Years ago I read a great book called The Aladdin Factor, by Jack Canfield, whose principles I still use today. The message this book provides can offer inspiration to those of us who hesitate to ask others for things we need, want or deserve. None of us lives in a vacuum. We all rely heavily on others for help, sometimes more than others. Learning to first clarify and then ask for what you want is a skill that should be honed.
I sat with a mentor recently and part of the conversation went like this, as he asked,
“What would you do if you didn’t know the steps to take toward something you wanted to achieve?”
“I don’t know.” I said.
“…And you can’t say ‘I don’t know’,” he stated.
“Umm, I’m not sure what I’d do.”
“You can’t say that, it’s not an option. What will you do?”
After a long pause I offered, “I guess I’d ask somebody who knows.”
So simple, right? But how many times do we get the notion that we ‘should just know’ how to go about doing or getting that thing we want? I can recall many instances when I didn’t speak up and ask questions of a doctor, hair stylist, auto repairperson, hotel clerk, or a trainer regarding a certain workout. How about you? Here are some ideas to help you get into the asking mode:
- Make the ask specific – Speak about your goal with clarity and a timeline for when you need it
- Don’t be timid – Let your body language, eye contact, toneand intentionmatch your enthusiasm for the thing you’re requesting
- Ask the right person – Sometimes a bit of legwork is necessary in order to seek out the right person or people for your issue, and you may be introduced to the right people by asking others.
- Ask repeatedly – Keep asking. Eventually someone will say yes!
- Rejection happens – Expect to be rejected from time to time, this happens to everyone. Opportunities often come about in their own time, so don’t give up!
- Listen – Actively listen to the person after making your request. If they’re reluctant or have suggestions, consider them carefully. Every ask will get you closer to your goal.
- Asking for help is a normal – But… be sensitive about asking family members or certain friends since they may be uncomfortable with particular issues
- Always thank those you speak to – take a moment to write an email or give a call to thank the person you’re asking of, no matter what the result, and be open to helping them in return in the future. This is an important habit that makes you feel good and shows great character.