I love toddlers. More than just their little Buddha bellies make them a study in the art of zen. Their curiosity and craving for knowledge is an inspiration. They don’t worry or shy away from confrontation. How so? They honor their own desires wholeheartedly. If it feels important to them, it really is important to them. They do not contemplate. They straight up ask.
As adults, however, the way we often talk about asking is directly opposed to the way we feel about asking. The language you use is powerful, whether it’s uplifting or depressing.
“It doesn’t hurt to ask!” How many times have you heard that?
Really, it doesn’t hurt to ask? That’s a big load of crap! A toddler will pitch a fit if they don’t get what they are asking for because, in a way, yes, it totally does hurt. As adults, we generally don’t feel throwing a tantrum would be an acceptable response, but it may feel warranted. A no is still a big disappointment, even if it’s just asking for candy.
As adults, asking is hard. It’s loaded with potential embarrassment. Getting a no feels like shame or being devalued or, at a minimum, it’s super awkward. So, yes, of course, it can hurt to ask.
Women don’t usually request coaching from me to figure out what they want to ask. Most of the time there’s distinct clarity around what they want. If you’re honest, aren’t you pretty clear on what you want? I thought so. My coaching comes into play to help with figuring out:
“How do I actually ask?”
“How should I phrase it?”
“How do I find the courage to do it?”
The truth is, you really have all the tools you need to make a big ask. Yes, sometimes it’s helpful to have someone in your corner, cheering you on and maybe giving you a gentle jab in the right direction. But you can do it. Like, today you could do it. Here are the steps:
- Know what you want
- Ask for it
Yes, maybe that’s oversimplified. I’m making it sound too easy, when it’s not. Truthfully, though, that is all you require.
But there is one way in which trying to downplay the process is detrimental. This is another one of those language issues. When you begin the process of asking, do you feel an urge to minimize it, like it’s “oh whatever, doesn’t matter, ho-hum”? You don’t have to do that. In fact, you can own the fact that it matters. Owning it only lends you more control and strength, by being exactly who you are and going 100% for what you want.
I encourage you to strongly consider these three words:
DIGNIFY YOUR DESIRES — just like a toddler. Because that’s what may be missing for you. When you have wants you try to bury, they don’t go away. Those desires are worming their way around your brain, waiting for you to finally acknowledge what you want and deserve. Don’t leave your happiness hanging. You deserve what you want.
Action Item: Journal or contemplate the question, “What is my past experience of asking?”
Now, if you are the type of person who can’t quite seem to make yourself take the toddler-style jump…
…maybe you’d like to feel more prepared,
…or figure out how to be more confident first,
…or make sure your ask is really the right one before making it,
I’d love to help you with all that.
In 53 minutes from now, you can:
- Get a firm grasp on how to get more of what you want,
- Know HOW to make your ask, and
- Understand what’s holding you back so you can move forward.
And remember this:
“I always go back to my grandmother’s advice to me…
the first time I fell and hurt myself. She said,
‘Honey, at least falling on your face is a forward movement.’”
—Pat Mitchell, media executive, producer, curator of TEDWomen