quick brown fox gets confident.

Something weird has happened in the last week.

For most of my life I've been too afraid to ask for what I wanted.

When I first started my current job, one of my first assignments was to help answer some discovery. A part of our response required copying surveillance video to a DVD. The associate who I was helping said "when you get to the DVD part, just ask W."

Well I got to the DVD part. I thought I know how to burn a DVD; I just need a blank DVD and I can handle this on my own.  So that's what I set out to do.

There was one small problem: there were no blank DVD's to be found in any of the supply cabinets. All of the blank DVD's were in W's office.

I sat on it for days. Why? I was too scared to walk into W's office and say "Hey can I please have a blank DVD?"  I mean, what was he going to say? No? Highly unlikely given that the DVD's were purchased by the firm for exactly this reason. They just happened to be in his office because until I came along, he was the only one who knew how to make the copies and would just do it for everyone. Plus the firm focuses heavily on and fosters a communal mindset, not the cutthroat one.

It was stupid. In my head I knew it was stupid. But still I stalled.

Finally one day I realized that the deadline was approaching and I had to just ask already. When I walked down the hall to W's office I was incredibly nervous. Here's what happened:

Me: Hey, W, can I please get a blank DVD so I can make a copy of some surveillance video?
W: Sure. There should be two types on the bottom shelf of the bookcase. Grab what you need and a case.

In other words, absolutely nothing happened. Nothing. At all.

Then something happened.

I needed help with something at work. Without a hint of hesitation, I got up, walked to the partner's office, knocked on her door, and asked my question.

Then it happened again. And again. And again.

But it wasn't just at work.

The other night my roommate and I were discussing a concert we're attending tomorrow night. She gave some options of where we could go in the venue since it's all open with no real seating.

And without being asked, I said exactly where I would like to try and find a spot and why.

For most people, that's completely normal. But not for me. My roommate has been one of my closest friends for years. And up until this past week, it still made me uncomfortable to express opinions like that.

Last year my New Year's resolution was to find my voice and be more bold. So I made small, concerted efforts over the course of the year. They were honestly tiny little things. Every now and then I would pick a restaurant to go to with my friends. At work I would talk to my coworkers more.

Written expression was never my problem. I could always express myself completely in writing. But never in person. So that's where I focused my efforts: on expressing what I wanted verbally.

Sure it was largely an uphill battle for me. Sure at times, I really sucked at it, especially around new people. It's still going to take me a while to verbally express myself to brand new people but I'm working on it.

I still have a ways to go but these things take time. If I'm honest with myself, I have to admit that what has been happening this past week is not the result of a single occurrence or some recent life change.

It's been the result of a year worth of small, incremental changes. Really, the process started before that even. There were a million small things that had to happen first, a million small changes in my life to get me to a place where I could be ready to make these changes.

But that's how effective, long-lasting change happens: slowly. The overnight sensation idea is just that: an idea. It's not a reality.

Too often we look for quick fixes. We want the perfect body ASAP so we select diet & exercise regimes that do nothing for our long term health but instead promise quick results. We open credit cards so we can buy that new laptop now instead of saving for it and paying cash later. We try to jump into fully formed relationships after only one date. We walk away after only one date.

But then we end up heavier than we were before, in more debt than we were before, and with a longer string of broken, failed relationships than before.

I've been guilty of looking for quick fixes in all of those areas. I've opened credit cards I didn't need and quickly run up the balance buying things I couldn't afford and didn't need. I lost over 30 pounds in two months. I ghosted on a few people after just one date because they were nice but I didn't feel that spark yet. I had a relationship that advanced incredibly quickly.

And you know what? I struggled to pay off those credit cards for much longer than I had those items for. I regained all that weight and am now heavier than I was before that crash diet. I regret ghosting on some of those men; they were really good people and if nothing else we could have been friends. That quickly formed relationship fell apart just as quickly and spectacularly as it began.

Quick fixes don't work, not in the long run.

So I'm going to keep slowly plugging away, slowly finding the confidence to ask for what I want, to voice my opinion freely.

After all, I have the rest of my life to get this right.

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