If you want something, ask for it. Be direct. You have so much to gain – and so little to lose – by asking for things.
I’m amazed at why people, including myself, don’t do this more often.
Our neglect includes small things, like not asking your boss to attend a career-enhancing trade conference. Or, if we forgot our mobile phone with GPS, not asking someone for directions to a new restaurant.
Life is short. Why would we want to waste a single minute by being lost?
I try to apply this same direct approach to other life journeys.
If this concept appeals to you, ask yourself these questions:
- Where do I want to go?
- What’s the most direct way there?
- Who can best get me there?
Then, directly ask the people who can help you. Once you start, continue the related requests rapidly. If you’re committed, you’ll be amazed at how far you’ll get and how quickly you’ll reach your destination.
I started to apply and learn from this powerful technique when I launched an outerwear company in 1999.
First, you must know that I had no idea how to start a technical outerwear company. But by asking people direct questions (starting with local retail buyers, which quickly led to sales reps, which quickly led to overseas manufacturing sources, which quickly led to design and financing connections, etc.), I was able to deliver my own brand of technical outerwear, to reputable retailers like REI, within 14 months. This was an unusually speedy product development and delivery schedule. It happened only because I started to directly ask for things.
People will help you if you ask respectfully and show commitment. Believe it or not, most people want to help – especially those who respect you for asking in the first place. But not everyone will respect you for sticking your neck out. This, too, goes with the territory.
What’s the worst that can happen if you ask? They will say no? Then proceed to the next person. Soon, someone will say yes.
In my experience, the best way to request something is to first put your self in the other person’s shoes. You must answer, and effectively communicate, the “what’s in it for them?” question. Second, know exactly all that you want to get from the request. Sure, your main goal might be to get an introduction to someone (or whatever), but you also crucially need the other person to believe that they’ve been respected, and that you’re a person who is organized, competent, committed and trust worthy.
So, work back from these envisioned results and then thoughtfully execute an effective way to succeed with your request. Be genuine. Be fearless, if you can. If you can’t, do it anyway.
Give it a whirl. But be careful – you might just get what you asked for.