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Making #boldmoves


I have always had an outgoing personality. I like being on stage, I like being in front of a camera. I’ve never been too sheepish or shy. But there is one thing I always have had trouble with–and that’s asking for what I want. It seems simple enough but for some reason when it comes to putting myself out there in that way, I have a really hard time.  I feel embarrassed, I don’t want to impose or come off as rude. (Is that silly? Do you have the same issue?) I remember when I first realized this about myself. It was when my younger brother got a really nice hand-me-down car for his sixteenth birthday from my grandparents. I couldn’t believe it. I had been riding around in a serious hooptie for years and my little brother gets the shiny ride?! What the what?! When, after moping around for days, I finally asked him why he got the nice car, when he got straight C’s and I got straight A’s. He responded very matter-of-factly that it was “because I asked for it and you didn’t.”  And this blew me away. It would have never occurred to me to ask for such a nice car. I wasn’t that bold. He was. So he got the car.

I’m not sure if it is a gender thing, or just a personality thing–but I’ve never felt comfortable asking for what I really want. I’m the type of person who even has a difficult time sending back orders at restaurants if something is wrong with the order (I’m that bad).  But secretly, I have always been envious of people who are bold enough to ask for what they want–and I have always been surprised by the fact that often times, they actually get it.

After noticing this pattern over and over again–but still, much of the time, not having the guts to ask for what I want — for my New Years resolution of 2012 I started a little game with myself. I called it #boldmoves. I made a pact with myself that everyday I would make one #boldmove, and ask for something I wanted–even if it took me outside my comfort zone (which it almost always does.)

So here’s how #boldmoves works. Say I want something–like I want to partner with a brand I really love, or I want a rate increase on a client project, or I want to work with someone that I really admire. I take a deep breath and just draft the email and send it off. I then send a copy of the email to myself and add the hashtag #boldmoves (so I have a record of all of my #boldmoves and I hold myself accountable). I try to make at least one #boldmove per day. After I send off the email I remind myself that the worst that can happen is either the person doesn’t respond to me or I don’t get what I’ve asked for–and in either case I’m no worse off than I was to begin with.

I have been pleasantly surprised in that oftentimes people do get back to me, and every now and again (about 40% of the time), people even say yes. The best part is that I’ve gotten better and better asking–and it’s become easier and easier. Fear of rejection softens with every email. I even started to send back breakfast if the eggs are too runny. Maybe not quite a #boldmove, but a step in the right direction, for sure.

Alternative Text Justina Blakeney

Designer, artist, stylist & mama. Founder and CCO at The Jungalow. Crazy for color, pattern and plants!

39 responses to “Making #boldmoves”

  1. annton says:

    Justina, I can so relate to this, So much. Usually an outspoken person, it is tough for me to ask those questions. But I am working on it, as I have found out, not asking leaves me in a position of slight envy and feeling set back towards the ones, who get what they want. Not because they deserve it or more or are better people. Only because they’ve asked.

  2. t olugbala says:

    i love your thinking and agree that our hesitance to be bold can be attributed to gender conditioning. women are taught to be meek, not fearless self-advocates. i’ve started a similar campaign called “things i’ve never done before.” it’s encouraging folks to try new things, step outside their comfort zones, and shed some insecurities along the way. i hope you’ll consider participating!


  3. I can relate to this, I may not be as bold as you in some ways but self advocacy has always been rough, I think too maybe a lack of self confidence too may play a role. Having three kids including one with Autism I am a fierce advocator for them. I get dressed up, take notes and go meet with a group of people at the school regularly to state what is best for them. Though when it comes to advocating for myself, my business or my art, I get sheepish. I like that you set a goal, awareness seems to be half the battle and then it sets forth the positive action. For years I have been working on getting a thicker skin and hearing more nos than yes. I wanted to thank you for the reminder to trudge foward again, undaunted and bravely. I wish us both success in “Bold Moves”

    • Justina Blakeney says:

      YES. Isn’t it weird how it’s easier, sometimes to advocate for others than it is to advocate for ones self!?!! *hugs* and #boldmoves!!

  4. sarah says:

    i LOVE this justina! i’m very similar… fear of rejection paralyzes me! taking inspiration from you and will be making some bold moves of my own!! thank you lady, you’re an inspiration, as always!

  5. Lix Hewett says:

    This is a really great, thought-provoking post; thank you for writing it! (And thank you to ohjoystudio for retweeting the link; I wouldn’t have gotten here otherwise, and I love your blog already.)

    I agree that gender conditioning can be a reason many women are afraid to ask for what they want, or don’t think it’s their place. I’ve managed to escape mostly unscathed from that due to a complete lack of regard or understanding of some of society’s mores (my manners are appalling and I have no concept of body image because manners don’t make rational sense and I can’t wrap my head around obsessing over body weight or considering certain weights unattractive), but most women don’t have personalities that border on Asperger’s or my luck in terms of having always been the body type society’s okay with in women.

    That aside, I can relate to a lot of what you said here. I’m not an outgoing personality by any stretch, I’m shy and introverted for the most part. I have my little exhibitionist streak, which mainly shines through in how much I love having my picture taken and plastering selfies all over the Internet (oh, lookbook, you enable me), but it’s different sending that sort of thing out into the world with no intended recipient than it is to go up to someone and demand their time or attention. I’ve always had trouble making friends because they took personally that I could never make that phone call or initiate hanging out, but I’m absolutely terrified of imposing on people. I want to hang out with you – I just don’t want to feel like I’m forcing you! It’s not that hard to grasp, is it?

    Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately, precisely because of a realization regarding my sister. We’ve had a spare room at home since my grandfather died, and I’ve talked about making that into a room for either me or my sister (we used to share) for years now, but it never came to anything. Then my sister gets it in her head that the room is going to be hers, and three months later it’s been repainted, refurnished, and she’s moved in! That was a real eye opener for me, and I’ve been a lot more aware of my reluctance to do the same thing, and trying to push myself to be a little bolder. Antidepressants sure helped with the social anxiety part – I have sent e-mails and messages that I’d never have dared before summer.

    I love your resolution of making bold moves every day, and I think I may borrow it. My bold move today: I recently started a photography shop on Etsy in hopes of making enough money to get my mom out of her toxic marriage and my sister and I out of the living situation it causes. Do you think you could maybe take a look at it, maybe even host a giveaway of one of my prints on this blog? It’s here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/lixhewettphotography And of course, you are free to say no. :D

    (And sorry about the long comment! Sometimes I start talking and I just can’t stop!)

  6. Bayernfee says:

    a lot of women can relate to this, me included.
    I salute your resolution to go forward with a strategy to change this. A BOLD MOVE every day! Just ASK, you’ve got nothing to lose! Great post.

  7. susan says:

    I love this…I shall join you in your BOLDMOVE quest!

  8. Fenna Blue says:

    I think this is really a very big deal. I’ve found that there is a common breakdown in communication in a variety of ways, like asking for what you want. We fear rejection, because we take it to heart, as if it’s an insult. I’ve found this to be similarly true with feelings. I’ve been very, very open with my feelings lately…in particular, my struggles with anxiety, training to run a marathon, and my new job. It is sort of amazing to me how many people hold it against me…but I have to remember that I’m putting myself out there and being totally open and honest, and there is nothing wrong with that. So that’s my bold move, staying true to myself and my feelings and being open and honest. I loved this post!!

  9. Oh yeah, baby! #boldmoves 2013!!! Thanks for all the inspiration, Tina. You rule.

  10. janika R says:

    love the idea….
    Yes, Bold moves will make us bolder and better. The worst that can happen in any attempt is Rejection and Once we are OK with it…Just going ahead is the only thing that matters…

    Thanks for the Inspiration.


  11. i have followed your #boldmove movement since our Skype chat- thanks! and that car story is totally me and my sister- i never ask, she does…and it works! i am learning this too. thank you for sharing!

  12. Really thankful for this post :)

  13. Sierra says:

    Excellent post and mission! You are 100% right, it’s amazing what can happen if you ask for it. I have been trying my hardest to both apply do things that scare me and to reach out to those I want to work with and it’s been amazing how many have said yes. All it takes is a deep breath and the courage to hit send ;)

  14. love this! I just sent you an email and it was my #boldmove today, before I even read this post :)

  15. Lesley says:

    #boldmoves. Love this…totally rung true for me as well. The story with your brother is so similar to situations that have arisen with my own bro too! It is hard to ask sometimes (most of the time)…here’s to BOLDMOVES!!

  16. Marisa says:

    Not feeling comfortable asking for what we want is pretty common for women. One of my professors is an economist who focuses on this very issue and tries to teach women how to negotiate as a means of closing the wage gap. It’s more of a business perspective, but if you’re interested here’s the link to one of her books: http://www.amazon.com/Women-Dont-Ask-Negotiation-Strategies/dp/0553383876/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_y

  17. Goldammer says:

    Wow, thank you, I needed that right now. I’ve been avoiding asking a connection in the working world for a job for quite some time now, almost to the point when it would be awkward. I only needed ten minutes to write the email now and I already feel better, so thanks for the kick in the a** ;-).

    I don’t think it is a womens thing, I also know some guys who feel uncomfortable asking for something they want. I think it is more like: “I am not worth asking you, because you don’t know me this much and/or I never did something for you”. Others hate having to be grateful. Strangely, these persons are almost never refusing their help if asked and they don’t expect anything in return.

    Anyhow, as you said, we cannot be worse off than before asking, thank you again for the reminder!

  18. stephanie says:

    as always, totally inspired!

  19. Bubbie says:

    What a great daily practice. I am going to start by being aware of times I want to ask but don’t. At 65 it’s a long engrained (bad) habit and I have many opportunities every day to do better. I also find that what I do instead is often manipulative and therefore yucky and disrespectful.

  20. This is a fabulous idea. I have trouble asking for things and have been looked over because of it. I still find it difficult but I’m going to try this out. Thanks!

  21. em says:

    thanks for the inspiration, I’m the same type as you, quite shy when it is about asking things for me (although i am very good at asking for others…)
    I’ll try to implement that this week too!
    have a good week!

  22. […] -You know all those emails you want to send and connections you want to make, but you’re too terrified to make it happen? Make some bold moves! […]

  23. Hadley says:

    Justina! This is my New Years resolution this year too. So much better than the usual resolutions…more than anything it helps me stay positive and procrastinate less. Go us!

  24. Great way to approach going for it! I’ve always been shy about asking for things. Even when staying overnight at a friend’s house growing up, I’d wait for her to ask if I’m hungry or thirsty rather than mentioning it myself. Seems lame now, but even as an adult, I hesitate to put myself out there. But like you said, even if you’re turned down, you’re no worse off than if you hadn’t asked, and along the way you build up some confidence that you’re worth it!

    • Justina Blakeney says:

      exactly. Isn’t it crazy how these things stay with us throughout our lives? Stop hesitating and make some #boldmoves!! :D

  25. Hiba says:

    I could totally relate to this on soo many levels, it was amazing reading your blog :)

  26. Cori Magee says:

    I feel so incredibly LUCKY to have received this advice in person. I love this post and thank you for motivating me!
    I hope all your #boldmoves come true!

  27. […] got back to me with this simple phrase: Ask for What You Want. This resonated with me immediately (remember my #boldmoves post?). It was, in fact a #boldmove for me to ask Rena at all, totally out of the blue, to participate in […]

  28. […] ya un par de meses descubrí a Justina y su post “Making Boldmoves” ella contaba ese juego que comenzó a practicar para afrontar su miedo a pedir las cosas. Estoy […]

  29. […] nuestra zona de confort. Podéis leer más y mejor sobre #boldmoves en el post de Maïder o en el post original (en […]

  30. […] place, a plantastic place. This is a place that embraces imperfections and supports growth and #boldmoves. And that’s me in a nutshell–or a seashell or […]

  31. Trent says:

    Great article, totally what I needed.

    My page web site [Trent]

  32. […] for something functional and good looking and several styles that I loved at GE, so in classic #BoldMoves form, I hit them up to see if they would be game to be part of the Jungalow remodel fun and they […]

  33. […] up without making this the world’s longest post) remembering kindness, accountability and #BoldMoves  always helps me to make good […]

  34. […] year, I’ve talked about #boldmoves and I’ve talked about laying a lot of eggs and seeing which ones hatch.  Well, I couldn’t […]

  35. […] year, I’ve talked about #boldmoves and I’ve talked about laying a lot of eggs and seeing which ones hatch.  Well, I couldn’t […]

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