I’ll always remember discovering the quote by American author Nora Roberts and the difference it’s made to me and to a myriad of clients!
The key phrase in there for me is “if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.”
- We assume people know we want what we want.
- We get fearful or embarrassed about coming out and asking for what we want.
- We don’t always know how to say it so we keep quiet
- We trust we’ve hinted or asked once and that ‘it shall be delivered’. It very often isn’t.
The key is to come out and ask for what you want AND then to continue to ask. Not like a Woodpecker, drilling away and ending up being either irritating or getting frustrated but more consistently, thoughtfully and intentionally. What do I mean?
Consistently: Taking Nora Roberts’ quote to heart and realising the opportunities you’ve likely missed in your life by not coming out and asking. Asking to be included, considered, informed. Asking for better behaviour, more opportunities, more money, less workload, more support, more time, less flack. Asking and knowing you will keep doing so.
Thoughtfully: Consider what the person wants as well as what you want. What will you getting what you want do for them? What will it add or avoid? What can they gain from you getting what you want at the same time. I work with clients to craft their ‘asks’ so they land more easily and effectively with those they need to influence.
Intentionally: Always look at the positive intention you have for asking. The energy behind what you’re asking for. What it will do for you, the organisation, the greater good. How it ties up to the bigger picture of your life, career.
Say, for example, , when you first started your role you were told you’d be able to influence the shape of the department. 6 months in you hear a consultant’s been brought in to do that.
Instead of losing it or stamping your feet, you look at your intention for asking your boss “OK, what happened and what’s changed?”. Staying in your power is asking knowing your positive intention to contribute, add value, develop.
Not simply because it was promised. Things change, people’s priorities change, it’s rarely just about you but often about behind-the-scenes developments.
Oh and what about when you hear “No “? That’s your signal to remember it might just mean “Not now” or “not me” so – of course – keep asking… Just remember, not the Woodpecker way!
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