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Ordinary People Taking Action
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Friday Guest Post By:
Kathy Clifford, Founding Director at Kathy Clifford
Are those who ASK more successful in life?
Who are the Askers in your life?
At your workplace?
Last night, my 10-year-old daughter asked if we could go to the drugstore to look at eyebrow pencils. I said no, we are not going to the drugstore tonight - it's not a priority. Then 5 minutes later in the grocery store, she asked for potato chips. I said no…and then changed to okay, but…you can't have them tonight. Then back in the car, she asked again to turn right and go to the drugstore…pleeeeezzzz! I said, NO - we are not going there tonight. Give it a rest! And then I said, "but good for you to keep asking. You are a great asker and that is one of your signature strengths. Hang on to it! You will go far if you just keep asking".
She doesn't take the "no" personally, she doesn't spend any time worrying about it, she just moves on and asks for the next thing she wants. Kaya is most definitely the asker.
Asking has always been a foreign and very fearful place for me to go. The dreaded NO has stopped me from asking for - and therefore, receiving, much more in my life I am certain. My motto growing up, and through most of my adulthood has been, "don't ask and then you won't be rejected or disappointed". Perhaps I have faced far less rejection in my life - but at what cost?
I decided to reflect on just the last three days of my life and see how the "asking" vs "being asked" account balance is looking. I must tell you, my 10-year-old self appears to continue running this particular show.
Three days ago, I was asked out of the blue, by a neighbor/mother that I barely knew, if I would consider having her 18-year-old daughter come and stay with us for 4-5 months to finish high school. The family is moving on short notice due to a change in her husband's career. I have probably spoken to this woman 3 times at our kids events and we've probably exchanged less than 10 sentences to date. What incredible courage it took her to ask! I acknowledged her for the incredible courage it took to ask. And in 13 days, her daughter is going to move in with us.
Two days ago, I was asked by a wonderful author and psychotherapist to consider delivering/teaching her work. She would be a mentor/resource and provide her book and all of the content, etc. but she is looking for others to take her work into the world. Over the next several days, I am reviewing her work and contemplating which customers of mine could benefit from her work and I'm considering how much time I can invest to learn, sell, and deliver her work.
Today, I was asked by a fellow coach/consultant to partner on a fairly intense team intervention where the team has significant trust, conflict, and communication issues. This colleague is an amazing coach - and does not have direct experience facilitating for teams in this way, nor does she have content, proposals, or the skills to gingerly navigate this type of engagement, yet. After a one-hour call, she asked if I would put together the proposal this weekend so that she could send it to the client and try to confirm the work. It is assumed that she will ask me to create most of the design and provide the "bench strength" for the actual team event. This weekend, I will be writing a proposal and thinking about how to design this event for success.
Are these amazing opportunities for me? Absolutely! Am I grateful for these asks? Yes, I am! Have I spent most of my life doing more of the "lifting", more of "preparing", more of the "responsibility carrying"? Yes, I'm afraid so. Has my fear and resistance to asking put severe governors on my potential for income, work, and overall life enrichment? Probably. Can I learn from this reflection, choose now to take more risk, and take action to ask for much more, letting go of the response of others? You bet!!
Following this reflection, I had another quick conversation with my remarkable, open, and fearless daughter. I told her, keep asking honey!
You can either be the asker, or you will be the asked. Be the asker! If you ask, you might be rejected or disappointed, it's true. But if you don't ask, you absolutely won't receive because no one will know!
As a woman of great faith, I have received and continue to receive, trust, and experience everything taken care of. Often through the asks I receive. But "faith without works is dead" and for today, my work is to ASK! How about you?