Something to think about if you lack the confidence to ask
You’ve made a new friend and find out they’re personally connected to someone who could be your prospect.
You keep thinking about asking them for an introduction but can’t muster up the courage to do so.
You’re uncomfortable. You’re filled with doubt.
“What if they say no?”
“Why would they go out of their way to help me?”
“Will I make them feel uncomfortable? Will they say yes out of obligation? Should I even talk business with friends?”
These are some of the thoughts you’ve had in the past.
It’s time say bye to these thoughts once and for all. These doubts are standing in the way of your growth and even your dreams.
Why I used to feel uncomfortable asking for things
I used to be like you. I felt uncomfortable asking for anything from anyone. Like you, I had my reasons.
“No seas pedinche!” was a common phrase I heard growing up; it means “don’t be a beggar”. If you asked for something, you better have exhausted all other options. Never waste another person’s time was the rule. Maybe you can relate to that train of thought.
Couple this with growing up in a rough neighborhood where the “Every Man For Himself” mentality prevailed, and it’s no wonder I felt flat out wrong asking anyone for anything.
I didn’t want to bother or feel indebted to anyone. So, I simply never asked.
Don’t get me wrong, like most things in life, this mentality was a blessing in disguise. It challenged me in good ways. Being self-reliant helped me really think out solutions to tough problems. But I must admit, I could have learned these things through different avenues.
Eventually, my mentality changed and I learned it was okay to ask for favors. I’m still picky about what I ask for but I’m way better about asking for quick and easy favors like introductions, referrals, or meetings. You know, the common things in business and selling.
How a single act of generosity exposed me
Let me tell you about a realization I had that made asking easier, even as an Introvert. It’s a different angle and worth thinking about.
When I was 20, I met John and Mindy, a couple from church.
Times were tough for me at that age. I had just been laid off from a job, a drunk driver had crashed and wrecked my car, and my family had shunned me because of a belief (unfamiliar to them) I adopted.
I was new to church and felt like an outsider because I looked, talked, and was different from everyone. Being a stoic introvert, I kept to myself and was intimidating to others.
One day, John approached me after service and gave me an envelope.
“I felt God tell me to give this to you. Keep it between us and don’t tell anyone. Open it later.”
Being the rebel I was, I opened it as soon as he walked away. Inside the envelope were $150. This was a lot of money for me during the time. Heck, it still is given the right context!
I immediately looked for John and Mindy and asked them why they gave me their money. It was unfathomable that someone would give $150 without expecting anything in return.
I was confused. I wondered if they were trying to hire me for something. Did they want me to scare someone away, beat someone up, or make drug runs for them? You know, the normal stuff people bribe you for. I’m kidding now, but not so much at that time!
It turns out, they really didn’t expect anything in return. They were simply generous people.
(By the way, the amount they gave me was precisely how much I needed to make my rent payment that month. They were spot on the money.)
John and Mindy eventually became spiritual parents of mine, and I learned a ton from them.
One of the most important things I learned was that kind and generous people exist in the world. They were all around me and I never noticed.
The realization that changed everything
Then it hit me: I myself was NOT a generous person. For me, it was every man for himself in this world. Everyone had to pave their way alone. That’s just how life was, I thought.
But then I realized that generous people not only get further in life, but can also help others along the way.
We can all win together. There’s enough for everyone. And it feels really good to be generous.
It’s obvious to me now but it wasn’t so back then.
Once I understood and adopted this belief, I became a generous person. And as a result, it’s now easier for me to ask for simple things like an introduction, referral, or for someone’s time.
Why? Because it’s something I’d do for a friend without expecting anything in return.
Questions you should ask yourself
If you believe yourself to be a generous person and are still fearful to ask someone for a favor, then consider the following:
- Are you so special that you’re the only generous person you know? Believe me, you’re not. There are plenty of us who are generous enough to give you an introduction, referral, or some of our time. You just haven’t asked, or you’re asking in the wrong way.
- Who are you surrounding yourself with? If by chance you feel like you’d be an inconvenience to someone, then are the people in your life really your friends? A better question is are you really their friend? Real friends are generous with each other. They help each other if they can. Give your friends the benefit of the doubt.
If you’re not a generous person, then you have work to do.
Even more specific questions
Here are questions which can help expose your level of generosity (from a business context) with others:
- Do you connect people without being asked?
- Do you give new friends some of your time without expecting anything in return?
- Have you ever given a referral without anyone asking for it?
- Do you share useful content you’ve come across with friends? Do you click on share buttons when you’ve come across something worth sharing?
These are simple things you can do quickly and often. Maybe even daily.
The Golden Rule
The Golden Rule will equip you with the confidence you need the next time you ask someone for a favor. Your level of confidence in asking for an introduction, referral, or someone’s time correlates with how generous you are.
As you become more generous, you’ll have a borderline kid like naivety when asking for things. People will sense that you’d do the same for them and will gladly help you out.
Be generous. Ask without fear. That’s how we mighty Introverts do business.