One of the best kept secrets of professionals who have succeeded consistently is ‘asking’ their way to success. You would agree that all of us, at some point of time are in need of something that would help us achieve what we desire the most. This something could be information, assistance, support, money or time from someone else.
Now if you are one of those rare people, who can ask anyone for anything, then kudos to us. But if you are like most people, you are probably holding yourself back by not asking for what you need. Some of things that could be holding you back is your fear of looking needy, looking stupid or one of the most common reasons: your fear of rejection. The possibility of hearing the word ‘no’.
By not asking, you are actually rejecting yourself in advance. You are saying no to yourself before anyone else even has a chance to. Which is why, I would love to share today the 5 simple rules of asking which have been used by professionals successfully to get what they want.
One of the common mistakes that people do is they ask help from their family, friends, neighbors and colleagues etc. Now while most of these people have the best of intentions and the willingness to help you, they may not be best placed to help you in your specific pursuit. e.g. If I want to be a cricketer, an artist or a banker, I need to ask someone who has already achieved that quest. If you are going to ask for help to be a banker from your friend who is working in IT, there is good chance you won’t find the best help there.
In my personal strategy sessions, I often come across professionals who want ‘more’ money. So I happily give them 10 rupees and I ask them ‘Now you have more money, are you happy?’. The person is usually amused but gets the drift. You have to be specific. Vague requests produce vague results. So if you are asking your boss for a raise, or a pretty lady for a date – you need to be very specific. ‘I want a good raise in my salary’ is unlikely to produce a result that ‘I want a 30% raise in my salary’ will get.
More often than not, we never give other people a reason to help us. Let’s say, if you are standing at the airport security check-in queue and someone comes up to you randomly asking you to step back and allow him to go ahead. Would you comply? Unlikely. But if he were to ask you ‘I am late and about to miss my flight. Do you mind if I go ahead?’ Would you then comply? There is good chance, you will. Which is why, it is important to tell people why what you need is important for you. It gives them a compelling reason to help you.
While we seek help from other, it is important you actively look out for avenues where you can add value to their personal or professional lives. Most people restrict themselves by thinking only about their own ability to help others, but forget that they can add value to others by connecting them with people in their network who could be better placed to help. By creating value, you create a feeling of mutual cooperation, responsiveness, gratitude and reciprocity, which will multiply your chances of succeeding at what you ask.
When we are asking others to contribute in helping us fulfil our goals, its important to know that they may have other priorities, commitments and reasons not to participate at that point of time. It is not a reflection on you. The key is not to give up and continue asking…the same person and/or others who can help. May be on another day, that person is in a better mood, you make a more compelling request, you have created better rapport and trust…or the circumstances are more favorable. You never know.