Personal Growth
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Personal Growth

The First Step to Getting What You Want is Making the Ask

Any saleswoman or man will tell you, the first step is always to give it a try. To make the ask in the hope that it leads to a “warm lead” or some kind of positive next step. Maybe a meeting, maybe an opportunity for an “elevator pitch” or best yet, the fast-track to the actual sale. Selling a product is hard enough as it is — selling ourselves is even harder, but not for the reason you might think.

When I’ve studied the lives of successful people like Gordon Ramsay, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and countless others, I find many common threads. Ambition, drive, confidence, perseverance and plenty of natural talent. But I also find a remarkable courage that emanated from their faith and self-worth.

The successes of all three people can be traced to their courage to ask for an opportunity and to continue knocking on the door.

Gordon Ramsay didn’t just get handed a top-chef position at a Michelin-star restaurant or a TV show. He had to ask for the opportunities and then he did his best with what he had. Same for Steve Jobs. The man was fired from the very company (Apple) that he started! So he had to ask others for help to rebuild his career.

No one handed Oprah Winfrey anything. She had to ask for the opportunity and work for it. I can personally tell you that I launched my own career coaching business two years ago by first asking experts in the field how they did it. I only learned the ropes of running a business, running a practice and honing my craft by asking tons of questions to many people I didn’t even know.

It was well worth it! I think you’ll find this to be the case for any great success story.

How it Applies to You

So many people don’t end up doing or getting what they want for one simple reason — they’re too afraid to ask for it. It may be because they’re afraid of rejection or perhaps because they don’t feel comfortable asking someone else for something. They may feel that even though they have plenty of resources at their disposal, they simply don’t feel confident that their request or pitch will work.

So they squander an opportunity and succumb to fear. They wonder — what if I just took that chance? What if I just asked? But playing the “What if” game doesn’t get them anywhere near mustering up the courage to ask for what they want. It’s a vicious, toxic cycle that keeps spinning and leading back to the start. If you find yourself being driven by fear, please, stop what you’re doing and step back and take a deep breath.

This still happens to me as occasional struggles with anxiety and fear can calm like a thief in the night and grip me with an overwhelming power. Suddenly, I’m doubting myself. My big idea of wanting to become an industry-leading speaker seems like a pipe dream. But I know when I’m confident in who I am and comfortable with making the ask, I lack fear. I have strong faith that leads to an indomitable spirit of enthusiasm.

If you’re looking to become a leader in the field you’re in — start asking the leaders in your field for advice on how to be the best. Be willing to work around their schedule, buy them lunch, coffee or do something nice for them in return. But get that time to learn from them. That time may be worth its weight in gold.

There Are No Guarantees, But Better Odds

I’ve written previously about my willingness to ask a multi-millionaire for his secret to success and how it transformed my life. I didn’t get a job or a lead on an amazing opportunity. I got an idea that led to my development of a five-year plan. This is how I’ve continued to build my life and encouraged thousands of others to do the same in their life.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get an appointment, an opportunity or whatever it is that you want — but your odds of getting it are exponentially greater than if you never asked at all. Be bigger than waiting for someone to come to you. Pursue the hiring manager of the job that you want. That’s how I’ve landed nearly every job in my professional career. Ask for a conversation.

I landed my first professional speaking gig because I asked for it. I think I’m good at what I do, but who would really know if they never saw me? You get opportunities by asking for them. What is that thing for you? Art? Starting your own business? Having your website created? Launching a nonprofit? Be willing to ask for help. When you ask, the world has an uncanny habit of giving you what you ask for.

Getting what you want isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard either. It begins with asking for what you want. If you never ask, you’ll never know. If you do ask, you’ll find yourself rewarded with tremendous opportunity.

Take a Bold Step Forward in 2018!

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Christopher D. Connors

Christopher D. Connors

Author, Executive Coach & Emotional Intelligence Speaker; Seen on Fox, ABC, CNBC, etc.;

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