“You Miss 100% of the Shots You Don’t Take…” ~Wayne Gretzky
It all started a few weeks ago while on my way to Portland, Maine for work. I had been running late for my flight and ended up skipping lunch to make it in time. While in the air, I sat in my seat watching as the flight attendant made her way down the aisle offering snacks and beverages to passengers. I was starving, yet when she reached me I felt a pang of guilt rush over me as I asked for more than one snack. I asked her for one bag of peanuts AND a packet of cookies. With a smile she obliged and the guilt eventually went away as I enjoyed my snacks. It was at that moment that it hit me… In all my years of traveling with Delta, and all my years feeling ‘greedy’ and ‘guilty’ for requesting two snacks, the flight attendants never said ‘no‘ to me. Where was the guilt coming from? More importantly, was my guilt causing me to miss out on more?
As simple as it may seem, that realization led to a major breakthrough for me. When faced with an opportunity to ask for what I want, I hesitate…
For the rest of my flight, I couldn’t stop thinking about my tendency to hesitate. So many questions ran through my mind. Where else did that hesitation exist in my life? What else was I afraid to ask for? Which areas of my life were being affected by those feelings?
I got to the office the next day and decided to share the snack story with my colleagues. I asked them all the following question: “When on a flight, how do you typically respond when asked if you want ‘Peanuts, Pretzels, or Cookies’?”
The discussion that followed was eye opening for me. I was amazed to hear stories of my coworkers asking for ‘1 of each’, or ‘2 peanuts and 2 cookies’, or asking for the entire can of soda instead of just a cup.. AMAZING!! All this time I was feeling guilty about asking for two snacks, when in reality some of my coworkers were getting much more when flying! I realized at that moment that I’d grown comfortable with simply accepting what was given to me, rather than defining what I wanted and asking for it. The conversation with my coworkers inspired the creation of the “Biscoff Challenge“. (We all share a love for the Biscoff cookies offered on Delta flights)
The challenge we created was simple: step outside of your comfort zone and ask for more than you normally do. To add an extra layer to the challenge, we set one rule. When attempting the Biscoff Challenge, no one is to know the “why”behind your request; not before, not during, not after. In other words, don’t explain the challenge before asking for ‘more’, and don’t try to justify the reason for your request to the person you’re making the request of. The purpose of the rule is to ensure that the focus stays on you, and not the people around you. After the conversation with my colleagues, I knew what I had to do. My mission on the next flight was to ask for 3 packs of Biscoff cookies.
So why the challenge?
Too often, many of us sacrifice our own satisfaction for the sake of how we might be perceived, or to avoid making the people around us feel uncomfortable. It’s possible that we mirror our own personal judgments and reflect them back on ourselves. In my case, I didn’t want to be perceived as greedy; asking for more than 2 snacks triggered something inside of me that resulted in those feelings of greed & guilt. This challenge was meant to help me gain more power over those feelings in an effort to choose my ideal response; I encourage you to give it a try for the same reason. Being unselfish is a characteristic that I love about myself, but I also think it’s important to feel comfortable choosing “me” first sometimes. Before we can expect others to make us a priority, we must be comfortable making ourselves the priority without hesitation. That’s the most important lesson in all of this.
So was I able to complete the challenge?
Short answer… YES! This week I successfully completed the Biscoff Challenge! I sat in Row 2 (not First Class) on a small jet heading back to NYC and I waited for the question: “Peanuts, Pretzels, or Cookies?” The minute I saw the flight attendant setting up her cart, the feeling immediately kicked in: guilt. I thought to myself, “I’m in the front of the plane… What about the other passengers? What if they’re short on cookies, and asking for 3 packs means someone in the back won’t get any?” It’s amazing how something so small could stir up such strong emotions. I quickly got it together and shifted my thoughts to remind myself that this moment was about me, and me alone. I made sacrifices for others on numerous occasions throughout my life, this was my time to collect my reward: a third pack of Biscoff cookies. When the flight attendant arrived and asked the infamous question, I looked her in the eyes, and with a confident smile I responded “can I have three packs of cookies please?” Her eyes seemed to pop out at my request, and I felt the passenger next to me look at me in shock out of the corner of his eyes. It felt like an eternity, but I kept the smile on my face and did my best to ignore their perceived responses long enough to hear the answer I was looking for. She responded, “Sure!” I exhaled and appreciated the moment. Such a simple achievement, but an achievement nonetheless.. And it’s just the beginning!
Where are you experiencing similar hesitation? Do you truly know what you want out of life? In your career? In your relationships? How comfortable are you with asking for what you want without hesitation? I challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone and just ask. You never know… You just might get it! 🙂