If there is one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that you will NEVER get what you don’t ask for. I think we are raised to believe that we get and accept what’s given to us. We are taught this from a young age. I think of the saying my own kids picked up at their dad “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit”. It’s bred into us that we shouldn’t ask for more, because the answer will always be “no”.
So we find ourselves as adults accepting what is given to us. Taking the hand we are dealt and either trying to make something of it the best we can, or just quietly dealing with it. Or maybe we aren’t so quiet about it. Maybe we bitch and complain about how bad our life is because “no one ever gives me anything“. Trust me I believe in working hard for what you want, it’s how I was raised and it’s in my blood. But somehow the message that I should just accept crap and pretend it’s diamonds, that message I missed. Or refused to digest.
That’s not to suggest that I didn’t go through a huge portion of my life complaining about how unlucky I was because I definitely lived in that self pity cesspool for the majority of my twenties. But I realized over the past few years that I stopped just being satisfied with what was offered, and started asserting myself and asking for what I actually wanted. No place has this been more evident than in my career.
You will never get what you don’t ask for in business. Never. No one is just going to walk up to you and say “Hi Mr. janitor would you like to be a VP and make $200,000 more than your making today?” I can confidently say that with NEVER happen. The only way you will advance your career is by aggressively seeking advancement and making your goals and ambitions clear. I look at the path my career has taken the past few years, each stage of advancement that has occurred came about entirely because I asked for it. I made my wishes, goals and desires known, and then I worked my butt off to prove my worth.
But the same is true in all aspects of life. Think about what you really want, and then think about what’s been holding you back. Did you ever ask for it? What’s the worst thing you can hear? “No.” That’s the worst thing right? So go into it telling yourself “I will NEVER get it if I don’t ask, but I very well might if I do”. So what is there to lose? Without asking the answer is already “no” correct?
I use this philosophy in life ever single day. I call it throwing spaghetti at a wall. I do it ever single day of my life. I do it when I cold call clients at work, I do it when I write to Oprah and her producers that she should give me a show on OWN (no seriously I do this!), I do it when I market my book and story. I obviously strategically pick my target, but I always cast a wide net. I don’t for instance write to just Oprah. I write to every producer on her staff. I don’t just write one long-ass email, I get creative. Will she ever respond and get me a show? Who knows, the odds are not in my favor. Why doesn’t that stop me? Because if I DON’T do that, I will NEVER in the history of the world get a show on OWN! So if I currently don’t have one, and if I won’t get one by not being on her radar, than why wouldn’t I at least try to get on her radar? OK maybe this is an extreme example and I might very well be delusional, but the chances are much higher that something will come about one day because I was there when all the tides turned my way. I had been putting in the work.
This is true in everything I do. It’s all a numbers game. The numbers will always win in the end. If I do my part which is the “hustle”, if I consistently put my request out there then eventually I will get a “yes”. In my corporate job this happens daily. I prospect probably 30-40 executives a day, with the goal of getting a handful of initial responses. I don’t set myself up for failure thinking that even half will respond with a yes, but I do know that the more people I prospect the more “yes’s” I will get. It’s basic math.
So if there is something that keeps holding you back in your life, whether it’s related to your career or your big life dream, whatever it is… ask yourself “have I asked for it yet? Am I attacking it hard enough that EVENTUALLY I will get a yes?” Because you WILL if you keep at it, the numbers alone prove this. In sales this happens all the time, where you will have done everything you need to do and your buyer will be ready to purchase your product, but if you don’t ask for the business chances are you will lose it. No buyer wants to be like “so hey, can I buy this yet?” It’s much more comfortable for them to be asked the question and then respond. And if the answer is “no” then hey at least now you know where you stand.
So keep going after it, every single day of your life. Until you begin to hear more yes’s than “no’s” and trust me, you will get to that day. And it feels pretty damn good I gotta tell you. Remember, confidence is the key to success in anything you do. If you don’t believe in you and your vision why on earth should anyone else?
Dedication, perseverance, consistency, passion and hustle will get you were you want to go every time.