Asking for What we Need

Originally posted on March 28, 2011 at 3:35 PM

There’s a certain lesson that I keep relearning in every facet of my life over and over again since I was born. It’s very simple, yet I never seem to remember it until I reach the point of “OMG DO IT OR I WILL DIE RIGHT NOW.” The lesson? Ask for what I need.

I’ve recently been planning and working on a blog series coming up starting Friday. It’s something that I’m really excited about and really want to be great. I had several ideas that were, well… ambitious. For me. At this point in my blogging endeavors. I had two ideas that would only work if other people helped me. But that meant – you guessed it – that I had to ask for help. *insert sounds of disagreement here*

Well, I did. I approached four people who I really wanted to do guest posts for this blog series. I was terrified. A little because some of them seemed almost “out of my league.” And a little because I know some of them quite well, and was afraid that I would be taking advantage of our relationship (i.e. making it too hard for them to say no). So in the request emails I made it very clear that I wouldn’t be offended/hurt if they declined (at least partially a lie).

They all said yes.

I am very excited. Now I have 4 AMAZING guest bloggers coming up! And how else could I have gotten them? They didn’t even know about the series. And even if they had, they wouldn’t have volunteered out of nowhere for it; that would have seemed intrusive. So I had to ask. And I’m so glad I did.

Likewise, I needed a favor from a handful of family and close friends. I was nervous to ask, thinking it might seem demanding or overly intrusive, but I did it anyway, based solely on the positive results from the above experience. 4 out of 5 have said yes so far, and they don’t seem to be put out by it at all. Because I expressed to them the importance of what I was asking, they were happy to help. Of course they were. They love me. Why do I get so silly about these things?

If someone you love, care about, respect, or like approaches you and tells you they need something you can give – something not too big a request but important nonetheless – are you going to say no? Not unless there’s a really good reason to. Because we, as good people, want to help each other out. Most of the time we just aren’t sure how. So if you need help, tell someone how. Specifically. (Don’t abuse it.)

So whether it’s for your fledgling career, your friendships, your health, your sex life, your emotional contentedness, your critique group, or your household chores – I’ve found it’s best to ask for what we need.

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