When living in Detroit in the mid-nineties, we had a very strange experience with a door-to-door salesman. We opened the door, and there stood a VERY enthusiastic young man with a bottle of citrus spray cleaner and a rag. He animatedly (including some dance moves) jumped into his presentation: “I have this amazing new cleaner that will clean anything! Let me show you!” He proceeded to spray and wipe dirty surfaces within arm’s reach – our front door, a window, the corroded metal hand railing, and even my shoes. He showed us that his cleaner was non-toxic by spraying some in his mouth. He interjected his pitch with plenty of finger snaps, winks, high fives, and entertaining gimmickry. And you know what? The stuff worked! We probably would have bought a bottle, but when it came time to wrap up his pitch, he just smiled wide and said “Well, thanks for your time! Have a nice day!” He never asked for the sale! He just danced his way to the next house on the block, fingers snapping to the tune in his head.
We stood there, semi-stunned, wondering if we had narrowly escaped a porch mugging. More than likely, though, despite his confident exterior, he just lacked the nerve to commit and ask for the sale. Maybe he was afraid of rejection. Maybe he wanted us to beg him to come back. I don’t know. He didn’t follow through, and he lost the sale.
I still struggle with communicating my desires. I assume the people around me, especially those closest to me, will be able to read my mind, or know me well enough to know what I want without me having to actually say it. I’m often afraid that speaking my mind will lead to rejection, humiliation, or some form of demotion. This mentality can lead to some really damaging thoughts: “Nobody understands me. Things will never change. I’m stuck in this situation, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I’ll just mope about until the skies part and drop opportunity in my lap.” Like the spray cleaner salesman, I dance around and hint about my inner desires, but rarely truly express them in a way that lets people know I’m serious about making a change.
Are you keeping your desires and passions squashed down deep inside? Is the “real you” ready to burst out, but only if the right moment presents itself? If you’re serious about changing your circumstances, get serious about saying so. Don’t let your fear of rejection keep you from speaking up.