It Doesn’t Hurt To Ask

Even In This Economy

graphic of words relating to attitudeIn this economy. Listen carefully to what someone says after those three words and you’ll learn something about that person’s belief system. Even optimists can’t help but be affected by the fearful refrain being drilled into us from every quarter. Current economic factors are impacting our livelihoods, our health and overall outlook. It’s challenging us and it’s stressful. Even so, it’s important to recognize the danger of allowing the “in this economy” mindset to skew our decisions and actions. You can ask the question, “What can I do in this economy?” in one of two ways: one implies “why bother?” and the other invites a creative solution.

Here are two real examples of people who asked for more and got it, even in this economy. The first is Genevieve to whom I introduced you in the last issue. She’s the woman who wrote 72 thank-you notes to people who assisted in her job search. Genevieve was offered a better compensation package because she requested it. There were some things on which she compromised, yet the bottom line is that she asked for more and got more.

Some of you may also remember Rose, who learned a great lesson last year about knowing her worth. Last week Rose accepted a position in a department she’d long been interested in, and to top it off, she also got a promotion. How does someone manage to obtain a promotion in a company that’s going through multiple rounds of layoffs? That’s what I asked Rose.

The Right Amount Of Effort

Rose’s initial answer to my “how’d you do that” question was to say, “I didn’t do that much.” It’s not that she wasn’t giving herself credit for the actions she took. Rose was clear on those and easily listed them for me:

  • I showed up and expressed interest.
  • I asked for what I wanted.
  • When I learned the position was posted at a lower level than what I’d be bringing to the job, I asked the question: Is there flexibility?
  • I took the initiative. While working on a project that involved interacting with my future boss, I acted like a leader, was confident, was myself… and I showed her how I do things.

Those actions are each significant: showing up, expressing interest, asking for what you want, taking the initiative, and being yourself. So what did Rose mean when she said she didn’t do that much? Rose was referring to what she’s been practicing: being healthily detached from the outcome. “Once I did my part, I let go of it and trusted it would work out for the best.”

Point Toward Possibility

It’s true that sometimes you’ll have to compromise and you won’t always get what you ask for, but if you don’t ask for what you want, who will?

This Week’s Call to Action:

  • Check yourself for “in this economy” thinking. When you ask, “What can I do?” ask it creatively vs. cynically.
  • Get clear on what you want with yourself first. If you don’t allow yourself to even entertain the best-case scenario, the chances of attaining it are that much more remote.
  • Just as Rose asked, “Is there flexibility?” ask in a way that points to possibility.
  • “Be the ball.” Rose stepped into the role, and promoting her became the obvious choice.
  • Give it the right amount of effort and remain healthily detached.

“Don’t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions
and to express what you really want.”
— Don Miguel Ruiz

Here's to you,
Ginny Kravitz's signature

See Also: Detached Doesn’t Mean Dispassionate; Where Do You Put Your Trust?

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