3 Reasons You Should Start Asking For Shit

Daily Blog #7

“From what I’ve seen, it isn’t so much the act of asking that paralyzes us — it’s what lies beneath: the fear of being vulnerable, the fear of rejection, the fear of looking needy or weak. The fear of being seen as a burdensome member of the community instead of a productive one.
It points, fundamentally, to our separation from one another.” 
Amanda Palmer

I am a big believer in the ask. I am a big believer in saying to people openly and honestly that you want something, and that you want their help in getting it. We’ve been taught that you can’t actually do that, societal norms have convinced us that it’s just not appropriate.

But let me tell you something, being inappropriate is my best character trait 😉

In my daily blog yesterday, I started publishing a Daily Ask. Here’s what that looked like:

It’s short, sharp and to the point. And you know what? I got 3 emails out of it. One connecting me to a VC fund who I’m now having a conversation with about storytelling, and 2 from podcasters who want to give me some guidance.

Fuck yes.

1. When you ask, you give people an opportunity to be helpers.

And people love being helpers. People love to be useful. People love to contribute. I don’t care how cynical you want to be, I honestly believe that when you call out to a stranger and ask them to hold a door open, 9/10 times they get an immense buzz from performing that action for you.

Think how much more powerful that feeling is for people who get to help you with your content, or your career, or your startup, or your script or whatever it is that you’re working on. Think what a difference you can make to their day by letting them get high on helping!

2. When you ask, you’re dispelling the belief that you don’t want help.

People tend to assume that we don’t want help, we don’t need help, we’re doing fine, we’re “crushing it” (fuck that phrase btw) and so on, and that means that they don’t help out. We’re so good at externally demonstrating our so called success and acting out a role in a scene in which we are the queens of the world, even when we know that having someone help us with a leg up is super important!

Get out there and tell people that you’re struggling with X, Y and Z, and that you need connections, advice, support, leads, introductions, whatever it is! Make sure to ask, because most folks can’t read minds.

3. When you ask, you’re tapping into the village.

We all know that saying. It takes a village to raise a child. Well it actually takes a village to do almost anything truly great. It takes the people around us. We aren’t meant to succeed completely on our own, that’s not what the entire fabric of our society has been built on. The fabric of our society has been built on people lending a hand. We’ve recognised, for years beyond our knowledge or comprehension that we are better together.

If the entirety of humanity’s lived experience points to the fact that humans working together is better for survival, why would we reject that knowledge by refusing to tap into the people around us?

🗓 Today’s update…so, I don’t have a studio. I don’t have a fancy place to work. I have a gorgeous apartment that I fill with books and Samurai swords and street signs (it’s a long story) and skateboards and guitars and shit, but honestly I don’t work there.

I work out and about. All over Sydney, all over Melbourne when I’m in town, all over Brissie, all over Adelaide. I’ve written better blog posts and recorded better videos in a hotel in Amsterdam than I have in a dedicated workspace.

Right now, I’m sitting in a cafe called Olivo’s and I’m chowing down on a bacon and egg roll and drinking way too much black coffee. That deck I was working on yesterday turned out great, so I’m on that special high that you can only get from a job well done.

After this I’m planning on going to Newtown to hunt for a textbook series. Two books called First Person and Second Person, all about analysing and authoring digital and cross channel narratives because – PSA – I am a huge fucking nerd.

💡My Daily Ask:

Same as yesterday! I’m interested in working on more VC content and helping cool funds tell a story, interviewing a VR startup for a post and talking to podcasters who want to help me out with the plans for my new shows. If you can help me with any of that, drop me a line: jon@jonwestenberg.com