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The Power of Asking

“Ye Have Not, Because Ye Ask Not.” -Matthew 7:7

For the past few weeks, I’ve been following a series of homework assignments provided by Julien Smith on his In Over Your Head blog.

Every Friday, Julien offers a challenge to his readers in an effort to spur them on towards greater creative thinking and increased productivity.

Here’s an excerpt from the first assignment:

This weekend’s homework is to negotiate for something you are not allowed to negotiate for.You don’t need to win. You only need to try. It can be as simple as ordering a coffee and saying “oops, I only have $2″ instead of the $2.25 that’s needed. But if you’re going for a major purchase, try it there too. Another way to do this is to bargain on side aspects of the purchase instead of the previous one. “Can I get it for $200, tax in?” or “Can you throw in a free USB cable?” are both good templates to use. Try either, or both. Use whatever tactics you think are necessary. The point isn’t to pay less, though– it’s to push through the anxiety of breaking social norms.

Last night, I was presented with the perfect opportunity to try this.

My wife and I were on a date night. We headed to Hollywood to catch some improv comedy at the Second City Theatre. Parking was scarce. Our only option was a $10 lot near the Theatre. As we were pulling in, I told my wife about Justin’s assignment and said I was going to ask for a discount. She started giggling uncontrollably at the idea and I begged her to at least keep a straight face while I asked the parking attendant for a deal. “We’re on our way to Second City. Is there a special parking rate?” The attendant hesitated and then replied “Sure. I’ll give you a special rate. $5 dollars. How does that sound?” I gave him $5 and we parked for half the price. My wife was shocked! All she could say was “unbelievable” as she laughed for a solid two minutes.

Here’s today’s two cents:

Ask for the favor, ask for the shout-out, ask for the deal, ask for the opportunity, ask for the date. Whatever it is, just ask.

Use tact. Be timely. Build rapport. Show kindness. And ASK!

Asking is NOT a substitute for doing your work, BUT asking for what you need CAN help you advance your work to the next level. It’s a way of giving yourself a chance to participate in opportunities that may never otherwise appear.

You wont always get a “yes”, but with each request you’ll become more comfortable with the idea that your options are greater than what you’ve been told.

There is ALWAYS a hidden bargain or an unannounced prospect waiting to be uncovered by an inquiring mind.

Don’t wait for the world to advertise your possibilities. Take the initiative and ask.


T.K. Coleman

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. I love the idea that my options are greater than I’ve been told. Asking for what I want/need even when it’s within social norms has always been difficult for me. Thanks, T.K., for putting the challenge to me to jump in there and ask. 🙂

    1. It’s been difficult for me too, Audrey. One of the reasons my wife laughed so hard is because we hardly ever do things like that. But that’s all beginning to change as we practice challenging ourselves like this more often. So, you’re not alone. We’re jumping in there and asking right with you 🙂

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