Why You Must Ask… & How to Handle ‘No’
Not everyone finds it easy to ask for what they need or want. The very act of asking open us to potential rejection – especially if what we’re seeking is really important to us. Marketing coach Stephanie Ward shares why it’s important to ask anyway, and how you can soften the blow if it’s a ‘no’.
In life, to get what you want, you need to be willing to ask for it. Whether it’s related to your work or personal relationships, this can be scary.
Because when you ask people for things, sometimes you’ll get a ‘no.’
How do you handle that? Well, it’s possible to get a ‘no’ and not feel bummed out by it! In fact, you can even see ‘no’ as a good thing. (More on all of this in a minute.) But first, here are some ideas of things you can ask others for.
What you might ask for…
“Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it!” Maya Angelou
- Ask someone to go to lunch
- Ask for a promotion or a raise
- Ask someone to help you move
- Ask someone babysit your children
- Ask someone for emotional support
- Ask someone to introduce you to someone
Asking for things can make us feel vulnerable, but the very act of asking is a bold step towards self-empowerment. Asking for support is not a sign of weakness; it is an act of great courage. No matter whether the response is yes or no.
Five ways to handle ‘no’
#1 If you don’t ask, the answer is always ‘no’
Not taking any action is going to bring a predictable result: nothing. This quote pretty much sums it up perfectly.
“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.” Nora Roberts
#2 ‘No’ now isn’t necessarily ‘no’ forever
Frequently, timing is an issue. People may be interested, but it’s simply not the right time for them to say ‘yes’. They may tell you this – and if they don’t, you can always ask.
If it is a matter of timing, see if they’d like you to get in touch again further down the road. If they say ‘yes’, clarify when would be a good time and then put it in your calendar and be sure to make it happen.
#3 Every ‘no’ brings you closer to a ‘yes’
Don’t let a ‘no’ make you give up and stop asking. It’s up to you to continue to ask until you find the people who will say ‘yes’. Each ‘no’ is moving you closer to a ‘yes’.
Think about every ‘no’ as a stepping stone that you walk across, moving toward a ‘yes’.
“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” Jim Watkins
#4 Sometimes ‘no’ leads to a better place
If you’ve asked for something, obviously you wanted the answer to be ‘yes’. And if it is ‘no’, even though you can’t see it now, it’s possible that this was the best thing that ever happened… and that there is an even more fruitful opportunity right around the corner.
“Rejection is often the universe leading us in a different direction. See rejection as guidance rather than loss.” Gabrielle Bernstein
#5 Don’t take ‘no’ personally
I know this is a tough one. And remember, it’s not always about you. For more on this, watch my video Have You Ever Made This Mistake with Your Marketing?.
My wish for you
I hope you’re feeling inspired enough to get asking for what you need or want! I hope you also feel confident that if you do ask and get a ‘no’, that you’ll know how to deal with this in a constructive way.
© Stephanie Ward
About the author: Stephanie Ward is the Marketing Coach for Entrepreneurs who want to create meaningful and prosperous businesses. Grab your FREE copy of the special report ‘7 Steps to Attract More Clients in Less Time’ plus business building tips, at www.fireflycoaching.com.
What do you ask people for? How do you deal with ‘no’? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments section. I respond to every single comment.
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9 commentsWrite a comment
Many thanks for sharing this post, Vivian. I hope your community finds it helpful and I’m happy to answer any questions or engage in discussions.
Thanks a lot for sharing this post! It is really useful to me, and think I need to always bear these advices in mind when I have to make a request! In fact I find it very difficult not to take ‘no’ personally when I need to ask for something from other people, for example, baby-sitting my kids. For this reason I always delay my asking or sometimes not to ask, even though it sometimes results in more ‘no’s’ or might got me into trouble. I think this must have something to do with the way how my mind is working subconciously…
Happy to hear you found this helpful, Phoenix. It is hard not to take ‘no’ personally. Being aware of this may prompt you to ask sooner next time. And that even could even be part of the reason for the no, not enough time to plan for it. Wishing you all the best!
thanks for the guidelines too, will try asking these questions
Sure thing, Ahmed. Wishing you all the best with trying out the questions.
It is definitely a lesson learning how to ask and also how to handle no.
Speaking from a personal point of view, I feel like it might be easier to be confronted with a lot of “no” in childhood so the child is better able to build resilience. However on the other side of the coin, this made me more afraid to ask for what I want.
It’s true that it is about balance and these tips are great!
You raise a really good point about children feeling secure enough to 1) ask and 2) bounce back when the answer is “no”. Parents can support their kids in this by paying attention to HOW they say no; for example, acknowledging the request and the needs (if applicable) behind it, as well as explaining constructively why the answer is “no”.
This is something I’m still struggling with. I agree with everything you say, especially the idea that getting a “no” can open a door to something much better. The list you gave of what to ask for includes some things I would like to start practicing. They say it takes 21 days to break an old habit and form a new one so perhaps I’ll start there.
Thanks for your sharing with the Expat Nest community. I’m very excited to hear how your 21 day “say no” habit goes – do let us know!