Every day, professionals just like you are using Asking as a success strategy to help them level up, bring about change and reach ambitious goals. We can all Ask for more and get it and these three women did just that. Maybe you’ll see yourself in one of these stories and it will help you feel less alone and more able to make the kinds of Asks that can change everything. If they can do it, you can, too
The big shift
Teresa was was ready for a change — and she needed her employer to help her make it. Her Ask felt big: She wanted to renegotiate her salaried full-time position with an architecture firm to a part-time role at a higher hourly rate to allow for her to use half her week building her own new business. It felt risky, but with a love of her goals and a clear plan that included every aspect of the Ask, she went for it.
“They gave me everything I asked for, even my rate. The rate I asked for was in my ZOFO. They offered $5 less than I was going to ask for, so I said what I wanted and they said OK. I really thought I was in the ‘No’ range, but it turns out I could have asked for even more! That being said, I did it. It turned out great. Your advice was a huge help. The one thing you said that really stayed with me was that I didn't need to sell myself. That was so true. They had 10 years of a proven track record and were very glad I wasn't quitting.”
*edited for clarity
Great! She got what she wanted from the Ask. More importantly, she set the table, financially and in time, to be able to pursue building her business. We make Asks for our goals. And Teresa did it beautifully.
The level up
Alex had been doing mid-level work with a junior title for far too long. She was ready for a level up and she was tired of waiting around for it. So she pursued a new role at a new organization.
She said, “I just asked like an auctioneer and I feel like [I was] going to puke.”
That was music to my ears. It means the Ask she made was a ZOFO Ask — the kind that doesn't pull punches, the kind that is not a lowball, but an Ask that honors her real goals.
Turns out, the Ask wasn’t for a huge level up in salary, but around her title. Her reserve was a title that was a clear and undeniable level up, one that would function as the platform for future growth, recognition and impact.
“Moral of my story is, right now my first try asking was learning and practice for me. I’m set up now where if I am offered a promotion or negotiate elsewhere I’m prepared to be uncomfortable, prepared to walk away if necessary and I actually re-evaluated what was most important to me in the process.”
Alex held on to her reserve, the thing that was a deal breaker for her. She held onto it tightly and knew that committing to that reserve was committing to her goals — and standing up for them. Simple, difficult and exhilarating.
The one that changed everything
This story is my story.
After college I wandered — teaching fitness, personal training and seeking my path forward. I was looking for a profession that would allow me to live my value of adventure. I wanted to work directly and intimately with people in a business context to help them be themselves and live and work in a way that is aligned to their most compelling selves. I didn’t have a name for it, but when I found it I was gobsmacked. I met a man who taught workshops and coached on leadership communications.
I had the chance to audit his class at a large technology company. When I watched him coach participants and create powerful conversations and insights around how to elevate the impact of leadership through communication, I knew I had found the profession for me. I felt it in my bones.
I had no resume to support my desire to do that kind of coaching or build credibility beyond my faith in myself that I could be great at it. With my clear goals in mind, and a deep desire in my heart, I made the Ask that would change everything. The Ask was simple, non-monetary and completely out of bounds.
I asked him, “Will you teach me?”
He said yes and the next thing I knew I was on a plane to New York. My life was never the same.
It was the Ask that changed everything.
To create shifts, level us up and change everything, we must be willing to speak our dreams, champion our goals and, most importantly, craft the Asks that take us beyond incremental change. Those are the Asks that get us more.
If you think you’re ready to make those kinds of Asks because you have a vision for yourself, you’re tired of the status quo or you need a strategy to get you where you want to go faster, you can take my short Ask-Readiness assessment as a way to jump start yourself. Check it out.