Stop Avoiding Your Difficult Conversations, Clean the Slate

clean slate 2In some stories, feelings change or circumstances change. Connections, employment, and friendships end with no warning. There’s no explanation. Nothing is ever said.

One woman told me a dear friend of ten years suddenly stopped calling. When she reached out to see if all was well, her calls went unreturned. She never heard from her friend again.  Years later she still feels hurt. She still wonders.   

A painting contractor told me of a long-time trusted employee who worked for him. One Sunday he called this man to review the week’s schedule. The man wasn’t available.  He didn’t call back. The contractor never heard from his employee again, even though the family confirms the man is fine.

Another woman shared that she talked with her out-of-state nephew by phone about his visiting her. One day she emailed him to confirm dates. No response. Repeated efforts to connect went nowhere. He is still at the same address and phone, but two years later she has not heard back.  She’s still hurt by the lack of response or explanation.

A young client was asked by a college friend to be her bridesmaid one year later.  She gladly said yes. Two years have passed since that day, yet my client has still not heard back from her college friend in spite of efforts to connect. She, too, wonders what happened.

On more than one occasion in my corporate career, newly hired employees didn’t show up for their first day of work. Instead, they became unreachable. They never responded to phone calls, never provided an explanation.

The stories are endless in both personal and business settings. They happen on the job. They happen with family members. They happen with friends.

In each case somebody wonders what changed. What happened? What should I do? In time, most people move on and let go, but until they do, it’s confusing, painful and stressful.

don't say nothingAnd it’s all because we’re afraid to face tough conversations. We’re afraid to “just say it.” Usually the excuse is we don’t want to create hurt feelings. But, usually, the truth is we don’t know how to say what needs to be said and we just don’t want to feel so uncomfortable.

What strikes me as so ironic is that when we avoid the conversation to avoid hurting feelings, the other person is hurt anyway. They don’t know what to think. They have no closure or explanation, and there’s no opportunity to learn to avoid a similar situation in the future.

Skipping a difficult conversation does not spare feelings! It does not avoid hurt. It simply avoids your discomfort. Take a stroll down memory lane in your life. What challenging conversations have you skipped to avoid hurting someone, or to avoid your own awkwardness.

It’s never too late to clean up mistakes or misunderstandings. Consider reaching out to people you’ve left hanging. Clean the slate. You don’t necessarily have to rekindle the relationship, though that’s an option. What’s important is saying what didn’t get said and creating closure for both you and them.

Just dive in. Have that difficult conversation you've been avoiding.

Just dive in. Have that difficult conversation you’ve been avoiding.

 

I can honestly make these recommendations because I have had these difficult conversations. I have asked hard questions when I didn’t understand someone’s silence. I have gone back and shared my perspective where I had unfinished issues. I’ve cleared things up years after there was a falling out.

And every time I face a difficult conversation, the payoff is worth it. There’s relief.  Stress vanishes. Relationships improve. Conflict diminishes. And every single time, there is some positive element of surprise.  Some bonus I didn’t expect.

Everyone benefits…but especially you! Isn’t it time YOU jumped into that difficult conversation you’ve been avoiding? Just do it!

Put on Your Big Boy Pants: Have that Tough Conversation NOW

road block

Road blocks to difficult conversations exist only in your head!

What’s stopping YOU from having the difficult conversation lurking in your head?  

Is it……?

Procrastination……Fear of rejection……Fear of anger……Embarrassment……Not knowing the way to say it……Fear of reprisal……Shoot the messenger fears……Your own discomfort…..You’re afraid you’ll be emotional……Your fear of their reaction–uh oh!……Not wanting to face the truth……You’re STILL waiting for the right moment……Your refuse to own your own your stuff..….Fear you might lose control……They should come to YOU…..Certainty that YOU’RE right……You are much too hurt……You don’t believe in talking about such things……You can’t admit you were wrong……You’re waiting for THEM to go first……You just don’t know where to begin……You tried already……You think, “Oh, it will all just blow over”……You don’t believe it will make a difference?

ostrich

Is this you?

Whatever the reason is (or reasons) for your delay, the end result is the same. Nothing and I mean NOTHING improves when you avoid an uncomfortable, difficult conversation regardless of all the excuses you make in your head.

According to J.D. Schramm in Harvard Business Review, “Often our fear of having the conversation with somebody about a sensitive subject can be worse than having the conversation itself. We put off bringing up a tough subject because we are waiting for the “perfect opportunity.”

But the uncomfortable truth, the truth we all know, is this:  there is no perfect opportunity. If we wait, the conversation will never happen.

We have to just put on our big boy pants and do it. WE need to make the first move regardless of who spoke last, or who we think is wrong, or exactly what happened, or who we think SHOULD reach out first. We need to take a breath and begin.

go sign

Follow these tips to help you get started on that difficult conversation you’re avoiding:

  1. Write out your thoughts – If time allows, write. Write how you think you’d say it, without the anger and without the judgment. Consider it brainstorming. You’ll find both things not- to-say, and things very well said. Use your writing as a guide.
  2. Make a commitment.  If you’ve been procrastinating, set a time frame. Say to yourself (or even better, to someone who will hold you accountable) I’ll have this conversation by tomorrow, two days from now, a week from now. Just set a date that is close enough to break through your procrastination.
  3. Come up with a few good openers. Make sure you have one or two good opening lines to start off the conversation. Rule of thumb is:  be real, express yourself honestly (even if you have to say you are somewhat nervous), and be direct. Get right to what you want to talk about. No beating around the bush.
  4. Keep it private. If the topic is stressful enough to qualify as a tough conversation to you, regardless of what anyone else thinks, then privacy is a must. Never begin one of these talks in earshot of others, unless they, too, are part of the conversation.
  5. Tolerate imperfection. These talks are challenging. That means they often won’t be perfect. With that in mind, congratulate yourself for facing the issue instead of judging yourself for not saying it perfectly.  Even an average job of a difficult conversation IS an accomplishment.

None of us can avoid difficult conversations in life. They are a part of life. Unless you are a hermit, you might as well begin to develop this skill now.

Instead of avoiding the conversation, you’ll avoid the drama that unexpressed issues create. Problems, misunderstanding and disagreements not brought to light, create relationship issues and ongoing stress. As Kevin O’Leary (also known as “Mr. Wonderful” from The Shark Tank), would say, “Stop the madness.” Have the conversation and the sooner you do, the easier it will be.

Don’t String Me Along

maybe notJust say “no!”

Call it a pet peeve, but it drives me crazy when people respond to my request with a “maybe” when clearly, they want to say “no.” Don’t get my hopes up with a “maybe.”

Saying maybe only delays the discomfort temporarily. Eventually, they will still have to say “no.” The delay of the inevitable, the avoidance, the bs answer only makes it more difficult.

Everyone asking for help, extending an invite or making a request is well aware they may be turned down. And though none of us like that rejection, it does go with the territory.  We don’t get everything we ask for.

The inability to decline a request only complicates things. Being turned down is acceptable. Maybe not our preference, but certainly acceptable and manageable.

Being told “Maybe…maybe I’ll make it. Maybe I can do that for you. Maybe I’ll be there” when it’s obvious that won’t happen is frustrating. It keeps us hopeful. It keeps us waiting and thinking our invite might actually be accepted.

Eventually we have to step up and take personal responsibility.  We need to communicate directly and use common courtesy. The other person is waiting on our response, planning around our possible “yes.” Often in their minds, it’s as if we already said “yes.”

When we are asked to attend a meeting or help with a project or offer support that we either cannot or do not want to do, we have to say so. Preferably right then and there. On the spot.

If you know the moment you’re asked for help that you aren’t available (or interested), say it. Say “no” in whatever form suits the situation. Whether it’s a family member, a neighbor, a close friend or a colleague, your response can be the same.

The way to say it should sound something like:

  • “No thank you, I’m not going to be able to help with that.”
  • “No, I’m sorry. It’s not possible this time.”
  • “No, I wish I could help but I’m already committed.”
  • “No, thanks for asking but I’m overwhelmed with commitments at the moment.”
  • “No. I appreciate the offer but that’s just not my thing.”
  • “No, I’m not going to be able to help you out.”
  • “Sorry to disappoint you, but I can’t make it.”
  • “Thanks for thinking of me but I won’t be able to join you.”
  • “You know, I appreciate the invite, but I’ve done that and it’s just not for me.”

Guidelines for turning down a request look like this:

1.     Don’t hesitate.
2.     Keep it short.
3.     Don’t explain.vote maybe
4.     Leave no doubt.
5.     Be courteous.

Essentially, keep it simple. Tell the truth and be sure you were understood.

Don’t say “maybe” when you mean “no.” You’ll save time. Avoid prolonged discomfort. Eliminate their wondering and no longer be chased for your answer. No one likes to be strung along. No one wants to wait and wonder. Without answers, it’s difficult to plan.

Next time someone in your life makes a request, asks a favor, or shares an invite, give your honest answer. Say it clearly, courteously and with grace, but say it.

Seven Tips on How to Share Your Ideas So Your Boss Will Hear You

skeptical attitudeThe bosses and business owners I talk to all agree on this issue. They want their employees to offer solutions, not just problems. But that doesn’t mean off-the-cuff ideas that have not been thought through or prepared.

Here’s the way to say it soyou’ll know how to deliver your suggestions with the problem you’re addressing:

Be confident, not apologetic – This especially applies to women who can be too apologetic. When presenting your ideas your boss wants to see YOU believe in them, otherwise why should he?

Be concise, not detailed – Your boss will let you know if she wants detail after hearing your suggestions

Be prepared, not off the cuff – In order to be heard, taken seriously and not be viewed as a time- waster, you must have your thoughts in order. Organize yourself. Anticipate questions and be prepared to address them.

Be responsible, not a blamer – Should your solution require talk of the problem in detail, make sure you don’t throw others under the bus. This will only hurt how YOU are viewed.

Be transparent, not manipulative – Good chance your boss is savvy enough to read through manipulation, if not at that moment then further down the line.  Manipulative behaviors will damage your credibility. Not worth the risk.

Be neutral in tone, not dramatic – When reviewing problems, leave the theatrics for Hollywood. It won’t help your case. Just report the facts, the situation and address them.

Be respectful of time, not self-absorbed – Don’t let your opportunity for time with the boss turn into an all-about-me session.  If you do, there won’t likely be much time for you in the future.

listeningConsider implementing these approaches when you deliver your next problem…and its solutions, of course. It will go a long way in your boss valuing your input and not seeing you as part of the problem too!

P.S. Don’t forget to offer more than one workable solution for consideration!

Why Difficult Conversations Require a Balance of Honesty AND Kindness

got balance

The strongest relationships weather storms. They deal with conflict, disagreement. They aren’t always pretty, but they are always real.

Healthy conversations are the same. Truly healthy conversations are based on honesty AND kindness, not one or the other.  Like a chair with a missing leg, conversations that don’t value both characteristics are bound to collapse at some point. Healthy conversations cannot exist without the weaving of both honesty and kindness into them.

With only kindness, our conversations  avoid issues.  Anything that might cause pain, discomfort, hurt feelings, anger or conflict will be skipped in an effort to be kind above all else.

The moment kindness trumps truth, we pay a price. Every bit of information that appears “not nice” gets sugar-coated, or toned down, or simply censored altogether.  Such watered-down communications are inauthentic, too worried about sensitivities. Like the famous line in the movie, Top Gun, we “can’t handle the truth!” Waving the flag of kindness, we gloss over  anything that might cause the smallest blip.

But everyone pays a price when the hard truth is avoided. Communication floats over the surface. It avoids. Conversations based only on kindness are weak, filtered, and rarely very truthful, entirely avoiding what matters most.

The reverse is also true. Honest conversations that lack kindness are just as unbalanced and ineffective, but to the other extreme.

Conversations that value ONLY honesty have the potential to be brutal, hurtful and insensitive to feelings.  In my head I still hear my dad bellowing, “Well, I have to be honest!” as license to voice his opinions thoughtlessly as if honesty made it ok. It didn’t. It always hurt.

honesty kindness

Honesty and kindness need to be married into conversation to create healthy communications.

Together, the pair is powerful.  By speaking the truth we express what matters, what’s real. We get to issues. We have the opportunity to work through the awkwardness, the difficulty and come to understanding.

It isn’t always pretty or comfy but delivering communications with kindness AND honesty means we will not sidestep an issue. We will not ignore the truth simply because it might be upsetting.

What we will do, however, is opt to speak truthfully AND graciously with awareness.  Awareness of how it might sound and feel.  We’ll speak our words truthfully AND with thought.

By being honest, we face challenges and gain understanding.

By being kind, we deliver our communications thoughtfully and with awareness.

Combining the two qualities in the office and at home that takes practice and commitment. It takes courage to always speak the truth, knowing it might be difficult to hear.  Knowing it will feel great when we’re through the conversation encourages us to speak up. It’s a great motivator.

Do you struggle more with the “being honest” part of healthy conversations? Or is your challenge being sensitive and aware of others’ feelings?  Not sure? Just ask someone close to you. I promise, they’ll know and if you ask, they’ll tell you. Let me know you’re out there, tell me what you think. Agree or disagree?

 

Reduce Drama with Six Boundary-Setting Statements

draw line in the sand

Boundaries are lines in the sand. Verbal ones that we draw by telling other people how to treat us or what we find acceptable or even what behaviors we’ll tolerate.

But if we neglect to open our mouths, to speak up, to state our preferences, then others just assume anything goes. They have no reason to think otherwise.

Without meaning to, the absence of boundaries says, “Eh…it doesn’t matter. I have no limits. It’s all good! Whatever YOU decide about how to treat me is fine with me.”

Now, I get you aren’t actually SAYING those words, but saying NOTHING creates that affect.

Can you see where I’m going with this? Once again it comes back to speaking up. It comes back to the way to say it . I get that it isn’t easy to be direct and assertive, but mind-reading is not an effective alternative.

Nor is assuming others know what we want. Or assuming that they want the same things we do.

What if you had some go-to phrases to whip out when you need to stop someone in their tracks? Before it’s too late! Before there’s tension and resentment.

Stopping someone before they cross a line or before they assume they know what you want is much easier than backtracking and having a clean-up conversation.

what to say

Here are a few of my go-to boundary setters:

“Before we get too far, can you tell me what your plans are for this project?”

“You know, it doesn’t seem my feelings are being taken into account. Let’s talk about this before things progress any further?”

“It’s really important to me that ____________ (fill in the blank). Are we on the same page with that?”

“I certainly respect your needs. I’d like to talk about this to make sure my needs are being met too.”

“I tend to be direct to avoid problems down the road. Let’s compare plans and make sure we’re in agreement.”

“This isn’t really what I had in mind. Can you tell me what you’re thinking so I can be sure we agree?”

 

One of the real pros about saying things upfront is this:  you avoid future drama! Pre-empting is a great strategy.

Here’s why. Speaking up before there’s tension may be uncomfortable. But it won’t be anything worse than that…a bit uncomfortable…because nothing bad has happened yet.

When we speak up in advance, everyone is still on neutral ground. There’s no tone or  negativity or resentment. Not yet. Because all we’re doing is inquiring or checking in to make sure those involved in the issue or project are seeing things, planning things, taking action with the same point of view.

The stress, tension and resentment avoided this way is huge. All that’s needed is to develop a habit of saying to yourself in the moment, “I had better check now. I had better ask now. It will be so much easier to just ask now and avoid the possibility of drama and conflict later.”drama free black bakcground

Wanna reduce the drama in your life, your office? Start here with boundaries.  Set them BEFORE things go sideways. We’ll talk another day about boundary setting AFTER the fact in the midst of tension and drama.

As my neighbor says to her three and six-year old boys, “Use your words.” I can’t think of better advice to share.

What are “your words” for boundary setting?  I’d love to hear how you set boundaries at the office or home. Can’t have too many good responses to avoid drama!

49 Difficult Conversations: Which Ones Are You Avoiding?….Or Don’t You Want to Talk About It?

Difficult conversations. Life is full of them. More often than not people avoid them. They are uncomfortable. Embarrassing. Wrought with tension. They can be emotional. Are almost always awkward and well, they are just plain difficult.

There are numerous books about difficult conversations at home or with the boss or in relationships. It’s because unfortunately we really can’t move through life without encountering the need for difficult conversations.

crucial conversationsRather than avoid them, however, a more successful response is to simply dive into them. It reminds me of the expression, “the only way out is through.” Postponing and putting off these talks accomplishes nothing. The procrastination only intensifies the dread. The tensions mount and discomfort builds.

Nope. I’m not a believer in walking away. After years of coaching individuals in business and personal situations, not to mention my own share of challenging experiences, I’m certain it’s best to take a breath and lean into the awkwardness. Once begun, the conversations actually become easier than we expect. Half the battle is forging THROUGH the trepidation to just start. Kind of like Nike’s motto, “Just Do It.”

A difficult conversation is the need to address any subject or issue that creates the following:difficult conversations

  • Desire to run the other direction
  • Hope the circumstances will simply go away
  • Feeling of dread and anxiety even thinking of “talking it out”
  • Concern about “the way to say it”
  • Feeling of awkwardness when faced with the situation
  • Fear of saying it all wrong
  • Potential for drama, hurt feelings and emotional reactions

Here is a comprehensive, though not exhaustive, list of 49 topics most experts agree fall into the “difficult conversations” category:

1.       Asking for a raise

2.       Terminating an employee

3.       Resigning without burning bridges

4.       Breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend

5.       Ending a friendship

6.       Reminding a friend they owe you money

7.       Saying no to someone’s request for help, money, etc.

8.       Talking to loved ones about their end-of-life wishes

9.       Turning down an invite or opportunity that’s of no interest

10.   Bidding on a home or piece of real estate

11.   Refusing to compromise on a principle

12.   Expressing dissatisfaction with an employee’s attitude or work

13.   Cancelling a commitment

14.   Letting someone know you aren’t interested in developing a social relationship with them

15.   Expressing anger when someone violates a boundary

16.   Standing up to people who take advantage

17.   Apologizing for a mistake

18.   Delivering a poor performance review

19.   Negotiating a salary package

20.   Asking for a refund

21.   Accepting a gift you don’t like

22.   Expressing disagreement during conflict

23.   Speaking up when no one agrees with you

24.   Admitting an affair or indiscretion to your spouse

25.   Pointing out the flaws of a new plan or program at work

26.   Letting your friend know their new boy/girl friend is a loser

27.   Telling your spouse you overextended the family financially

28.   Confronting emotional or physical abuse

29.   Negotiating prices on services for your home

30.   Telling your parents you are going to break with family traditions

31.   Talking to your kids about sex

32.   Confronting your kids about drug use

33.   Telling your spouse you suspect them of  infidelity

34.   Talking to the police in confrontational situations

35.   Handling employee complaints

36.   Addressing inappropriate dress, language or hygiene in the workplace

37.   Confronting second-hand insults and comments

38.   Telling an employee they spend too much time on personal emails at work

39.   Drawing a line in the sand about behavior you’ll accept in a relationship

40.   Owning your mistakes in a relationship

41.   Making intimate requests of your spouse

42.   Telling your spouse you’re leaving, you want a divorce

43.   Confronting someone of suspected misconduct, theft or lying

44.   Giving honest feedback on work poorly done

45.   Facing your partner after a particularly ugly, out-of-control argument

46.   Apologizing for a deeply hurtful comment

47.   Telling your children you and your spouse are divorcing

48.   Talking with your spouse through the divorce process

49.   Sharing bad information with a client

Actually, the topic itself is less important in making it a tough conversation. What matters most is YOUR feeling about having that conversation.  If the mere thought of it brings up the anxiety and dread mentioned above, then for you it’s a difficult conversation and you might seek out some support to face it and get it behind you.

ostrichTell me, when do you stick your head in the sand instead of speak up? What topics do you avoid even though you know deep down the talk needs having?  I’d like to add your dreaded conversations to this for a future post. What are some of your most difficult conversations?

…..or don’t you want to talk about it?

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Office Talk: Ten Changes to Make Now

watch your mouth

 To immediately improve your communications at home and in the office, make these “don’ts” rules to live by.

Don’t begin sentences with “honestly, truthfully, frankly, or to be honest.”  Doing so implies that what you said before might not be honest. If you are honest in your communications, you will never need to say so. Your words will speak for themselves.

 

Avoid adding “but” between sentences. Use “and” instead. “But” negates everything you said before it.

 

Don’t use absolutes like “you always” or “you never.”  It’s rarely true and doing so exaggerates, quickly making people defensive.

 

Don’t let your tone and body language contradict each other. Get all aspects of yourself in line. If your tone is carries a different meaning than your choice of words, your listener will always go with the tone.

 

Don’t be a steam roller  OR  a pushover.  Neither extreme is effective in business or in relationships. Find a balance of being firm and assertive, while also being open and flexible.

 

Don’t “collect stamps” saving up old “wrongs” to use later as surprise attacks in conversation. Deal with issues when they occur. Don’t collect them for later. Stuffing issues only makes them fester and expand.

 

Don’t beat around the bush. Good communications can be challenging enough. Don’t complicate things by beating around the bush and making your listener work to figure out what your words mean.  Just get to the point with direct, clear statements.

 

Don’t deliver your feedback and bad news in a “sandwich” surrounded by positive words. Combining good and bad news as a sandwich is confusing and misses the point. If you have bad news to deliver, or negative feedback, speak up. Be honest and straight so your listener can hear the real message. 

 

Don’t come in guns blazing without thinking through your intentions and approach for a difficult conversation. Especially when the news is hard to hear, be sure you don’t just shoot from the hip unprepared. Think things through….then speak.

 

Don’t say “You  made me feel……..”  When sharing your feelings, own them. Don’t shift your feelings to be someone else’s responsibility. Start your sentences with “I”, not “you.” 

 

Making these simple changes in your conversations will have an immediate impact. Your listener will feel more at ease and you’ll find the entire communication easier, and less tense.

Give it a shot…try a few of these and then let me know in “comments” how your next difficult conversation goes using all or any of these rules. After you’ve mastered these rules, share them with your department and watch communications improve for everyone!

Can’t Say “No?”

n n n nI have a serious question. How can we expect children to say “no” when we as adults struggle to say it ourselves?

We see it everywhere. Parents caving in to their children’s wishes, even after they already said “no.” It might be a request to buy something or to get an ice cream before dinner or to go to a friend’s house. It’s just easier to give in than to turn down a child’s request because deep down most parents want their children to be happy, protected from life’s disappointments.

But here is the dilemma. How can children be prepared to say “no” to peer pressure, to difficult choices, and to experimentation, when what they see all around them are adults who cave into pressure, insistence, wining and their own need to be liked.

I grew up in a time when parents frequently said, “Do as I say, not as I do.” We all know that approach doesn’t work because children copy what is modeled for them. Especially when we tell them not to.

If the majority of the time children observe adults unable to say no……to little requests…to family members who take advantage, to a neighbor who always needs help,  to a committee asking for more volunteer time, then how in hell can those kids learn to say “no” for themselves? How can kids learn to be strong and resist peer pressure? How can they learn to honor their bodies, their time, and their feelings,….. if instead they see it’s easier to just give in?

Children repeat what they see, becoming “people-pleasers” and saying yes to fit in, to be liked, and to be popular. How can we blame them?  They are simply modeling what they saw.

That’s a scary thought.

That two-letter word some adults just can’t seem to spit out just creates children who will struggle with “no” as well.

Children face lots of tests in school, on the playground, with friends and on social media. To safely navigate their way through these challenges, they must be comfortable with the word no. It must be a normal part of life and part of their vocabulary.  We want children to say no to peer pressure, to drugs, to breaking rules, to activities that might put their well-being at risk, to being inappropriately touched.girl hand no

To do so, they must be empowered to stand up for themselves. But they won’t be as long as they don’t see, experience and observe that behavior. Learning to say “no” comes directly from hearing “no” as an answer ourselves.

Are you good at saying “no” when appropriate?

Do you turn down invites you don’t want to attend?

Do you say no to unreasonable requests?

Do you say no when it makes you unpopular?

Do you say no when it disappoints someone?

Whatever struggles you have saying no will show up in your kids.

It’s never too late to begin using this powerful two-letter word.

Children need to develop a strong sense of self, confidence, and comfort with the word “no” so that when the time comes, that little word will roll right off their lips.

Stay tuned for more on this two-letter word and how to get comfortable with it in upcoming blogs.

Stop Being Being a Scaredy Cat….Just Ask

afraid to ask

What is it? What is so hard about asking questions? Is it simply fear of not getting the wanted response? Or fear of what others may think of us for asking?

Here are some thoughts to reframe how you think about asking and reduce any hesitation you might have. “Asking” includes asking for favors, for help, for clarity, for a raise, or even just asking a question because you are curious.

cats you go first

There’s no harm in asking.

Always ask. There is no harm in asking. Whether it’s for a letter of reference or for help carrying files from your office to the car, it makes sense to ask for help. Most people are helpful by nature but may be distracted or unaware of what you need. A simple direct request for help is easily fulfilled more often than not.

Know there’s no guarantee.   If You Wanna Win, You Gotta Play. It’s like the lottery. You might not win when you play, but you certainly will not win if you don’t.  When you ask something of another, be prepared.  You may get turned down. They may say no. But the simple fact that you asked for what you need, immediately raises your chances of getting it. Now they know what you want. Take a shot. Your odds certainly improved by asking. Few people are good at mind reading! Just ask.

Keep Your Energy Unattached. If you make your request from an unattached and neutral place, you’ll be ready to deal with either response, a “yes” or a “no.” You will also know it’s ok either way. One prerequisite for asking is accepting this rule as truth:

 EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO SAY “NO” TO YOUR REQUEST,

EVEN WITHOUT OFFERING A REASON.

Deliver Your Message with Clear Intent. When making a request, check yourself. Be certain you’re good-spirited, direct, and clear about what you’re asking. Know in advance what you would like and how best to ask for it without demand, powerlessness, or expectation. Regardless of the response you get, be sure to express gratitude for their consideration.

There are many gifts to adopting this way of thinking. One is the number of times others will step up and provide exactly what you need. Another gift of the process is that by freeing up your mind to always ask and to accept a yes as well as a no, you will realize the process works in reverse, too.

You will be able to graciously receive requests from others, because you too are free to say “no” just as they are.  It’s a win-win mind shift.

Begin asking for what you need rather than hoping others will figure it out, or feeling victimized and powerless because they don’t. The difference between hoping and waiting vs. asking and knowing is powerful.  I can’t wait to hear your experiences!