In a recent ConvergenceCoaching team meeting, a colleague of mine, Krista Remer, made the suggestion that we should boldly ask for what we want. We are a faith-based organization, so we were exploring why we don’t ask God for all that our hearts desire, as He instructs us to do, but rather pretend to be politically correct – even with Him! – and only ask for something we think merits His time. Then, we started applying the idea of boldly asking for what we want to our business development strategies, client relationships and even with each other, so I thought I’d explore this idea further in this blog post.
I found a post by Scott H. Young on his blog Get More From Life that I think is right on: “Whether it is advice, a sale or a date, confident people ask others for what they want. They ask for what they want out of the world and they ask for what they want out of themselves. Surprisingly much of achieving goals is simply building up the courage to ask for them.”
So, why don’t we have the courage to ask? As we discussed this topic in our team meeting, we said we sometimes don’t ask our clients if we should help them with a project or tell them about a service we offer that could help them with an issue they’re facing because we’re sensitive to the impact the economy has had on businesses around the country and we don’t want to be perceived as acting from self-interest or being insensitive to their financial plight. Yet, the key word that jumps out at me is “help.” We’re asking how we can help our clients grow their practices, thrive in this economy and keep their people. Instead of acting boldly out of our commitment to serve others, we hold back and risk missing an opportunity to make an even bigger difference for our clients.
I have noticed it’s easier to make a difference, which is one of our organization’s core values, when I ask if I can do so. We’ve been raised to some degree thinking that it’s selfish to ask things of others, when the opposite is really true. Others benefit by my asking – whether it’s to take on a new client, be promoted, go on a date, or clean their room – those that I’m asking reap some reward because they said yes. That’s the other thing that I’ve noticed about asking – it does produce win-win results for me and the person I’m asking (and usually the rewards are received quickly!).
I assert that we don’t ask for what we want in many areas of our lives. I hear from partners that I coach who don’t ask their people for the time, quality, or leadership they need because they’re afraid it might be too much or because the partners feel it should be assumed and they shouldn’t have to ask. I know I definitely do this with my husband and children – I don’t ask for what I want because “they should know.” Boy, does that get me into trouble at times, causing a lot of unneeded miscommunication and hurt feelings.
If we don’t ask, other people can’t fulfill our requests. That is the quandary. My mother-in-law always said, “You won’t get what you want if you don’t ask and the worst thing that could happen anyway is that they’ll say no.” But how many times do we really get a no? We’ve seen this proven out when we facilitate leadership and performance management training. We believe in the saying, “People will rise to where you set the bar,” and we have seen that people really do. When I ask for support from a colleague, I usually get it enthusiastically, and when I ask a client or prospect if I can help them achieve their goals, often the response is an enthusiastic, “Yes!”
So, I plan to ask more in my life and I am confident that one of the many dividends will be more opportunities to make a difference while I’m fulfilling on my goals. Will you join me? Where are you not asking for what you want? Are you like me and could start by asking God first for what’s on your heart? What else could you ask for today? Post a comment and share what you’re going to ask for or the results you get when you do ask!