“Always ask yourself: “What will happen if I say nothing?”
― Kamand Kojouri
There are many times I have wanted to ask for something and I had held myself back. Why you ask? The reasons ranged from thinking that someone was too busy or that they would not be interested, they might laugh at me, think I was asking for too much, or thinking I had to have been long term friendship or relationship to make an ask. I learned that if I was curious and simply asked and took a genuine interest in someone they would be more than happy to help me. Sometimes the ask leads to the building of a relationship.
One of my greatest lessons of asking backfired when I asked a presenter at a real estate seminar if I could “pick his brain”. I do not recommend using this technique. Here’s what happened. He told me to hold my thought until after the break then he brought me up in front of 200 people and asked me what I did wrong. I was embarrassed and he used me as a lesson for many – I learned very quickly never to use the phrases “Can I pick your brain?” again. My ASK was – “How can I become a motivation speaker?” I was inspired watching him capture the attention of everyone in the room. They listened on the edge of their seats…I wanted to be able to deliver great value and do the same. What did I do wrong according to him? I was asking for something for nothing. He explained that I could learn through volunteer opportunities. He then asked the audience if there was anyone who knew anything about become a speaker and the path that it entailed as he did not see himself as a motivational speaker. Several people raised their hands. He told them to connect with me at the end of the session and proceeded with his talk.
It is not my approach to teaching someone a lesson but it was effective. I learned many of the steps I needed to learn and now today I speak on stages sharing my message – of empowerment for women, leadership, business, emotional intelligence, and personal development.
Another “ASK” I asked was rejected. I was in middle of planning a surprise Disney vacation and asked my boss at the time for some time off – she refused. I was disappointed and frustrated. Later that week, I went to a one-day training with my mentor, Jack Canfield. He asked us to do an exercise with a partner discussing something we were recently frustrated about the outcome. Of course, my trip was it. We were to think about how we could ask, what we needed to consider when asking, and the timing of the ask. Determined I was going on this trip, I dressed up very professionally and went in on my day off and asked again with conviction explaining how important the trip was to my family and what I was willing to do to make it happen. I still remember her sitting back in her chair saying, “What a negotiator!” Imagine if I never asked again. The answer is always no unless you ask and sometimes you need to do it again and again.
They have been other times I have talked myself out of asking saying, “What’s the point?” The point is it is important to you. Do you feel you deserve it? Do you feel you make others feel bad because you are getting what you want? Do you assume you already know the answer before asking? You could be wrong – I was!
Shortly after the manuscript was submitted for my co-authored book, GPS Your Best Life, I wanted to submit a proposal outline for my own book. I had drafted a concept – it was rudimentary. I himmed and hawed about pressing the send button to make the ask. I kept telling myself I needed a deeper relationship or at least have gone out for dinner with the publisher before I could have a book published – even though I was already getting a booked published with her. Finally, I hot the send button at two-thirty in the morning and by nine in the morning I had received an email to flush the idea out with the editor and I would have a contract. I was so excited – then the work began. You never know until you make the ask! We do not ask enough – at least not as much as we should be to get what we want. What is it going to hurt by just making the ask?
Worried about feeling foolish? Have you ever felt foolish before? Chances are you have and you are still here. The world did not end. Pay attention to how your asking, when your asking – is it the right time, know what you are asking for, and who you should be asking that will make the decision. Make sure you are in front of the decision maker! Another lesson of mine learned – another story for another day.
If you get flustered about asking, write down a basic script of what you want to say. You may not read from it word for word but you can have it at your side to ensure you do not miss important points. Looking at the points can jog your memory of the important points you wanted to stress or share.
Throw in a smile when you make your ASK. Ensure it is genuine, otherwise, the first impression may be – “Run, they want something from us!” A positive attitude and an genuine interest in others is a great way to build rapport and trust so people with want t connect or do business with you.
What ASK do you want to make? What are you waiting for? Go ahead and make the ASK! If you do not, someone else will!
“What if you find out at the end of life that you could have had all you ever wanted had you only asked for it??”
― Kate McGahan
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DEBRA KASOWSKI, BScN CEC is an award-winning best-selling author, transformational speaker, blogger, and Certified Executive Coach. She has a heart of a teacher and is certified in Appreciative Inquiry and Emotional Intelligence. Her writing has been published in a variety of print and online magazines. Debra Kasowski International helps executives, entrepreneurs, and organizations boost their productivity, performance, and profits. It all starts with people and passion. Sign up the Success Secrets Newsletter and get your free mp3 download today! www.debrakasowski.com