There are a lot of folks out there who don’t ask enough of life. Are you one of them?
Let me explain. What I’m pointing to is summarized in the old saying, “Ask and you will receive.” Now, for many of us as we grew into adults, we’ve asked and NOT received so often that we’ve quit asking UNLESS we’re pretty darn sure we will receive.
So, our requesting muscle has atrophied.
How many times have you heard from others or yourself, something like this:
“Oh, I could never ask him/her to do that?” Or, “What’s the point in asking. He/She’ll just say, ‘no.'” Etc. Etc.
One of my spiritual teachers, Edwine Gaines, used to say and I paraphrase — “Ask for what you want and be responsible for what you get.”
Now, truth be told, many of us don’t know what we want or what will really serve us. That’s where knowing your true life purpose can be so helpful because it helps focus our intentions. We then ‘want’ what will help us live true to our Divinely Inspired Life Purpose.
But, even when we know what we want, many times we fail to ask for it because we’re stopped by our Inherited Purpose.
When Fear Freezes the Asking Machine
Let’s say that part of your Inherited Purpose is that you always have to do the right thing for everyone else so that you’ll be liked. Well, then it’s likely that you’ll not ask for what you need if there’s any chance that it will result in the other person not liking you.
Or let’s say your fear-based Inherited Purpose says you have to always be smart and know all the answers. (yep, that part of mine), then you’re unlikely to ask if the asking would in anyway make you look ‘not smart’ which equals ‘stupid.’ And yes, asking for directions can be a real challenge for me if I’m coming from my Inherited Purpose.
Moving from Complaining to Requesting
When we get used to not asking for what we want or need, we often substitute complaining about life instead, but it’s complaining with no commitment to anything other than to how unfair life is. IE, complaining for complaining sake.
But it is possible to move beyond this kind of complaining using the tool of requesting, and when we do we’ll start to see results in our lives…often results that we didn’t expect.
For example, I recently experienced a hard drive crash with my MacBook and unfortunately had failed to back up for several months. (I shared about that last week.) I needed to see if I could economically recover the unsaved data from the hard drive, but according to the Apple dealership, they had to either ship the hard drive back to the factory within 3-4 days or I could buy back the broken hard drive.
Well, that made no sense to me. In my world, the Apple policy was unreasonable and only added additional stress to an already stressful situation, so after complaining for a bit to the dealership and then realizing they didn’t set the policy, I asked for the number to Apple Customer Service.
I also realized that under my complaint was a request, which was that Apple change their policy or grant me an exception to it.
I started the conversation like this: “Hi, I’m a long time satisfied Apple and Macintosh customer. I even have one of the first one thousand Macintoshes to come off the assembly line down in my basement. I’ve used your product for decades and will continue to do so, but I’ve recently have come across an Apple policy that seems to make no sense and doesn’t serve the customer.”
I then went on to explain my situation, and asked that they pass along to the ‘powers that be’ that the policy be reviewed and if possible changed to better serve the customer.
While I didn’t get the policy turned around on the spot, I did learn that I had more time than I’d originally been told, and at the end of the conversation I received a very unexpected yet appreciated result from the Customer Service Rep, who said:
“Mr. Swift, I understand how stressful the loss of your data has been and you’ve been most helpful in pointing out a policy for us to review. I’d like to help reduce your stress by sending you a new product of ours that allows for automatic back ups so this won’t be an issue in the future. It’s called a Time Capsule and if you’re on the internet now, I can show you how it works…”
We really don’t know what we might get when we ask for what we want and are willing to be responsible for what we get.
So, if you’re a 98 pound weakling when it comes to making request, here’s a fun and challenging exercise that will start building your requesting muscles in several ways.
Play a game this week to make at least 10 requests of different people without expecting a yes. In fact, you’re actually looking for a no. The more ‘no’s’ you get the more points you score. Got it?
Here’s the one rule. Only make requests that you are willing to honor if you get a yes, or a counter offer that works for you.
You might not want to ask a total stranger out on a date, not if you’d be unwilling to go out with him or her if they said yes.
On the other hand, you might ask them to come to your place over the weekend and wash and wax your car. Remember, you’re actually looking for no’s. And any yes’s you get can be a lot of fun as well.
My Challenge to You
I’m throwing down the gallant one more time and challenging you (which is its own form of a request) to play full out on this ‘coaching assignment’ AND then share your results and what you learn from it with me here on the Living & Working On Purpose Blog.
Now, come on guys and gals. You’ve been way too quiet lately. Remember, living on purpose is about transforming and enhancing your life but it really helps to be in ACTION, not just sitting in the stands. If 10 requests feel like too much start with 5 — that’s less than one per day.
Have fun and let me hear from you.