If you don’t ask, you don’t know

If you don’t ask, you don’t know
“You’ve got to ask. Asking is, in my opinion, the world’s most powerful and neglected secret to success and happiness.”
~Percy Ross

Recently a client was complaining to me about her current job. She felt underutilized, unfulfilled, and less than engaged. Yet she adored the company, and wanted to stay there…she just was at a point where her specific daily tasks left her empty.

I suggested she speak with her boss, to ask him for feedback, or better assignments, or specific projects that would excite her. But she was afraid to do so. I encouraged her to apply for a different position within the company, but she was concerned that rumors would fly if she did so.

Her apprehension may have been well placed, but there is a saying, “If you don’t ask, you don’t know.” My client was settling with being less than thrilled with her work, and was inadvertently offering her employer less than her best efforts. By refusing to ask for input or new opportunities, she was shutting herself in and down. In a recent blog post, Is your certainty getting in your way?, we looked at how being sure about an answer or situation can block our ability to see another possibility.

So often we find ourselves assuming we know the answers to our questions, or fearful of asking others for what we want. As I shared with my client, there is a time and a place for caution and quiet, and a time and a place to eloquently ask for what we want and need. I pushed her, in this instance, to go beyond her fears and ask.

What haven’t you been asking for? Whom can you ask for what?

Ask for what you want and need.

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What People Are Saying

Dwight McLeod   |   29 March 2012

Good sound advise. In fact to go a step further, the right answer is the biggest killer of innovation. So thinking you know without exploring could be very short sighted.

Robyn McLeod   |   29 March 2012

Thank you for your thoughts. Innovation certainly does suffer when many possible answers, especially the “wrong” ones, are not brought to the fore.