When I was a teenager, I called up the hottest band in the country and asked, “Will you perform at my high school prom?” The band manager was stunned and said, “Sure.”
Years later, I called up one of the hottest chefs in the country and asked, “Will you speak at my fundraiser?” Her assistant said, “Not possible. She’s too busy.” But a few months later, after some persistence, and after sending a gorgeous package filled with gifts and beautiful photos about my project, the star chef said, “Yes.”
A few years ago, I met a powerful, dynamic woman named Susan and I thought to myself, “I’ve got to collaborate with her.” I called her to ask, “Will you co-teach a program with me?” She said, “Maybe. What do you have in mind?” I put together a proposal and delivered it to her. She said, “Yes.”
You’re probably noticing a pattern here:
When there’s something I really want, I pick up the phone, I dial, and I ask for it.
Phone. Dial. Ask.
It’s that simple.
Simple, and yet, it’s the one thing that most people are terrified to do.
I have clients—smart, creative clients with so much potential—who would be much happier to parachute out of an airplane, or risk their lives rock climbing, or dive into the ocean in a tank surrounded by great white sharks, rather than just pick up the phone and ask for something they want!
Why is it so hard to just call and ask?
Maybe it’s a generational thing. As a Baby Boomer, I grew up using the phone for everything. People these days primarily use text and email. Using your voice—introducing yourself out loud—it’s almost like it’s a communication muscle that most people don’t use anymore. We’ve forgotten how.
But that’s a shame, because… here’s the tough-love truth:
If there’s something you really want—something big, like a great new job, or a grant to fund your research project, or a huge opportunity to take your career to the next level—I am sorry, but you can’t hide behind your computer screen. Sending an email is usually not enough. Applying online is not enough. Posting a Facebook message and then hoping your friends will help you out is not enough.
If you want big things, you’ve got to do big things.
You’ve got to… march into someone’s office for a real-time chat. Assemble a meeting and invite people who need to know about your mission. Go to functions, connect, and make new friends. Take someone out for lunch. Give a live presentation. Stroll down the block, pop into ten businesses, and introduce yourself. Attend a conference. Host a dinner party. Or, as my colleague Susan recommends, introduce yourself to 50 new people this month—share what you do, what you’re working on, what your mission is. Keep going until it feels natural to do this.
Let people hear your voice. Let people see you, face to face. Let people feel your passion and urgency. There’s no substitute for that kind of experience.
I love email. I really do. It certainly has its place in our lives. It’s a great tool, but if you’re job hunting or trying to build a new business, it shouldn’t be your only tool.
It’s amazing how much can happen, so quickly, when you stop typing and start talking.
So pick up the phone and ask for what you want—or do something equally gutsy.
The worst thing anyone can say to you is “No,” and trust me: you will survive that.
The best thing anyone can say to you is, “Sure, why not!” and you’ll feel so grateful that you pursued your goal with courage—instead of taking a more passive approach and getting nowhere.
Your phone is right there. You’ve got fingers and a voice. You are braver than you think. No sense waiting any longer.
Who do you need to call?
PS. What is your biggest career, business, or income-related goal this year? A new job? More clients? An extra $10K in your savings account? Choose a goal and make it happen… inside my newest coaching program: GO GET IT!
Enrollment closes very soon and the program begins on April 4th. You’re going to love this! See you inside!
Image: Willie Franklin.