Ask-0-Rama: Expand what’s possible, guaranteed!

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Want a guaranteed way to blow the doors wide open on what’s possible in your life? Put this one simple word into play on a consistent basis:

Ask.

It seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? If you want something, asking opens the door to the possibility of getting it. Not asking…well, not so much.

And yet for many (most?) of us, asking is precisely what we don’t do.

The Ask-o-Rama

Much to my chagrin, that includes me. I’m naturally inclined to reach out and offer help. But historically I have pretty much sucked at asking.

Whether that has been asking for help or asking for the sale, that reluctance has had a negative effect on my ability to do what it feels like I’m here to do, to make the difference I feel called to make.

So I guess it was only a matter of time before I would create an opportunity to face that head on.

A couple days ago I decided to contact each of my Facebook friends with a request to share a link to my two series on how to feel more juice in your job and how to make work more meaningful.

It was a simple thing to ask. It was easy for people to do (or not do), and my motivation was wanting to get the insights and ideas of those posts into the hands of the people who need them. And yet doing it made me squirm, taking me headlong into my discomfort zone.

In an exchange with one of the first friends I asked (Patti Digh, author of Life Is a Verb and several other books), my effort to spread the word about the posts turned into something bigger. Rather than an isolated effort to spread the word on some blog posts, it became my first foray into “the year of making the ask.”

Or, as I like to think of it, making my life an Ask-O-Rama!

Turn your life into an Ask-O-Rama

The idea behind turning your life into an Ask-O-Rama is simple. Figure out what you need, then ask for it. Not exactly rocket science.

But the keys to the kingdom don’t come from just knowing what you need. They come from asking for it. Asking puts possibilities in motion. There are no guarantees that you will get what you ask for all the time, but some of the time you will.

And if you don’t, as hockey great Wayne Gretzky noted, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

Here are some thoughts on creating your own Ask-O-Rama.

Brainstorm ask-fodder

Before you ask, you need to know what to ask for. A good place to start is to spend some time brainstorming. Answer questions like:

  • What help do I need?
  • What support do I need?
  • What are my goals? What would help me move toward them?
  • What challenges am I experiencing? What would help me overcome them?
  • How can I ask people to join me?
  • What commitment do I need to ask people to make?
  • What contribution do I need people to make?

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Embrace non-attachment

The very act of making the ask sets you up to hear no. Except for the occasional sales-type for whom hearing doesn’t seem to have the slightest effect, that can throw cold water on your commitment to keep going with it.

To counter that, take a non-attachment approach. Throw the requests out there, but do it with the understanding that living in an Ask-O-Rama is really a numbers game. Sometimes you’ll hear yes, and sometimes you’ll hear no.

In fact, the very nature of the Ask-O-Rama life means you’ll hear no more. You might even turn up the volume on hearing no by making a habit of making unreasonable requests.

If you let go of your attachment to hearing yes, and stop giving any meaning to yes and no (“Yes means success. No means failure, or rejection.”) your path is going to be a whole lot easier.

On a related note, when you do hear “no,” don’t make it about you. The more gracefully you can accept a no as simply an indication of what works for that person at that point in time, the more comfortable people will be getting requests from you.

Look at what’s getting in the way

Unless making the ask is easy and natural for you, you’ll probably run into obstacles that get in your way. For some people, that might be about fear of rejection. For me, it’s more about not wanting to impose on people, not wanting to put them in the uncomfortable position of having to say no to me, or feeling obligated to say yes but not really wanting to.

If the idea of making requests brings up any resistance, ask yourself why. The more insight you have into what’s blocking you, the more ability you have to do something about it.

Keep track

Finally, keep track of the yeses you get. Record what came out of it – what you were able to accomplish as a result, what doors opened, what obstacles you over came, etc. Review that on a regular that to reinforce that, even if asking inherently means hearing no more often, it also creates possibilities.

Don’t just ask – offer too!

One last thing to think about as you work to make your life an Ask-O-Rama. Don’t just focus on asking. Look for opportunities to offer as well. You want to create a balanced flow of the energy of giving and receiving.

Try a 30-Day Ask-O-Rama experiment

Let’s face it. Committing to wholesale change for the rest of your life can be a recipe for falling flat in your commitment. Instead of resolving to me the rest of your life an Ask-O-Rama, try making it a 30-Day Experiment. For the next 30 days, turn your life into an Ask-O-Rama. Brainstorm requests, the challenge yourself to make at least one request a day for the next 30 days.

What are you going to ask for first?

Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM

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