A few weeks ago I was up way past my bedtime laughing my @ss off at my favorite comedian’s Instagram account. He had just posted a snippet of his latest act and in between wiping tears of laughter off my face, I noticed a comment that stopped me in my tracks.
“Hey, Tony! I was at that show last night and wanted to buy a t-shirt but all you had was small and medium, what gives man?”
Tony replied, “you should have asked! I had other sizes in the back”.
I sat there absorbing that for a few seconds and then had a lightbulb moment around it.
You should have asked.
That guy walked up to the table, didn’t see his size and walked away disappointed enough to complain the next day on his favorite comedian’s IG account. Not once did it cross his mind to ask if they might have his size. He just accepted what he could see in his perception, instead of pushing to see if he could have more.
Have you ever found yourself doing the same thing when it comes to asking for what you want? Seriously. How many times have you just assumed something isn’t available or isn’t for you before you even ASKED for it?
Do you know that popular saying “how you do anything is how you do everything”? Well, if you’re not asking for what you want in one area, you’re not asking for what you want in all of life.
A few years ago, a woman I was working with privately frantically texted me that she had received an amazing offer for a job that would make her the highest-paid woman in her country. Except the hours would take her away from her family too much. And she wanted to work from home.
“I guess I’ll have to decline it”, she said sadly.
“Don’t”, I said. “Just ask for what you want and see what they say. You don’t get to decline it until you’ve asked.”
She did go back to them and asked for exactly what she wanted. Work from home. Only one day in the office a month. She could only work on these specific days between these hours.
Within 48 hours, they came back saying yes to all of her requests AND they upped her salary to boot. That’s the power of the ask.
One of my highest paying, favorite clients ever came from an ask. We had been talking for a while about issues she was having with her business, as acquaintances. And then it dawned on me, I could help her in one of my coaching programs.
I sent her a short, non-salesy note about my hunch. A week later she was my client. We worked together for 3 years and she happily invested over $200,000 in her work with me during that time. We are still friends to this day and we constantly connect each other to opportunities.
When I was 10, I remember being SO EMBARRASSED when my mother would push back after she was told something wasn’t available or didn’t appear on the shelf. But guess what? She always got what she wanted.
I’d blush, too, when she asked really personal questions to people sharing that they were having a hard time. I felt mortified that she might be violating their privacy. Instead, what I often noticed was people opening up and being glad someone wanted to go deeper and listen to them.
Do you know how many times a woman has given up on joining one of my programs without even writing to us because she didn’t immediately see a payment plan on the payment page?
At least 100 I’d say.
Meanwhile, everyone who wrote in asking for one got one.
Or how about the woman who wrote in asking me if she was the right fit to work with me because she’d been feeling called to it for a long time. Because she asked, she ended up scoring a spot for a VIP day during a private sale I was having. All because she dared to stop assuming I didn’t have space to work with her and just ASKED if she could.
Or the client who wanted to invest in my mastermind so badly that she went and ASKED for loans from three different people. Within 4 months she had made enough to pay them all back with interest.
Why don’t we ask for things?
- We’re afraid of being vulnerable
- We’re afraid of being rejected
- We think we have to keep up some image of being “the one who never needs anything” (which by the way is a toxic patriarchal belief living in you, since the patriarchy rewards isolation and one-upmanship)
- We have limiting beliefs about ourselves, so we assume everyone else gets to have it except us.
- We make our desires wrong or shameful.
- We feel it’s “not classy” to ask (another toxic patriarchal belief, not to mention classist)
- We don’t want people to think we’re “pushy”.
I learned from my mother to have no shame around being perceived as “pushy” just because I asked for something. I have spent my life asking for more, asking why asking if there might be more available or in the back. It has scored me free business class tickets, the last item in the store when they claimed to be sold out, clients, good friends and saved me from a TON of misperceptions and assumptions.
Recently, I thought to myself, “you know I’d like to be on the board of an important business organization”. The next day I researched a few organizations with the help of my mentor. I reached out to the COO via phone (something that always makes you stand out because everyone wants to email these days) and asked to be on the board while sharing my interest.
Guess what? They were thrilled, told me no one ever does that so it was refreshing to hear from me, and now I’m in talks to be on the board. No one has ever ASKED them if they can be on it, imagine that.
Okay, I know the next thing you’ll want to say to me is “But Lisa, what if I DON’T get what I want. What if I get rejected?”.
Sure, that can happen. About 30% of the time I don’t get what I ask for. But, here’s the thing, I’d rather feel sheepish because I got rejected than to have walked away from a GOLD MINE because I assumed there wasn’t one available. I get to walk away knowing that at least I asked, and that to me is doing my best.
Do you know what also happens when you start to ask more?
You start getting more unexpected gifts from the Universe. Because now you’re in the energy of asking and receiving and the Universe goes “oh she’s asking for things, so let’s match that energy and send things her way”.
Being able to ask is ALL about expanding your emotional capacity. When we expand our capacity to feel worthy of what we ask for, we expand our ability to receive more of what we want at that next level of our careers or businesses. If you have a habit of not asking, you’ve got a capacity issue.
So, ask for that raise. Ask that client to renew their program with you. Ask for more money. Ask if they have more in the back. Ask for the price you feel is fair for your work.
Ask for what you want.
The WORST that could happen is that you get a no. But at least you know you didn’t walk away from hidden blessings because you didn’t have the courage to make the ask.
In love, capacity and VISIBILITY,