I thought I was asking for what I wanted. And actually I was, but it wasn’t what I really wanted. It was something I only wanted because I thought getting it would bring me closer to what I really wanted.
Here is an example of how I used to invite people to experience my coaching:
“Would you be up for a deeper conversation around that?”
“Would you like some help with that?”
If they answered ‘yes’ to questions like these, I would coach them and then sometimes eventually these people would become my clients.
This meant I was spending a lot of time with people who weren’t particularly interested in having a coach or paying for coaching. I was aware of this, but I chalked it up to ‘putting in the work’ and ‘serving many to create a few’.
More recently though, I’ve discovered that I was overusing this rationale. It was a noble justification and there was some truth in it, but the reality is that I only have so much time in a week and if I fill my calendar with people who have no interest in what I really want (i.e. to be their paid coach), then I’m actually wasting time that could be used for people who are more interested.
This is when I discovered the entire problem was actually being created by my way of ASKING. I saw that I was asking for what I thought was needed before I could ask for what I really wanted. I thought I needed people to experience my coaching before I could discuss the possibility of me being their coach.
This reminds me of how with women when I was young, I would sometimes ask them to go places or do things that created a way for me to spend time with them. ‘If I had more time,’ I thought ‘then I could have fun with them and their interest will grow.’
It’s not that there was anything inherently wrong with this approach, but over time I did learn that it wasn’t the most effective. Throughout my years of ‘dating’, I discovered that being direct with women about exactly what it is that I wanted with them worked much better.
“I’d love to take you out dinner and, if it goes well, kiss you at the end of the night.”
Through a lot of experience, I found that asking for EXACTLY what I wanted I had two major benefits.
First, it saved me a bunch of time. When there was no interest, I could simply move on. (The one time I can remember that happening anyway. 😉
Second, I found that my being more specific about what I wanted moved things forward faster. Women seemed to like my directness. They trusted it and it opened up more space for connection.
The best ask I ever made, which in hindsight was more specific than the way it is commonly asked, was when I asked my wife to marry me. I didn’t just ask, ‘Will you marry me?’ When after giving her a ring, I got down on my knee and held her hands I said:
“I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to grow old with you. Will you marry me?”
I was being more EXACT in that I was asking not just for what I wanted, but what I REALLY wanted (growing old together) which was behind my wanting to get married.
Let me be clear: This is not a woman thing. This is a human thing. People like direct. It makes trusting and connecting easier.
Having brought this into my work now, I no longer ask people to ‘spend time together’ in a coaching conversation unless I am also sharing the full context of what I want which that conversation would be in service of.
For example, my new way of asking may look something like this:
“I’m currently in conversation with entrepreneurs/artists/coaches who may be a good fit for my new group CREATORS CIRCLE . If committing to growing yourself is something you’re interested in – and if you can consider the possibility of investing in that should the value be obvious to you – then I’d love to spend time with you in a deeper conversation around X. This will give you an experience of what I do and if the interest is mutual afterwards, we can discuss what more of my support would cost and look like.”
Now that’s certainly a mouthful compared to what I was asking before, but remember the two benefits of this more direct and specific approach:
1. The few extra seconds it costs me to make the longer ask actually gains me many hours of time not spent with people who aren’t open to the possibility for more.
*Asking for exactly what you want saves time.*
2. My longer ask is more direct and as a result people are more trusting and open and we have a better connection. People I end up in conversation with are thus even more likely to move forward.
*Asking for exactly what you want moves people forward.*
For the few people you scare away with your directness, more will be likely to move forward because of your directness. Plus, since you save time too, you’ll have even more opportunities to ask other people for EXACTLY what you want. By being both direct and specific in your asking, you can produce an exponential net gain in your results.
Once you understand this idea, the immediate challenge then becomes knowing what to ask. The trouble is, most people think they are already asking for what they want. They can’t see that the asks they are making are preliminary asks. It’s unconscious to them…just like it was for me.
“Can you give me more love?”
“Would you like to invest in our company?”
These seem like they are direct and specific questions, but they aren’t. There is so much more to the wanting in these wants. There are wants behind these wants and there are wants inside of these wants.
To access the wants BEHIND your wants, finish this sentence as many times as you can:
“I want _________ because I want ____________.”
To access the wants INSIDE of your wants, finish this sentence as many times as you can:
“I want _________ and some examples of this would be _____________.”
With the results of those completed statements you will have all the content you need to make an EXACT ASK.
Here are some examples of how the above wants could become more direct and specific.
“I’d love more love from you, because I’m feeling uncertain in my business right now. Can you please hug me when I walk in the door and can you please hold me for a little while when we go to bed? It feels good for me to be held and touched. It helps me to feel safe to have your arms around me.”
“I’d love you to invest in our company. We want to work with people we like and we really resonate with you. Plus, your network will give us access to the people who can help us seed the platform with users and your experience will help guide us when we are taking on future investments. Will you commit 50% in cash upfront and the rest paid out over the next 6 months? And will you sign a letter of intent today that funds will be available by the end of this month so we can know payroll is handled and stay focused on getting ready for the product launch on by June 1st?”
The more depth and breadth you can bring into awareness around your wanting, the more you can increase the specificity and directness of your ASKING.
The more EXACT you are in your asking, the more time you save and the more trust you build.
Begin ASKING for EXACTLY what you want and watch how your power to create rises exponentially.
Increase your power to create.
Space still available.
Learn more: https://jpmorganjr.com/cc