In 2019, I launched project “Ask Like An Auctioneer,” a project aimed at helping a million women ask for more and get it using everything I learned from a wild hobby I picked up in my 40s: fundraising auctioneering. That project produced a mission to put more money and decision making power into the hands of women so that we can change everything for all of us.
Since launching that project I’ve realized that not only can we ask for more and get it when we go into the ordained negotiation moments in our careers and businesses, but we can also, across the board, use Asking as a success strategy. In my workshops and keynotes I hear women say, “I love these ideas but I don’t even know what to ask for.”
In this short article I’m going to share a 3-step process with you to uncover the invisible Asks that are all around you. The Asks you can make that bring you closer to your goals faster than you could ever imagine. Since I’ve launched this project I’ve had hundreds of conversations with women in business, career professionals, senior leaders, as well as women in their early careers. Over and over again, the kinds of Asks that women make to advance their goals fall into 4 categories: money, influence, authority, and balance.
So, as you craft your own Ask you might notice that it falls into one of those 4 categories. Here’s how to identify an invisible ask or a way you can use asking as a success strategy in your career:
Step 1: Identify your goal- looking out over your business or career, what mid-term goal are you pursuing right now? Once you see one, articulate it in the most concrete terms you can.
Step 2: Identify the move- ask yourself: “Now that I know my goal, what is the next big move I need to make that’ll action my goal?” Maybe you’re writing a book and your next big move is to secure a literary agent. Maybe you’re looking for that promotion, and your next move is to gain the leadership visibility you need to support that goal.
Step 3: Identify the Ask- once you’ve identified your goal and the big move you need to action that goal, you can ask yourself “What could I ask for?” Maybe it's feedback, maybe it’s getting a recommendation or endorsement from someone influential. Maybe you’re asking for mentorship or for someone to join your board? Once you have defined the asks that matter to your move, you can find the people who are best suited to ask. Aim high and let yourself challenge what you might think is possible. You never know who might say “Yes” when you thought you’d get a “No”!
Use this 3-step process to build the strategic asks that can truly change your trajectory or launch you toward your goals. Asking is one of the most overlooked and under leveraged success strategies out there. The distance between you and your next goal could be just one, well-crafted and strategic Ask.