Ask, Affirm, Take Action

Ask, Affirm, Take Action

From A 3rd Serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul

Ask, Affirm, Take Action

Many things are lost for want of asking.

English Proverb

When my daughter, Janna, was a junior in high school, she was accepted as a foreign exchange student to Germany. We were delighted that she had been chosen for such a special experience. Then the exchange organization informed us that we had to pay $4,000 in costs— and the money was due on June 5; two months away.

At the time I was divorced with three teenage children. The idea of raising $4,000 was completely overwhelming to me. Financially, I was barely making ends meet as it was. I had no savings, no credit for a loan and no relatives who could lend me the money. At first it felt as hopeless as if I had to raise $4 million!

Luckily, I had recently attended one of Jack Canfield’s Self-Esteem Seminars in Los Angeles. Three of the things I learned at the seminar were to ask for what you want, affirm for what you want and take action for what you want.

I decided to put these newfound principles to work. First, I wrote an affirmation that stated, “I am joyfully receiving $4,000 by June 1 for Janna’s trip to Germany.” I put the affirmation on my bathroom mirror and carried a copy in my purse so I could look at it every day. Then I wrote out an actual check for $4,000 and put it on the dashboard of my car. I spent a lot of time driving each day and this was a visible reminder. I took a picture of a hundred-dollar bill, enlarged it and put it on the ceiling over Janna’s bed so it was the first thing she saw in the morning and the last thing at night.

Janna was a typical 15-year-old Southern California teenager and wasn’t too thrilled with these rather “weird” ideas. I explained them all to her and suggested that she write her own affirmation.

Now that I was affirming what I wanted, I needed to take some action and to ask for what I wanted. I have always been a very self-sufficient and independent person who didn’t need anyone else’s help. It was very difficult for me to ask for money from family and friends that I knew, and even more so from strangers. But I decided to go for it anyway. What did I have to lose?

I made up a flier with Janna’s photo and her statement of why she wanted to go to Germany. At the bottom was a coupon for people to tear off and mail back with their check to us by June 1st. Then I asked for a $5, $20, $50 or $100 contribution. I even left a blank space for them to fill in their own amount. Then I mailed this flier to every single friend, family member and person that I knew or even slightly knew. I distributed fliers at the corporate office where I worked, and sent them to the local newspapers and radio station. I researched the addresses of 30 of the service organizations in our valley and mailed them fliers. I even wrote the airlines asking for free travel to Germany.

The newspaper didn’t run an article, the radio station didn’t do a story, the airline said no to my request, but I kept on asking and continued to mail out fliers. Janna began having dreams of strangers giving her money. In the weeks that followed, the money began to come in. The first gift was for $5. The largest single gift was for $800 from family and friends. But most of the gifts were $20 or $50—some from people we knew, some from strangers.

Janna became enthused about the whole idea and began to believe that this could actually become a reality. One day she asked me, “Do you think this will work for getting my driver’s permit?” I assured her that an affirmation would work. She tried it and she got her permit. By June 1st we joyfully received $3,750! We were thrilled! However, while this was wonderful, I still had no idea where I was going to get the last $250. I still had until June 5th to somehow raise the remaining money. On June 3rd the phone rang. It was a woman from one of the service organizations in our town. “I know I’m past the deadline; is it too late?” she asked.

“No,” I replied.

“Well, we would really like to help Janna, but we can only give her $250.”

In all, Janna had two organizations and 23 people who sponsored her and made her dream a reality. She wrote to each one of those 25 sponsors several times throughout the year, telling them about her experiences. When she returned, she gave a speech at two organizations. Janna was a foreign exchange student in Viersen, Germany, from September to May, and it was a wonderful experience for her. It broadened her perspective and gave her a new appreciation for the world and its people. She was able to see beyond the narrow Southern California life that she grew up in. Since then she has traveled throughout Europe, worked one summer in Spain and another in Germany. She graduated from college with honors, worked two years with VISTA at an AIDS Project in Vermont and is presently pursuing her master’s degree in public health administration.

The year after Janna’s Germany trip, I found the love of my life, again by using affirmations. We met at a Self-Esteem Seminar, married, and attended a Couples Seminar. At that seminar we created affirmations together, one of which was to travel. In the past seven years we have lived in several different states, including Alaska, spent three years in Saudi Arabia and are presently living in the Orient.

Like Janna, my horizons have broadened and my life is so much more exciting and wonderful because I learned to ask, affirm and take action for the things I want.

Claudette Hunter

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