Happy Sunday dear ones!
This week’s newsletter is about something that took me years to properly understand – there is endless power in asking for what you want! The longer version of this piece appeared in Greatist this week. And asking to buy someone a latte is a one of the best questions I have learned to ask!
Until recent years I had not consciously understood the magical power of asking. It was only upon deep reflection after turning 30 that I realized there was a common thread amongst the attainment of a lot of my dreams. Throughout the years I have made myself vulnerable and asked for what I wanted. Anyone can learn how to do this more frequently and more effectively. If you are giving of your heart, time and talent, have big dreams and are not afraid to take action – anything is possible. I believe that your life’s path can truly come down to a few defining moments and a handful of important questions.
Here are 5 questions that have changed the course and quality of my life.
“Would you like to take my phone number?”
In my twenties I was living in Sydney and going out a lot like any single girl. One night before Christmas, my friend and I went to a local concert. I spotted a tall, handsome fellow in the crowd and was pleased when we got pushed together and started chatting. He made me laugh. He seemed very genuine and warm. Before my friend and I left, I asked him, “why don’t you take my number?” And he did. And he called the next day. We celebrated 5 years of marriage this year.
“Could we please talk about my salary?”
My first full time job was as a recruitment consultant and I saw the behind the scenes of a lot salary negotiations. I also understood how replacing a high performer was extremely time-consuming and expensive. As a result I understood my value as a hard-working, high-output employee. Since then I have negotiated every salary from role to role and each time that I had increased responsibility and/or a good amount of success in my position. This really helped set me up financially in my twenties, ensured I never complained about my paycheck and that I earned the same (if not, perhaps more) than some of my male counterparts. Remember this… if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.
“May I buy you a coffee?”
When I was 25 I arrived in New York with no connections, no network and in desperate need of a job. I asked peripheral connections (largely people I met through the LinkedIn introductions I requested) for a coffee and to share market information. 25 lattes and a couple of months later, I had 2 awesome job offers within the online advertising industry and accepted the highest paying. This kick-started my Manhattan network, one that has grown exponentially over time. Remember – always be a connector for other people when you can.
Can I write for you?
You create opportunities by asking for them. I wanted to write for the online publications that I love to read and so I approached a lot of them and pitched my ideas. As a result I am thrilled to have had my work published in many cool media outlets and to have had the opportunity to interview the likes of Arianna Huffington, Kris Jenner and Kelly Osbourne. In my sales career I learned this awesome formula: qualified activity x volume = conversion. If you are asking decision makers often enough (and approach them with thoughtful, considered ideas), the results you want will eventually come. Always be asking!
“What do I really, really want?”
As Rumi said, “what you seek is seeking you.”
I come back to this question a lot. When was the last time you paused and asked yourself what you really want? You don’t have to go with the flow. You don’t have to satisfy other people’s expectations of you. I have had a few course corrects in my life (an early divorce, some necessary partying pauses, an unfulfilling yet hard-to-leave-because-it-was-lucrative corporate career). I come back to myself when I need to and ask, “what do I really want?” and allow my intuition and desires to guide me. Ask yourself what you want and the job/relationship/city/fill in the blank will materialize in your mind.
Then you just gotta give yourself permission to pursue it, take a breath, and ask.
Please tell me … what is a really important question that you have asked in your life? Or a question that you really want to ask?