Ask for what you want. It sounds easy, doesn’t it?
The most progressive people in this world get ahead because they go for the ask. They make unwavering moves and ask for big things – even if they are uncomfortable, nervous or down right scared of failure.
To propel forward, make some pretty crazy asks of others, and of yourself. You will stand out from the rest, earn respect for being bold and grow tremendously.
I have outlined a few concrete ways you can ask with the intention of expanding. There is a silver lining, though: ask in appropriate context and provide value. There must be a concrete reason for the ask and a value offering to the person who may give you their time, resources or support.
Brace yourself, and challenge the damn status quo.
Here are three situational ways the forward-thinker can make unapologetic asks and kill it:
1. Ask to be noticed
Introduce yourself fearlessly. There are many imagined relationships floating around. There are those we respect, are inspired by and want to learn from. There are those we find friendly, funny and simply want to get to know more. We are social creatures that crave authentic connection. This is an opportunity to create relationships that seem unattainable. Too many people are afraid to ask for a chance to be noticed. In reality, however, most people on the receiving end are flattered to be asked for advice or to go out. It shows you respect and admire them – a compliment in its purest form.
Recently, I was inspired by the words of a female executive at a billion dollar company. She wrote a piece for Forbes about navigating the tricky world of tech as a woman. I dug (deep) for her contact information, composed a thoughtful email and asked for the opportunity to get to know each other over an informational interview. The chances were slim of her responding to a cold outreach – but she did.
People appreciate hearing that they inspire you, and more often then not, they want to help. Of course, there will be people who are busy or won’t see what is in it for them. The key is to ask for something small and to provide value. Create a beautiful network of people who are inspired by your resourceful confidence in asking.
2. Ask for responsibility
Leadership and responsibility is well within your reach. Most think they need a title to take on specific responsibilities. However, you can assert yourself by asking for the role without the glory. People will be energized by your offering and selflessness. While many are quick to look for recognition or pay, you can stand out by asking for responsibility without any strings attached. More often than not, if you get a shot and kick ass, the recognition or pay will come shortly thereafter.
A successful leader recently shared a winning story with me. Early in her career, she was an assistant at a huge publication but aspired to be a media planner. A role finally opened up and although she did not have the background, she had an understanding for the role and a hell of a lot of courage. She boldly asked to prove herself by taking on the media planner responsibilities without the title or pay increase. The publication gave her a shot and she gave it her all, learning along the way.
Her big ask eventually lead to her solidifying the title, the pay and newfound growth. She expanded her career opportunities in an amazing way, all by asking for responsibility. Be humble and ask for the opportunity to learn new skills, take on leadership and grow your influence.
3. Ask for a chance at a new idea
Come out of left-field and ask for a shot at a big idea. The key to making a big ask for a chance is to demonstrate unique value and passion for the opportunity. Creativity and fervor are championed in this world. If you have a compelling idea, act on it – it’s almost hard for people to say no that kind of energy.
Innovation is hard to accomplish flying solo, which means you will need to ask for help. The best ideas ideas often require big asks of others, like getting investors onboard or convincing a peer to take on a large time commitment.
Ideas without action aren’t ideas. They’re regrets. – Steve Jobs
Let me take you back to my recent senior project. I was dissatisfied with the senior project option within my liberal arts college. I had big dreams of investing in an impactful summation of my undergraduate career – I could not let this go. Although my degree reflected otherwise, I knew I was going into business. One of my business professors is a pioneer in the field of augmented reality marketing. I kept thinking, “This excites me, this is the future, this is where I want to be now.”
With a plan, I walked into his office, sold myself and my passion for AR and asked if he would consider letting me aid in his research for my senior project. The catch – I was not in the business college and he has never taken on a student for a senior project. Nevertheless, my class performance and my passion for the subject created value that was hard to turn down.
We formed a small team, designed an academic research study on Sephora’s virtual makeup app and dedicated six months to analyzing AR marketing in retail. We recently submitted one of the first marketing papers on AR to an influential business journal. At 21 and soon-to-be published, I have learned one of the best lessons of my life: Chase wild ideas, act with passion and go for the big ask.