3 things asking is not

Have you ever seen a toddler at the store asking for candy?

It’s pretty amusing to watch.

At first, they boldly ask with no hesitation, which is great, but the toddler gets told “no” and things go downhill fast. They have no bargaining chips. They can only move on to a tantrum.

Sometimes we are impatient, too. I know that’s often true for me. But we can’t go the way of the toddler. In the following paragraphs, I’ll reveal how you can craft an Ask with amazing, potential, power and confidence by explaining 3 things Asking is not. No tantrum required.

1. Asking is not a demand.

Even if you’re asking really big, it’s a request. Respect the Ask and treat it as a request. The energy and intention behind the Ask, while solid, direct and clear, is a solicitation put forth with curiosity about the response.

In the world of auctioneering, when I’m on stage auctioning an item or getting a donation, I’m asking and waiting to see how the audience responds. Then I reply with my next Ask. An Ask is a dance, NOT a demand.

2. Asking is not one-sided.

For your Ask to be a request, which we just said it should be, there needs to be “shared purpose.” The setup for your Ask should be rooted in your desire as well as theirs.

In order to craft a mutually beneficial Ask, homework must be done. The purpose of your Ask should have a reason, not just for you, but also for the person to whom you are making the request.

Line up your Asks with your audience’s values, desires and goals. You’ll need to employ empathy to analyze this from their perspective, rather than just yours.

In fundraising auctioneering the people in attendance know why they are there. They’ve already identified as someone interested in the cause. They can live their values through buying a ticket, making a donation or bidding on auction items. The audience at a fundraising event has already been nurtured and curated beforehand — you should do that, too.

This means you do the work to line up values or mission with the person or organization you’re Asking so your request is not a huge mental jump for them. Your Ask should be in alignment with where they are already headed in their mind.

This doesn’t mean you Ask for less, but you don’t want to come at someone from left field with an Ask that only makes sense from your perspective and not theirs. In this way, if you get a “no,” it’s not an end to the conversation, but simply a matter of assessing amounts and details.

3. Asking is not a request without rapport. 

In auctioneering, the audience has already aligned with the charity, but they still need to connect with me, even though I’m representing the charity. I have to do a little work to build rapport so they feel at least somewhat in a relationship with me.

You want to do the same before you make an important Ask. It may require weeks of nurturing and building a relationship, or it may be a much smaller investment of time. Whatever the case may be, rapport is essential to making a request.

Inquiry: How can I create an Ask using a request, rapport and shared values?

If you haven’t already, get my 5 must answer questions that will help you prepare for you next Ask.

Three signs you’re ready

There are times in our careers when Asking big matters most. But how do you know it’s time to focus on it as a success strategy and a skill to develop?

Women come to Ask LIke an Auctioneer when they have three things going on — all signs they’re ready to remove the gloves, take the risks and reap the rewards of the courageous kind of Asking I teach.

These might give you a clue it’s time to put Asking in your toolkit and use it to action your plans and accelerate your goals.

Here are the three signs you’re ready to get good at Asking big:

1. You’re getting both clear AND honest about your goals.

We aren't always crystal clear about our goals and getting there often requires some real honesty with ourselves. If you’re noticing that your next set of goals are starting to shape up and that you are, in fact, being honest with yourself about what you REALLY want, it may be time to get good at Asking.

2. You’re feeling the itch to level up in you career or business.

Sometimes we work along in our careers, executing against goals, doing the work, cruising along at a rhythm and a pace that feels… normal. And then something changes and we want more. We want to stretch more, take on more and level up across the board in our career and professional or financial pursuits. And we need help. It can start as a whisper and then grow into a roar so loud we’re willing to challenge the status quo to get to our next level. If you’re hearing that whisper, it might be time to get good at Asking.

3. You’re holding back.

Are you noticing you hold back when you go to negotiate for yourself, whether for money or opportunities? Even just a little? Or maybe your version of holding back is just not asking at all, even though you want to. Yes, this is a sign — in combination with the others I’ve mentioned already — that it’s time to face the music and get good at Asking.

Finding the courage to Ask for what you really want puts you in control of your career and helps you confidently accelerate getting to your goals. And isn’t that what we all want?

If you want that, too, maybe it’s time to get good at Asking. And it can start today.

Are you ready to get started?

You can jumpstart your courage by grabbing my 5 Tips to Ignite the Power of Asking right now.

Or you can take my short, fun and affordable 4-module online course, Welcome to the ZOFO — it’s 57 minutes that will change the way you Ask forever.

Three signs you may be leaving money and opportunity on the table

Have you ever been out shopping and found a lovely pair of shoes you must have?

You want to make your purchase with cash.

Let’s say your total cost is $70 and you give the cashier a $100 bill.

Do you grab your shoes and go, or do you wait for the cashier to return your change?

You get your $30 back, of course. You don’t just leave your money on the counter.

But that’s exactly what you may be doing in your professional life…

So how do you know if you’re walking away from money and opportunity that can be yours?

I’d like to share 3 warning situations that scream, “You’re leaving money!”

1. In talks about money, you only aim for a yes:

If you’re in money negotiations of any kind, and you find you’re getting a “yes” right away, this is a sign of not getting all that’s available to you. While it seems like a good thing to get a “yes,” unfortunately you probably aren’t getting all you can.

I had a colleague reach out to me recently prior to a meeting where money was part of the conversation. I coached her to make a bigger Ask, first of all. After the meeting, she told me excitedly that she got a “no.” That sounds backwards to you, maybe, but let me explain the perspective. Now she has the opportunity to have a real conversation and figure out exactly what will be the best price for both parties. I haven’t heard yet, but I’m confident she will get more than what she would have if she went with a lower offer.

2. You’re Asking only at an ordained time:

Quarterly reviews and contract renegotiation are times when you are given an opening to make an Ask that you want. But sometimes you can make an Ask out of the blue. You could be passing up lots of great opportunities by not speaking up. Look for ways to move you forward. It doesn’t matter if there’s a preset time allocated to make an Ask. Act according to your timetable, not someone else’s.

3. You are holding back:

A natural inclination is to scale back an Ask. You want to seem less demanding. You want to soften. But you don’t have to do that! You can be bold. You have every right to try to get what you want and deserve. All you have to do is decide, step into your power and make that Ask.

Inquiry: Do any of these three sound like me? And if so, do I want to do something about it?

Ditch the puppet show and find your flow

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt awkward or uncomfortable?

Of course, looking back afterward, you can see how you could have handled things differently, but in the moment, an alternative was not obvious. Let me give you a simple example to ponder.

I attended a speech some time ago, where a very tall man was the presenter. As he took the stage, he was provided a microphone and a stool. I watched as he hunkered down to sit on the stool, then switched to leaning. He continued to slouch and drape and fidget with the stool the entire time he was talking. It wasn’t great for him and it was, unfortunately, distracting to the audience also.

I asked him afterward why he kept messing with the stool, which clearly did not fit with his very tall stature. He said, “I don’t know. It was there. I thought I had to use it.”

How much of your life are you spending doing something just because you think you should?

At times we are plodding along and doing what we think we are supposed to, without contemplating whether it’s truly the best fit.

I’ve been doing the same thing myself. I thought I needed to do my video blog in a certain fancy and consistent setting. I got the impression it’s what I was “supposed to do.” Surely there is a group of successful people who have done it in that way.

But when I stepped back and evaluated how I’ve been feeling about the videos, I noticed I felt too constrained in the space. The ideas and thoughts weren’t flowing as well as when the initial concept took shape in my head. I don’t want to feel like I’m a puppet on a little stage. I want you to get the most out of our time together and that includes a transfer of energy from me to you that I feel was lacking.

So, now that I’ve realized this, I’m giving myself permission to do as I please — to align how I work with who I am. I know I can provide more value working in a way that feels more fluid. I don’t want to sit at that desk anymore. I want to capture the ideas on the fly, as they come to me. I can bring you along wherever I am in the world and when the mood strikes me. It’ll be better for both of us.

So, how about you?

Are you continuing to do unaligned things without considering other options?

Livin’ la vida ZOFO

What the heck is the ZOFO?

It stands for the Zone of Freaking Out. You’ll find yourself in the ZOFO when the Ask you’re about to make feels so big it makes you freak out. It’s the scary place most of us tend to avoid like the plague.

The important thing to understand is that the potential and power of your Ask lives in the ZOFO. A big Ask means you don’t know if you’ll get a yes because you’re pushing the boundaries to see what you can really get. With a big Ask, you feel pretty sure you aren’t leaving money on the table.

Imagine you decide to take a spontaneous trip. You found a great deal on a flight or a girlfriend convinced you at the last minute to just take off for a few days. You’ve got no plan beyond getting off the plane in a new location. You’re in the unknown.

In the unknown exists a feeling of excitement and adventure. That’s where discovery can happen. Discovery allows you to maximize the potential of your adventure. Maybe you decide to have dinner at a rather questionable, hole-in-the-wall restaurant and it turns out to be one of the best meals you ever had.

That’s what the ZOFO is.

You’re not exactly sure what the next moment will reveal, then BOOM, magic happens!

The ZOFO is where you can get a yes to an Ask you really didn’t think was possible. But it’s ONLY possible when you’re willing to embrace the ZOFO, going into the space of the unknown. Great things can happen for you there.

Inquiry: Looking back on your life and career, what was one big Ask that you made that brought you something surprising? Also, reflect on how great that experience felt and what you could ask for now. Share your answer with me on Instagram if you want.

I’m going to be giving away some FREE Jump Start speed coaching sessions soon and the only way to get a chance to win is to get on my email list. Text the word “Ask” to 66866 to join right now. As you know, I think and talk very fast, which means I can accomplish a ton spending just a little time with you. You could have an amazing breakthrough!