The Art of the Ask

Asking: sounds like a simple enough idea. When kids are hungry, they ask for food. When kids are thirsty, they ask for something to drink. Somewhere between being a kid and becoming an adult, we forget that we have the ability to ask for what we want. And just to clarify, I’m not encouraging you to be greedy and ask for unnecessary things; I’m encouraging you to think about what’s important to you and why and then go for it.

We can ask for what we need in all areas of our life. We can ask in our career, relationships and finances. By asking with compassion, we increase the likelihood of having our wants realized. You may be in need of time for yourself, sleep, honesty in a relationship, respect, more or less responsibility at work or a day off—to highlight a few common needs. Sometimes what you need may not be what the other person wants, and that’s OK. It’s important to honor yourself and your needs.

Amazing things happen when you ask. One client, who was seriously considering leaving her job, was able to put a four-day workweek into place by masterfully conveying to her boss why this would be good for her, the company and her team. Her boss agreed, and my client now enjoys her job again.

Of course, just because you know what you want doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy getting it. Once you figure out that a four-day workweek is appealing (and I’m sure everyone loves this one), you need to think about why this makes sense for your employer, what type of conversation you need to have with your manager, how will it impact people on your team and what rituals need to shift in your daily work schedule to make this possible.

Perhaps you don’t know what you want. Perhaps you are scared to ask. Perhaps you wouldn’t know what to do if you actually got what you asked for.

Often, you may find yourself making excuses for why something is not possible. As you learn to stop this conversation in your head and retrain yourself to focus on what you want and why it needs to happen, you will cross the line from impossible to possible. And if it doesn’t happen this month, that’s OK. Keep rolling forward because it could happen the next month.

One thing is certain—it’s fine to ask for what you want. If you don’t ask, I guarantee one thing—nothing will change.

The next time you’re not sure what to do.

• Ask with compassion.

• Ask with clarity.

• Ask with confidence.

Remember, sometimes an idea sounds entirely unrealistic until you ask—and it happens. This process of shifting your mindset to what’s possible can open new possibilities in all areas of your life.

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