As active member of a small think tank/support group for creative entrepreneurs, I help my colleagues dream, plan and manifest what they need to move forward in various endeavors. We are each quite focused on what we want, and this group offers fresh perspectives and resources to assist in getting our goals. Maybe surprisingly, maybe not, the biggest challenge for most of us is to ask for help.
Many people feel as though an ask implies imposition, annoyance or even stepping over the line of professional decency and decorum. But guess what? Asking for assistance, for a connection, for an opportunity, and, sure, for a favor, can lead to great outcomes.
It Pays to Ask
In my group, Leo is host to a late-night variety/talk show that is now a web broadcast. In planning the new format last summer, he had a very specific “dream” guest in mind for the interview portion of the first new show. When saying this name out loud, to Leo, it sounded far-fetched. To the rest of us, it did not! We insisted he call the guy. Emboldened by his cheerleading squad, he did indeed call. The rest is history. (And the recent show, a huge success.)
Similarly, my band, an a capella trio belting out French hits from the 13th to 17th centuries, opened for a famous singer last year. I recently learned that this same singer would be in town for another show, and asked my bandmate to book us for the opening spot. My pal hesitated, yet I insisted. (The singer really connected with her, otherwise I would have made the call.) And guess who’s opening for the show?
Open New Doors
Maybe we don’t think we can ask close colleagues or distant connections because we just don’t want to face rejection and all that might imply. I’ve noticed that more often than not, people actually like to be asked and, more importantly, amazing conversations can happen, if you just ask. You can learn new things about your professional connections and make new ones. When we ask, it’s important to keep in mind that people can always say no, and that it’s nothing personal, just a boundary or bandwidth issue, which we all have (and must maintain).
But if you don’t ask, you don’t know. And, if you don’t know, you might not grow.