I wrote this post years ago for my freelance writing site. But the basic concept is so universal, I figured it was worth adapting. Hope you enjoy!
The doorbell rang.
On the porch were two little waifs, not much more than three feet tall.
“Do you want to give us some money?” the smaller of them peeped.
“What for?” I asked.
“For our class,” said the other one, a pink-cheeked boy in a red checked scarf.
Isn’t that why I pay property taxes?
“So your class is raising money for something?” I ventured.
“Uh huh.” “Yeah.”
I looked around for the parents. Nowhere to be seen.
“Um…what is your class going to use the money for?”
They looked at each other. Clearly they had no idea.
Back in the kitchen, something sizzled on the stove. I didn’t have time for this.
“You can write a check,” suggested the smaller one. Little wisps of blonde hair floated angelically above her impossibly large, round eyes.
“To Franklin school,” added her brother helpfully.
Sigh. They had me.
“Wait here, ” I said.
I found my purse, made out a check for $10, and handed it to the boy.
“Thank you!” they chimed in unison, then tripped off to hit up the next door neighbors.
What just went on there??? I’d never seen these kids before in my life. Heck, they didn’t even have a good idea why they were there. Yet they got me to fork over a chunk of hard-earned dough.
It didn’t hurt that they were adorable.
But I’ve turned away kids selling candy bars and such many a time. What did these kids do to get me to make out a check and hand it to them?
THEY ASKED FOR IT!
It’s so incredibly basic, a couple of snot-nosed elementary school kids did it without even thinking.
But it’s amazing how many times we adult women forget to ask for what we need or want.
It’s so easy to forget – after all, we’ve been trained to be polite, and asking just seems so… well… unsophisticated. Maybe even crass.
Then there’s that nagging feeling that maybe we don’t deserve it.
Hmm. Let’s think about this.
We all know there are times we want what we don’t really need. And there are some things we might want that really won’t make us happy when we get them. (Like, probably, that $1,200 Louis Vuitton bag.)
But then there are those things we do need. Like the time and space to nurture ourselves, or to follow our heart’s paths. Like a little appreciation once in a while (flowers will do nicely, thank you!) Like having some beauty in our lives.
Money counts, too. Oh yes, it does.
I mention this because a lot of us have a hard time with asking for money in return for our work. This may be because we look around us and see such wanton, destructive greed in the world. Or because we’ve grown up hearing that “money is the root of all evil.”
But if you think about it, money is just abstracted energy. And every endeavor needs energy to make it happen – including your soul work.
Yes, you may be able to follow your life’s purpose without it. But probably, you’ll have an easier time with some cash in hand.
So, bottom line:
Always, always, always ask for what you need. You DO deserve it. How else are you going to give your all to the world? (And chances are, when your needs are met, you’ll give twice as much in return and the whole world will be a better place! Right?)
And one more thing: don’t be shy. Did you notice what the little kids did for me above? They told me exactly what to do. ”Write a check out to Franklin School.” Give people directions and they’re WAY more likely to follow them.
Whether you’re writing a sales letter for your business or asking your significant other for a backrub, tell them exactly what to do. Don’t leave anything to chance. “Call 123-4567 for your free estimate today.” Or, “Here’s the massage oil – can you please get that knot on the right hand side right next to the spine just below my neck?” Or, “I’m really going to need some quality time in the studio this evening. Could you please take the kids out to a movie or something tonight?”
It might not get you what you need 100% of the time, but you may be surprised how often a simple request does the trick. (Especially if you’re willing to help others when they need it, too.)
So, next time you’re feeling frustrated because your needs aren’t being met, just ask for what you need.
And if you need coaching, go down to your local elementary school and hang out with the kids at lunchtime.
By the way… can I have a bite of your cookie?
How has asking for what you need changed your life?