Don’t ask and you will never get anything!

Source: Her Campus

Do you know why Christmas lists exist? For parents to know what their children want exactly, for them to be able to give them exactly what they wish for. Simple. All this Santa Claus fantasy is only for parents to be able to please their children and get them EXACTLY what they dream of, at least once a year.

When we become adults, we stop believing in Santa Claus and we stop believing in asking. Asking makes us weak. People may think we are needy, incapable of getting what we want by ourselves. We are ashamed. We hope, we pray, but we don’t ask. Things have to come our way… by themselves.

That’s why most of the time we do not get anything.

Just like when we do not shamelessly promote ourselves.

When I decided for Elle Citoyenne to switch from blog to civic media, I asked people to give me their opinion on the website. I was scared, I must admit. It is always difficult to have people assessing something we spent sleepless nights creating and maintaining. But I had to, if I wanted to move forward. I had to go to them and ask.

I did not ask my friends or people who were already fond of the concept. No. I asked those who virtually never interacted with the platform and those renowned for their critical sense and their sharp tongue. It was not the easiest of experience. They just killed me. But it was for a greater good. I needed that to improve. It made me see what I never thought of in terms of defects and limits. It enabled me to reposition my (non-existent at the time) strategy. It made me want to be better, to go farther. But I should admit that the first thing it made me want to do was to give up everything. These people were harsh my people!

After that I had (and still have) issues with getting contributions from citizens wanting to share their opinion. I thought in my little brain that making the decision to switch from a personal/private platform to a collaborative one would automatically make people know they could contribute.

Nothing came.

And I was desperate.

Desperate to the point that yesterday night, I made a facebook post.

I never thought anyone would react. People I never dreamt to have on the website expressed their interest. One of them even told me he was afraid to ask, but followed my work from afar. If I could slap myself I would. For real. All I had to do was to ask, and I was there, struggling for months to get contributions.

I still want to slap myself. A Facebook post. Only that.

Truth is no matter what happened after me asking, there is one thing for sure: asking, especially in a “tossing a bottle into the sea” mode, is scary. What if no one reacts? What if people tell me “That would never happen!”? What if people unfriended me because of that post? It is natural and normal to ask oneself all these questions and even more, but when we think of it, nothing will suffer the rejection except the ego.

Rejection won’t make me sick or freeze my brain and my creativity. It will make me feel worthless for a week or two, but that’s all. Nothing fatal. And as Myleik Teele said, “No is still an answer, one that should make you want to do better.”

The most important thing is through asking, people knew exactly what I wanted/needed. Those who wanted to help or participate knew exactly how to do so. Just because I clearly stated my needs to them. Please can you… I need you to… Would you guys be interested in… That’s all it takes to make everyone around us a potential Santa Claus. Ask and they will reveal themselves.

Ask my people. Especially if it can make you move forward in what you do. Don’t sit down in the middle of the street crying for help, but ask when you need to do so, when it’s important, when it’s useful. Maybe one day I will tell you what happened when I asked Marcus Ibuka Ndjoli, Tchonté P.M. Silué and Clovis to tell me about what they think of me as a person. These people crushed what I thought of myself in two minutes. TWO.

Hello, my name is Befoune and I left my job to follow my dream!

I created the civic media Elle Citoyenne to promote Civic opinion and participation, and celebrate civic action in Africa. My dear friend Tchassa Kamga and I created the publication Self-Ish on Medium to document our lives as humans and share our experience in self improvement, content creation and what we call human relationships.