It’s worth to ask! Do you agree with that statement? How many times do we hesitate to put the word “ask” into action? If we think about it, “ask” shouldn’t be something too hard to do, but it is almost unbelievable how hard we make it sometimes to the point where we prefer to lose time, opportunities, or knowledge before exposing ourselves to an unwanted answer or reaction. But why? Let’s first understand what “ask” means.
If we look for the definition of the word “ask” by Cambridge Dictionary, we can see that it could relate to four different actions:
- Ask to state a question or receive an answer from someone
- Ask to request something to someone
- Ask to invite someone
- Ask to expect or demand something from someone
In every case, when we put the word ask into action, we expect a response from someone else, meaning that we depend entirely on a third person, except when we ask ourselves.
Why is it sometimes too hard to ask?
We could name different reasons to make us hesitate to ask. Sometimes we can say it is because we feel shy or scared, or because we don’t want to bother anyone; it might even be that we don’t want people to think we are stupid. We can also recognize that sometimes we are just stubborn and think that we don’t need to ask. However, a lot of times, it is because we feel vulnerable by not having control over the response, and us human beings like to be in control.
If we analyze the process of asking, we can notice that when we ask, we are in control of our question, but once we finish asking, we lose that control by transferring it to someone else who is supposed to give us a response that might or might not align with what we expect. We know that putting the word “ask” into action leaves the door open to a rejection or a negative answer, so we prefer not to take the risk. The thing is that we should always take the risk.
Why should we always take the risk to ask?
In my opinion, there is only one answer to this question:
Because we don’t know what the answer is going to be.
We can guess or assume what the answer is going to be, but we will never be sure unless we ask. So, before deciding to not ask, let’s ask ourselves two questions:
- What is the worst thing that could happen if we ask?
- What can we gain if we ask?
We will realize that most likely the worst things that could happen are:
- Getting a no for an answer and feeling embarrassed about it or
- Getting a negative response in the form of a reprimand or bad attitude and feeling embarrassed about it.
In the majority of the cases, it is the feeling of embarrassment what we try to avoid.
Now, if we put aside the feeling of embarrassment and think about what we can gain by asking, our hesitation about asking can change. I believe that most of the time, the action of not asking is just a defense mechanism we have to protect ourselves from the feeling of embarrassment that we don’t like. To change that, we need to tell our minds that the gain we can obtain by asking is worth much more and will last much longer than the embarrassment we will have for asking.
Here is a personal example to see if you can relate.
My husband, children and I were living in Ohio several years ago, and as any Sunday we went to mass. During mass, a new Latin family got my attention because, at that time, there were not a lot of Latin people around. At the end of mass, I approached them to introduce myself and my family. The nice family told us they just moved from Mexico. They didn’t know anyone around. They only had one car which her husband took to his work every day, meaning she stayed at home all day because there was no public transportation or Uber at that time. I nicely offered my help to drive her any time she needed. We exchanged phone numbers and said we would keep in contact. Well, guess what? She never called me, and I never called her either. I thought it was kind of weird to call her first. I made the first contact that Sunday after mass, so it was her turn to contact me.
More than a year passed, and it was my husband’s 40th birthday. We were getting ready to have a big party that day, and my husband suggested me to call the family we met more than a year ago and invite them to the party. I remember my response:
“What? Are you crazy? Do you think I am going to call her and say hi, do you remember me? We met after mass more than a year ago. I gave you my phone number, and you never called me. I am calling to invite you to a party tonight without children, sorry for the late notice. Would you like to come?”
My husband said with his usual positive tone: Yes, that is exactly what you should tell her. What is the worst that can happen?
After freaking out and telling myself that she would think I was crazy, and also feeling a little ashamed because I never call her either, I made the call. To my surprise, she said yes to my invitation and showed up at the party with her husband. Since that day, we all became dearest friends. I even have the honor to be the Godmother of a wonderful young lady, her oldest daughter.
Here is my analysis of this experience:
The worst thing that could have happened: that she said no and thought that I was weird and crazy
The gain for asking: a wonderful friendship with so many shared memories
The regret: missing more than a year of a wonderful friendship for not calling her the week after we met.
Lesson learned: Ask. Don’t let what could or couldn’t be a short moment of embarrassment; take away a wonderful opportunity.
12 things worth asking:
1. Ask for help:
Whenever we need help, let’s go to our family and closest friends and ask for it. Let’s explain clearly what we need and why. Most of the time, people who love us will want to help us, so don’t think otherwise.
2. Ask for a favor:
In general, people like to help, but we have to ask. Let’s stop thinking that asking a favor means to bother the other person. Instead, let’s consider that doing a favor or helping someone else gives that person a sense of purpose and a feeling of reward. Here is a link of a great post about Proper Way to Ask a Favor by Debby Mayne from The Spruce.
3. Ask because we care:
Ask the people we care about, how their day was. If we see that they are down, ask if they want to talk about it. If they are sad, ask if they need a hug. If they are sick, ask if we can help in any way. If they are acting weird, dig deep and ask even more. By doing this, we can discover depression or other problems, and we might be able to help. Let’s remember them that we ask because we care.
4. Ask for love:
Sometimes, we feel down and need some love. Most of the time, we expect our loved ones to notice our need, but not always they do, and that doesn’t mean they don’t love us. So instead of waiting or expecting anything from them, let’s be proactive and ask for it. A simple question like “Can you give me a hug?” could maybe be enough for that moment.
5. Ask for forgiveness:
It is different saying sorry than to ask: Can you please forgive me? and What can I do to fix this? If we are really sorry for something we did, lets show it by asking for forgiveness the right way.
6. Ask for information:
How much time do we lose for not asking? I am very sure we can all relate to this. Questions like: Where can I find this? How do I get there? How do I do this? It is kind of funny that we prefer to ask Siri or Google than to ask a real person. We prefer to spend time trying to figure out things instead of going to the right person to ask. When this happens, let’s think about our precious time that will never come back.
7. Ask to learn:
Learning is a never-ending process that should always involve curiosity and questions. Curiosity because it is what make us wonder. Questions because they help us to know more or understand better. Let’s not feel stupid or worry about what others will think about us because we ask questions. It is more stupid not to ask and stop learning.
8. Ask for understanding:
Whenever we feel misunderstood, ask for understanding. People sometimes don’t understand what we are trying to say, and most likely, they don’t know what we are thinking or going through. So, instead of expecting someone to understand us, let’s ask him or her for understanding and explain clearly our point of view.
9. Ask for advice:
We are always surrounded by people with more experience and wisdom than us. Asking for advice or guidance is a humble way to recognize that we don’t know everything, and it open our minds to see things from a different perspective.
10. Ask to make new friends or to grow our network:
Asking questions when we are in a place where we don’t know anyone is a great way to break the ice and get to know people. Always ask something that we think relates to the other person to catch her or his interest. In addition, never stop ourselves to invite someone because we are afraid of being rejected. Always think about what we will gain if that person accepts our invitation.
11. Ask for support:
Don’t be afraid to ask people we know to support our plans, ideas, businesses, or causes. If we struggle to ask for support, let’s remember that the worst thing that can happen is that they say no or do nothing to support us. The best thing that can happen is to have a successful word of mouth campaign that will help communicate to others what we are doing.
Today I want to ask you to please support my blog by signing up for my newsletter, sharing my blog with family and friends, liking my Facebook page, and sharing my posts on Facebook or any other social media. You can also follow and share my posts on Instagram and Pinterest. I love my new adventure of being a blogger, and I need your help to reach more people. Can you do this for me? Thanks in advance for your support!
12. Ask God:
We all go through difficult times in our lives: illness, losing a job, losing a loved one, family problems, financial problems, and so on. Perhaps sometimes we can feel disconnected from God, and we think we don’t have the right to ask him to help us. In my case, sometimes I think that my problems are so small in comparison with other people’s problems that I don’t think it is fair to bother him with my little problems. The point is that it doesn’t matter if our problems are big or small, they are our problems and we all need help. The good news, God is always there for us.
It's worth to ask!
I know by experience that putting the word “ask” into action is not easy. To tell you the truth, I am very bad at asking because it takes me out of my comfort zone. “Ask” requires courage to ask and courage to face an unwanted answer or reaction from someone else. It also requires self-confidence and self-love to not let any unwanted response or reaction from that someone to put us down.
We need to remember that when we ask, there is usually 50% chance to receive an unwanted response and 50% chance to receive a wanted response. So, let’s always focus on the second 50% chance.
When we decide not to ask, we decide not to know the answer to our question. We let our negative and unfunded thoughts steel possible opportunities, experiences, knowledge, memories, friendship, love, and time. Isn’t this crazy?
When doubting about asking, let’s start by asking ourselves what the worst thing that could happen is and what we would gain if we get the answer we want. After that, we can decide if it’s worth to ask.
Here are two questions for you?
- What has been the best thing that has happened to you after asking a question?
- Can you please help me in my adventure as a blogger by sharing my posts? Anything you share can be an inspiration to someone else.
In the link below, you will find an interesting Ted Talk about asking. I hope you have the time to watch it.
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