It’s my favourite quote of all time, shared from the lips of one of the most respected women on the planet – Oprah Winfrey. I’m guessing that perhaps, you already know the phrase.
Years ago (and honestly, I should probably say eons), I was in third grade, participating for the very first time in a school fundraiser. I brought the little booklet home and approached my parents, trembling with worry: I didn’t know how to raise donations for the cause. I knew my parents would donate; however, I was terribly frightened that I would be the only child in the class who came up short of the minimum suggested goal of $10.00.
I wept in my room.
My dad, upon seeing his little girl in distress, told me to write a note on the booklet with my name, my grade, and a simple request asking others to give. I took my time and wrote out a plea, decorating it with hearts and flowers.
The next day, my dad took that little booklet to work and stopped by a few desks. A few offices. The lunchroom. The smoker’s lounge. And at the end of the day, he returned with over $100.00 in donations, the little booklet filled up twice over. Each person had only donated a small amount – $0.50, or a dollar at the most – but he had the courage to simply ask. And his request was answered.
That weekend, I wrote a “thank you” note to every single person who had donated. And as my wrist ached and my fingers numbed to the feel of the pencil, I pressed on, knowing that I wanted to show appreciation not only to my dad’s kind co-workers, but also, to my dad. Because he taught me a powerful lesson that day: you get in life what you have the courage to ask for. And years later, when Oprah touted that all-so-powerful phrase, I nodded my head in agreement, having already lived through my own moment of realization. Having understood the message. …