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The three letter word that will get you most of what you want in life.

Sep 13, 2021

Ask and ye shall receive

Are you ready for the key to getting whatever you want in life? Brace yourself… You just have to ASK. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? So why don’t more of us ask when we want something – a job promotion, a date, a discount, a lift somewhere, assistance and so forth. Why might we not ask?

Fear of rejection.  Pure and simple.

This fear of rejection is often disproportionate to what we’re asking for. You see a fab TV in a department store. It’s on offer but you’ve been doing your homework and it’s been on sale for a while, the price is higher than you want to pay but you really really want it. You could approach a sales assistant and chance your arm – asking for a bigger discount but what if they say no?! Surely it would be so embarrassing and everyone on the shop floor would hear. They’d all stare at you and look at you thinking: "Why would anyone ask for a discount in a store like this? It’s not a market stall!” But do you actually know what they’re really thinking? Nope. Yet I bet if you get that discount, they’ll either be kicking themselves that they hadn’t thought of it/dared do it, or, they’ll chance their arm next time and give it a whirl.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get

If you get a ‘no’ response when you ask for something, what has changed? Nothing. You didn’t have it before, and you’ve not got it now but at least you’ve asked; you certainly won’t get it if you don’t ask.

Recently, I was visiting Camden Market with my daughters. They loved the buzz of the place and as they’d saved up their money for the trip- they wanted to find some clothes, jewellery etc to spend it all on.

There was one stall with some rings which had caught their eye but they weren’t sure they wanted to pay the amount on the tag. ‘Ask if that’s their best price’ I said. They looked at me and said: ‘We can’t do that can we? Isn’t the price, the price?’ I told them to channel their Granny. My mother-in-law is the queen of ASK. Only recently, she was in a department store, probably not known for being a place to ask for a discount, and she struck up a conversation with one of the store assistants and the banter got going. She said it was her Birthday (that was true) and so what were the chances of her getting further discount on the dress she liked. She got not just 10% off, but 20! Her ethos, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. So, my girls asked what the best price for the rings were, and both got a discount. On one stall, the eldest got £10 off a ring she liked! Impressive.

It’s nothing personal…

It’s important to distinguish between personal vs concept rejection. If you do ask for something, be it a discount, a date, help, etc the answer no might not be anything to do with you personally; it could be because it’s not the right time, too many other people have asked, there isn’t enough of whatever you’re asking for, the person needs time and space to process the request, and for all manner of other reasons.

If it’s in our professional life and we are getting a no to a request, if we take ‘no’ personally, it could limit our ability to bounce back, so we need to separate the ‘no’ from our self-esteem and de-couple ourselves from the product / service. 

Take a job such as sales, if we hear a ‘no’ to our service / product / sale, we can tend to take it personally which is damaging. It’s more often the concept which is being said ‘no’ to rather than the person. We were not being personally rejected but possibly our sales technique could be better - it could be that we didn't give the customer a good enough reason to buy and we should take responsibility for that; next time ask more questions to uncover the emotional need that might just switch them on. The average sales person gets to two ‘no’s’ before backing out whereas a good sales person gets to about seven. They’re not pushy, it’s because they are very good listeners and sensitive to the customers’ needs, plus they’re infectiously passionate about their product or service.

It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it

Self-worth is so important– the belief that you’re worthy of the ASK. Look at an eight-year-old child who wants an ice-cream– they are natural-born persuaders and don’t give up. They don’t give up because they really want that ice-cream and believe they should have one. The parents might start out insisting they’ll be no ice-cream as they’ve already had too much sugar today/it’s too near dinner/they had one yesterday… But more than likely, the child wins because gradually they break down the parents whose emotions now tell them that the child is too cute to resist/they can’t face another argument/actually they’d quite like an ice-cream too. Children are great at asking for what they want. When oh when do we allow that self-worth and tenacity to leave us…?

In the case of asking for the discount on the TV – if the shop assistant politely said no, it’s likely because they’ve a strict policy on such requests or maybe they’re desperate to hit a sales target, so need as good a sale as they can get. For the most part, it’s unlikely they said no because they didn’t like you. You can then either choose to pay the asking price or walk away happy that you gave it a go. If the sales assistant agreed to your price– everyone’s a winner – they got their sale,  and you got your discount.

You can go your own way

We get in our own way all the time, so what can we do to get out of the way? How do you go about bolstering yourself so you believe you are worthy of the ASK? It all comes down to ensuring you have a positive self-image because if we don’t work on it, it limits what we believe we can do and are worthy of doing.

Try the following to get more of what you want in life:

  • Turn down the volume on the self-doubt - instead, amplify the positive self-talk. You can do anything you set your mind to, so ignore the gremlins.
  • Feel the fear and do it anyway - there will always be the fear monster and you get to choose to either listen to it, or ignore and go for it!
  • Get out of your comfort zone - challenge yourself! It’ll mean you feel more comfortable in asking for something.
  • Ask more often - get used to asking! Make it a habit. Habits repeated often enough create a new normal. You get used to the knockbacks and by the law of averages, the yes’s build up.
  • Repeat affirmations - say assumptive affirmations to yourself out loud in the mirror. Rewire your brain to believe in a positive outcome. “I am confident when asking for what I want.” “Good things happen to me every single day.”

Steve Jobs’ philosophy was that the simple action of asking is what separates those people who do things from those who just dream about it. Pretty powerful results can come from one word – ASK.

Understanding the difference between personal vs concept rejection, puts you in the driving seat. Adopting a mindset of expecting success means you’ll go for it but know that a ‘no’ isn’t necessarily about you. If you don’t ask, you won’t get more than you’ve got. So, GO FOR IT!

As the poet and orator George Herbert said: “Many things are lost for want of asking.”

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Do you find you listen to the self-doubt all too often? Do you wish you had more confidence to go for more things in life, to create exciting opportunities for yourself?  

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