We stop ourselves from asking for help all the time. We fail to ask over and over in a way that only hurts us. How about you? Do you hem and haw instead of confidently and directly asking for what you want? Do you find your gut in knots? I know I used to…and even sometimes still I find myself at the moment being less than the courageous self I wish to be. I’d like to give credit to my mentor, Jack Canfield for helping me develop a more robust perspective about ‘asking’ and ‘asking without fear’ based on his book, The Success Principles. Principle number #17 Ask! Ask! Ask! Is rich. And, The Success Principles Workbook, Chapter 9 – Ask without fear of rejection.

Here are some things to consider especially when you are job-seeking or desire a career transition. Do you fear pain or embarrassment if you are rejected? Do you always have to have the answers and appear that you have it all together? Do you need to project an image of knowing you are in control and know what you are doing? When you think back about the last week, can you recall three times when you asked someone for something that was a stretch and out of your comfort zone? If no is your answer, this info is for you.

Here’s a powerful counterpoint to the noise in your head. 

  • You may not know what help is available – sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know to help reach our goals. In many cases, you are not going to know unless you ask. Hmmm – that’s called networking.
  • Do you defer to others whom you believe are smarter, too high up (more successful), or wealthier? (This is the foundation for choosing people to connect with for informational interviews or ‘coffee conversations.’)
  • You may not know what you want or need. Getting clarity is important. Even leaning into it when you aren’t as clear as you wish. Sometimes you just need someone with whom to ask your questions out loud – and get feedback. 
  • Ask despite your fear of rejection. Feel the fear and do it anyway. You have nothing to lose and in fact, you are only hurting yourself if you don’t ask. What if the person you ask says yes and over-delivers the answer to your question? Holy cow. That could be game-changing.

The 5 secrets. Let’s explore how to ask for what you want.

1) Ask as if you expect to get what you want.

Use questions that convey confidence and positive expectation. Phrases to consider for use……

  • I’d like to inquire whether…..
  • I’d like to get more…..(information)
  • My research tells me that you’re the one who can…..

A milquetoast, unassured, or vague ASK is guaranteed to be ignored or unanswered.

2) Ask someone who can truly help you.

Research and assess whether or not you’re asking the right person. Has this person done or is doing the work you want to do or is s/he an industry leader or has the functional experience you wish to attain? Know in advance or have a fallback phrase if your research is faulty. Be prepared to pivot if you are not asking the right person – who else would you ask? (Who else can you suggest I speak with whom might assist me in my job campaign?)

3) Be clear and specific in your ask.

Use the following to help craft your message. Remember you are gathering perspectives and experienced-based knowledge from this interaction about the information you want to know more about. This person is a guru to you. What do you wish to learn?

What do you want to know? Rely on MOM for details about the work, the industry, or regional issues – how MUCH, how OFTEN, how MANY, or

What expectations exist about what you want to know more about? PEP – what productivity, efficiency, or profitability expectations are there?

Be specific about their obligation to you – is this a coffee conversation, virtual meeting, email exchange, or phone call – how much time do they need to plan on by agreeing to participate in this endeavor with you? How much time commitment should they expect from agreeing to invest time in speaking with you and hearing your ‘ask?’

4) Ask for what you want, not for what you don’t want.

Psychologists know that the brain has a tough time recognizing negative words like don’t, can’t, not, and never for example. So be sure to put your ‘ask’ in a positive light stating what you do want instead of what you don’t want. Save your don’t want conversations for your coach and your cat.

5) Ask, Ask, Ask! Repeatedly

If you have kids you know about repeat asking. You also know you’ve observed the classmate or officemate/teammate who was the squeaky wheel who got the grease. As an adult – keep asking. What do you have to lose? NOTHING! You will be no better off than before if you ask and get no answer or are ghosted. If you don’t ask you’ll never know and if you ask and get no response – you are in the same place.

Consider what if you did get what you wanted. What if it was an answer that gives you more than you expected AND a new relationship to nurture as a professional?  Go for it.

#networking #careertip #careertransition #careergem #leadershipgem #CaptivatingCareers

Get clear, gain confidence, make it happen – get hired sooner. Stay courageous.

As always, I wish you health and a clear path to offer your professional creativity within a job that’s truly right for you.

Success – at work, at play, every day!