Afraid to Ask

in All Posts

Good afternoon!  It’s been a busy day.  Maggie, however, has simply been snoozing with her little bunny:


Yes, she sits in a bed on a chair next to me all day long.  🙂


Snack was a blueberry bar:


And lunch featured Sweet Potato and Black Bean Balls:


To make these balls, I mash cooked sweet potato (I just zap it in the microwave for 6 inches) and black beans together, and then I roll them in flax and bake for 30 minutes at 350.  The key to this recipe is mustard on the side!


Crispy on the outside, and soft and smushy on the inside!


Plus, a side of sugar snap peas (which I’ve decided I’m obsessed with.  Seeing as I’m not a vegetable fan, that’s saying something):


Afraid to Ask


Meghann and I had an interesting conversation this morning.  We were discussing how so many incredible opportunities have come up lately because we simply… ASKED.  Do you find that you’re afraid to ask for things?


I think most women have trouble asking for:


  • Assistance from friends.
  • Raises or promotions.
  • Help around the house by their significant other.
  • Directions.  🙂


When I was 18, I e-mailed the editor of a magazine called The Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition.  I had read a particular column and didn’t think the writer did a very good job.  I outlined all the reasons why he should hire me for the column and blindly sent the e-mail in.  Guess what?  Not only did they hire me (a nobody!), but I worked there for 5.5 years.   


A few years later, at my full-time job, I realized that I was NEVER going to get a raise unless I asked for one.  So, I outlined the reasons why I deserved a raise, and I simply asked.  I was shaking in my boots when I made the proposal — I was so nervous that they would laugh at me.  Guess what?  Again, I got what I wanted in the end.


It never hurts to ask!


The fear of asking comes from a place deep within us.  Asking means you might get rejected.  Asking means you’re revealing weaknesses or wants.  Asking means you’re giving the other person control. 




  • Asking means you might get what you want.
  • Asking means you are showing your true self to other people.
  • Asking shows that you are powerful and believe in yourself.


Do you have trouble asking for things?  Is there anything you have asked for and received that you doubt you would’ve gotten otherwise?



  • Brooke0502 September 23, 2009, 9:32 am

    Good post! I am working on asking for a raise myself, but I am afraid!! I've got to sike myself up for it but by the end of the week I am hoping I will just do it!!

  • Food Makes Fun Fuel September 23, 2009, 9:41 am

    I never ask for directions. I'm afraid it's a guy thing.
    Love the recipe, but microwave for 6 inches? haha, I think you mean minutes

  • Runeatrepeat September 23, 2009, 9:42 am

    I recently realized that I don't take advantage of life for this one reason. I am super afraid to ask for things because a fear of rejection I guess?

    I am going to start putting myself out there and asking – the worst they can say is No, right?!

  • theangrydieter September 23, 2009, 9:44 am

    Microwaving for "6 inches" made me smile! I needed an unexpected laugh!!

  • recipesforcreativity September 23, 2009, 9:45 am

    Yes, Caitlin, what was on your mind when you wrote to put the sweet potato in the microwave for six inches, huh? LOL!

    You are so right about the women and the asking thing – I was notoriously bad about asking for what I wanted. I'm getting much, much better about it because to make my business work I have to ask! I'm in the process of proposing some local adult education classes to the community colleges in the area and I'm not nervous, what's the worst they can say? Great post!

  • Sarah @ The Foodie Diaries September 23, 2009, 9:45 am

    I am always intimidated to discuss raises–I don't know why. I think we're often afraid to ask for things because we don't want to seem like our motives are self-centered. Though, in some instances, they have to be (i.e.: asking for a raise), it's sometimes hard to reach out to a friend for a favor in fear of taking advantage of someone else's resources

  • Kelly September 23, 2009, 9:47 am

    Great post! I asked for a larger than normal (4%) raise and got a 7% raise 2 years in a row!

    I'm waiting on pins and needles to find out who the winners are for the Waterpik!!

  • Maggie September 23, 2009, 9:47 am

    Great post. I need to work on getting what I want as well. Sometimes I feel like I'm sitting here waiting for my life to happen and I need to just do it!

  • Mel @ She Runs Brooklyn September 23, 2009, 9:49 am

    I always microwave in increments of inches too 🙂

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point September 23, 2009, 9:50 am


    Inches = Minutes

    I'm too lazy to fix the post. Will do later, I swear.

  • megzzwinsatlife September 23, 2009, 9:51 am

    Great sweet potatoe balls..

    I defiently have trouble asking for things.. I always get soo nervous. I went a long time in my other job without a raise all because I was too scared to ask for a raise 🙁

  • Mel @ She Runs Brooklyn September 23, 2009, 9:52 am

    Also– I freaking love this post because it's true. I negotiated a higher starting salary at my new job, and if I never asked, nothing would've happened!

  • Sheri September 23, 2009, 9:53 am

    Great post! I have to work on asking for things as well. I usually think to myself that I will not get what I want so why bother…that is a very poor attitude!

    I have been getting a little better at it lately because I was putting together a fundraiser for work and had to ask for a few things as donations. I was presently surprised when I did end up getting what I wanted in the end and then some! Sucess!

    Also, your recipe sounds yummy!

  • Rose September 23, 2009, 9:56 am

    Shoot, this post really hits home in a lot of ways.

  • Nicci@NiftyEats September 23, 2009, 9:57 am

    So true, I used to be afraid to ask, but I learned you can't be like that forever. I stepped up and have gotten what I wanted/deserved from asking! i try to remember the worse thing that can happen is they say ''No''. It's not the end of the world!

  • limerton September 23, 2009, 10:01 am

    i would love to try one of those balls.

  • Julia September 23, 2009, 10:02 am

    When I decided to buy a helmet last month, I didn't even have to ask, and my fiance gave me some extra money that month to help me buy it!
    I've had to learn to ask for a lot in the past few years, because I've been in school and living off other people's $$, such as my parents, and now my parents and my fiance.
    It's hard, but I've learned that usually when I'm bold enough to ask for something people are willing to help.

  • cookinfanatic September 23, 2009, 10:07 am

    Wonderful post – I think so often in our society women are made to feel uncomfortable with asking – like we should be expected to do everything and do it with ease…If we ask for help we appear 'weak' or what not…or that we may not be valuable enough for that raise/promotion… I subscribe to the ask theory however, and usually have no problem doing so – in the end the only person you are hurting is yourself if you don't! Right? 🙂

  • Tania :) September 23, 2009, 10:08 am

    That recipie looks amazing. I am super excited to try it !!! Love your blog! 🙂

  • Jamie September 23, 2009, 10:09 am

    Funny that you mention this because I realized you will never know unless you ASK today =) The worst that they can say is no… right?
    Good post!

  • Whitney @ Lettuce Love September 23, 2009, 10:09 am

    I am always afraid to ask for help. My Miss Independent attitude can get in the way. I have been trying to be better about asking for help but it is difficult.

    Maggie is super cute — I love that she has her little bunny friend to keep her company!

  • chandra h September 23, 2009, 10:21 am

    this post could not have come at a more perfect time for me. thank you so much, caitlin. 🙂

  • stacey September 23, 2009, 10:29 am

    I have a hard time asking for things because of my fear of rejection and/or not wanting to look stupid. But, I am working really hard to change that because I know that I miss out on a lot of opportunities in life because of this fear. I have to keep reminding myself that I am human:)

    On the other hand, my husband will stop and ask for directions before I will. He gets so frustrated with me sometimes!

  • Steph September 23, 2009, 10:45 am

    You always find interesting ways to incorporate flax into your diet…I love it!

    I do find it hard to ask for things. The fear of being told no always gets me. I try to get over that fear and put myself first. Who cares if they say no…at least I tried. Like they say "it never hurts to ask."

  • Jenna September 23, 2009, 10:47 am

    yeah i am always afraid to ask for things! but once i do i feel so much bettier! i always think about how i am going to ask and that seems to help!

  • Mellissa September 23, 2009, 10:56 am

    I am really bad at asking for things, I think it hinders me sometimes. I have this strange notion that good things should just happen but I need to be better about being more proactive and just asking for things.

  • OhSheGlows September 23, 2009, 10:57 am

    LOVE this post!!!!!
    Wow I love your stories about your previous jobs. Never knew! 🙂

    I used to be scared of asking, but like you I recently realized that when I ask for things I typically am surprised at the answer. Research also shows that when you ask for a raise you are likely to get one. Now of course that was done prior to the recession, but still. Employers want us happy!

  • Jessica September 23, 2009, 11:05 am

    This is such a great inspiring post. I never used to, but I have been afraid to ask many things as of late. Thanks!

  • Trish September 23, 2009, 11:13 am

    OMG!! Maggie is too cute!!! 🙂

    I want to ask for a raise at my second job – been there over two years and haven't got an extra dime. I think I deserve something, but I fear being told no. I am so sure they are going to say that business is just too slow so no. But you're right – it still doesn't hurt to ask, you just never know.

  • jack+alli September 23, 2009, 11:26 am

    great post! lunch looks delicious!

    i think it's hard for me to ask for help because i feel like i have failed in a way, like i cant do something myself.

    i had a conversation with my hubbys uncle on this topic.
    i had made something for someone and needed to give them a price. he came over as i was about to leave so i asked his opinion.
    to me, i enjoyed the project and it didn't cost me a lot to make.
    however, he asked if i believe i was worth it. if i dont feel like i am worth it, how will someone else feel i am worth it?
    i thought it was great advise and i still think of it often.

  • Barbara September 23, 2009, 11:29 am

    Great topic! I JUST asked for a raise..and guess what? I got it:)

    Remember the secret…Ask, visualize and receive:)

  • biggirleats September 23, 2009, 11:41 am

    This post made me get a little choked up! I don't know why – I think it was the "asking means you are powerful and believe in yourself." It's so true!

    My center (I work at a university) helped co-sponsor a series in Gender & the Workplace and I was shocked to find out all the stats on gender inequity in the workplace, particularly when it came to raises/pay. It's such an interesting/relevent topic!

  • brandi September 23, 2009, 11:43 am

    I totally agree that asking is where a lot of things happen.

    Unfortunately, it doesn't always work depending on where you are either. I have asked for raises, but working for the state doesn't really allow that. There's so many rules and hoops to jump through that it's basically impossible for anything to happen here.

    I definitely got rejected when I asked, but at least i did.

  • seesaraheat September 23, 2009, 11:46 am

    Yes, I am terrified to ask a lot of things. I am so glad you brought that up. It's definitely something I need to work on, especially if I want something to change for the better 🙂

    I love those balls! They remind me of falafel only with different ingredients. Awesome.

  • Paige September 23, 2009, 11:48 am

    LOVE, love, love this post. I have come to this realization within the past year, and have gotten and accomplished SO much. I've asked for apromotion, worked for it, got it, and doubled my salary. I asked for the area I wanted to work in, got it.

    It really never hurts to ask. Plus, like you said, it helps you show who you are, thus find out more about who you are.

  • Jul September 23, 2009, 12:04 pm

    Hey Caitlin,
    I don't know if this is what inspired the post, but if you haven't read it, please take a look at "Women Don't Ask," a book by Harvard Business School professors. It covers exactly what you posted about – with a lot of very compelling examples.

    Highly recommended!

  • Laura@FindingAHealthyBalance September 23, 2009, 12:06 pm

    Totally agree with you on "Afraid To Ask"! I was most of my life until after I turned 30 that is…..then I found the courage and since then I have gotten a few raises and a promotion (because of hard work and letting it be known I wanted to move up…..asking to be) and my husband finally helps out more around the house, though I will admit I did more "hinting" on that then actually asking! =O

  • kirsten September 23, 2009, 12:10 pm

    great post Caitlin! This is such good advice!! I'm very interested to see what your big life changes that you wrote about on twitter are! good luck on whatever it is! 🙂

  • Lara September 23, 2009, 12:14 pm

    Those look great. Do you use whole flax seeds or ground?

  • Elizabeth September 23, 2009, 12:15 pm

    Asking is how I got the awesome job I have now…and how I made sure I'd be happy with all of the detail$ 😉

    I'm in the process of coaching my mom through asking for a raise for the first raise ever! I can't imagine working for more than 40 years and being scared to ask for a raise (or even for a schedule that works with your life). It really doesn't hurt to ask!

  • JE September 23, 2009, 12:34 pm

    Funny I just read this post because not two hours ago I emailed the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for a job. My cousin committed suicide in February and while visiting the website this morning, I decided right then and there that I need to help prevent this from happening to other people and their family and friends. I checked their "employment opportunities" section to find no openings, but I went ahead and sent them my resume anyway, asking to be considered for future opportunities. It was liberating, ballsy, and crazy, but I am glad I asked…we'll see what happens. Thanks.

  • Stephanie September 23, 2009, 12:38 pm

    I'm terrified of asking for raises or promotions. I guess I'm just so afraid of rejection. Good point though; asking means I make it at least a 50/50 chance of getting what I want instead of a 0/100.

  • Jenny Vester September 23, 2009, 1:09 pm

    AWESOME post! It helped me realize that I never ask for the things I want because I'm afraid of 1. Rejection and 2. "rocking the boat" as it were.
    This post has made me reconsider my decision to stay quiet when I want something.
    I've just now decided to email my local Newspaper and ask them if they'll let me write an entertainment article to help give me journalism experience and get my name out there.
    Thank you Caitlin! Another fantastic blog post as usual.

  • littlemissminny September 23, 2009, 1:34 pm

    I am afraid of asking for things. Like, tomorrow, I should go to the anatomy department on my uni, and ask them if they would take me as an assistant. I am afraid of that. I just don't like stepping out of my comfort zone. But I am working on that. For instance, I joined a yoga studio, all by myself 🙂 I even went alone there. I was so proud 😀

  • Kate September 23, 2009, 2:10 pm

    Mm- those sweet potato balls look great!

    I NEVER ask, and I really need to learn!

  • Lizzy September 23, 2009, 4:04 pm

    homerun post for sure! i fear asking for stuff to, but as powerful women we shouldnt be afraid and just go with our gut!

  • Tasha September 23, 2009, 4:27 pm

    I have a fear of rejection so I avoid it. The bad thing is I might be missing out on things with this way of thinking.

  • Beth September 23, 2009, 5:05 pm

    Try roasting the sugar snaps with a little oil, salt and pepper – they are awesome that way.

  • Cat Cat September 23, 2009, 5:28 pm

    I am soo afraid to ask for things, not just things that I want like a raise but things that I deserve. 🙁 I'm working on that…

    It looks as though most people who posted in response to this are afraid to ask for what they want so maybe we should all remember that the next time we want to ask for something that the person we are asking is just a person and they have fears too! It just hit me…

    I haven't gotten a raise since I've been at my job which is 3 years and they always tell me how they couldn't do anything without me but how about we see that appreciation in the form of a raise!!!!

  • peony in a nutshell September 23, 2009, 10:47 pm

    im going to try making them balls 🙂

  • Samantha September 23, 2009, 11:03 pm

    I have to admit, I first read this post just skimming for how to make the sweet potato / black bean balls (SO having that for supper tonight!) But then kept reading and LOVED it. You and Meghann are dead on. Sometimes stepping out in faith knowing rejection is a possibility is a tough thing to do but can reap great rewards.

  • Morgan (lifeafterbagels) September 25, 2009, 8:40 am

    I am usually quite the sissy at asking things – however I did do some "asking" this week. Even though I got promoted, which is a very exciting experience and I am humbled that they offered it to me. I knew there were two things I needed to set me up for success. I asked, and my new boss just laughed and said "sure, those are two extremely easy requests". I can't imagine going through the next couple months if I hadn't asked for what I needed.

  • Nicci@NiftyEats December 14, 2009, 1:52 pm

    I think I found what I’m making tonight but with bread crumbs. looks great

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