I believe that most complicated issues actually have very simple solutions. But because the simple solution is not easy or comfortable, we dismiss it and create all kinds of other distractions for ourselves. And then we stay stuck. (I do this all the time.)
After working with over 150 people with their personal finances over the year, I’ve come to notice something. Money challenges are typically a symptom of something else that lives just below the surface.
One of the BIGGEST reasons we struggle with money is not because the money isn’t there. It’s everywhere. It’s because we simply are too afraid to ask for what we know will bring it in.
How do you feel when you have to ask for money? How do you feel when you have to ask for what you really really want? How many doors have remained shut for you simply because of the underlying fear of asking for what you want?
One of the very first “self-help” books I ever read was called The Aladdin Factor. In fact, I recently took it off my bookshelf. the pages dusty and yellow, after realizing that I was facing a major roadblock in growing my practice. After flipping through the pages, I realized I’d come full circle.
Here I was 10 years later, going back to the basics. I wasn’t getting what I wanted because I was too afraid to ask for it.
If you struggle in this area, you might be afraid of asking because…
You don’t feel like you deserve it
You don’t feel worthy
You feel like you’re being selfish
You feel like you’re going to owe somebody something
You don’t want to give someone else power over you (since they can say no)
You don’t want to get hurt
You don’t want to depend on anyone
The list goes on.
But at the core of the fear is this; If you ask, that means you are interacting with another human being. And deep down, you’re afraid of what that person is going to think about you when you ask.
So here’s some strategies I use when I get all nervous about asking for something. Especially when I know that what I’m looking for is right on the other side of “The Ask.”
These are some guidelines I share with clients when they’re right on the brink of making their big ask. (Either for a new job, a promotion, a salary negotiation, asking for the sale, asking for new clients, asking for a payment plan, getting a new home, or asking for their spouse or partner to help.)
- Remain detached from the outcome. This is a really subtle shift but it works wonders. Before you ask, make sure that you know deep down you will be okay if you get the answer you are looking for or not. This doesn’t mean going in expecting a no. It just means you accept that you’ll be fine with whatever answer, even after you push for what you want.
- Get some perspective. Sometimes asking seems so daunting because we only have ONE option in front of us. One person to ask. One job opportunity. One potential client. And that is simply not true. You can always ask more people and there will always be other opportunities. Abundant thinking says: there’s more than enough ways for me to create what I want. That way you don’t have to fixate on what’s right in front of you. You can just move on to the next.
- Use humor. The best requests are made in jest. I’m all about not taking things TOO seriously and using humor whenever I can. Try to laugh – it breaks up the seriousness of your request and it puts the other person at ease. You may get what you’re looking for and you may not. But make a commitment to have fun with the process of asking. It makes it so much easier.
- Watch how YOU handle requests. This is a big one. So, I realized quite recently that one of the reasons I don’t ask enough is because I assume that I am annoying people or bothering them if I ask for something. Then I started to watch myself when someone would ask me for something. And sure enough, I would get annoyed or bothered sometimes when people would make a request. No wonder I was assuming people would be annoyed by me! I get annoyed!
- It’s not personal. We bring SO much extra crap to the table when asking. So much extra meaning that doesn’t really exist. We think: they don’t like us, they’re gonna think we’re greedy, selfish, they must think we’re not good enough. etc. But a request is just an invitation for the other party to say yes or no. And more often than not, their answer has nothing to do with you. When I ask and get a no (which is often… I am in business for myself after all), I remind myself that it’s not about me, I breathe and move on.
So take a hard look at your finances. What would change in your financial life if you simply asked for what you wanted? If you made a phone call to inquire about a payment plan? If you asked for that promotion? If you countered-offered and negotiated a higher salary? If you asked for referrals? More clients? Help when you’re feeling overwhelmed?
And definitely check out this book, the Aladdin Factor. It’s cheesy but a great reminder that everything you want is on the other side of The Ask.