hundreds of opportunities I would have missed out on for the fear of hearing the word no. You know what I learned? That most of the time...people say YES! People want to help other people. People want to give other people chances.
This has become second nature to me, but I thought of it today when I was watching Katie Couric interview Elizabeth Banks. It seems like someone gave her good advice years ago also.
What have you been scared to ask but fear hearing no? Comment below or send me a message. I would love to encourage you as the Major encouraged me so many years ago.