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Creating Successful Leaders

By Margaret Smith, UXL:

A common idiom I return to time and time again concerns the power of asking for what you want: You don’t get what you don’t ask for. As I’ve made my way through the complex challenges of the professional world, as both a senior leader at 3M and now as an entrepreneur, I’ve always come back to this little lesson.

It seems as though we spend an awful lot of time considering what we want—willing our reality to change on its own. But until we accept the fact that asking for it is the fastest (and sometimes the only) way to get what we want, we’ll be stuck in dreamland waiting for our wishes to be granted.

Often, we’re hesitant to ask for what we want. This hesitation can stem from a fear of being vulnerable or unworthy, or the belief that successful people never ask for help. All of these fears continue to work within us to maintain the status quo and prevent that dreaded, scary, risky change that’s necessary for a bigger and better life.

Don’t let your pride keep you from asking for what you want. And remember that at times it is absolutely necessary to ask for help—you don’t have to do everything on your own!

So how can you improve your ability to ask for what you want? By seeking out the areas where you desire change and beginning to ask for these things often, and with purpose. Now if only this were as simply and easy as it sounds! To help combat the hesitation to ask for what you want, I’ve gathered some important truths.

>> Most successful people have the help of others to thank for their own success. These people are typically happy to share advice and lend a hand.

>> Be honest with yourself about your current dreams and needs—know what you want.

>> Seek support from the experts and professionals around you who can best support your goals.

>> Always believe that what you’re asking for is very possible.

>> Be genuine about your wants and honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses.

>> Consider sending an email to introduce yourself to those who you think may be of service. Outline your needs and offer support.

>> Always be passionate about what you request.

>> Never let fear prevent you from acting.

>> Anticipate that not everyone will be able or willing to help, and always allow for a gracious opportunity for others to bow out.

>> Be persistent—try, try, and try again until you achieve success.

Don’t let your inner saboteur get in the way of your own success—believe that you are deserving of what you want, and have the courage to ask for it.

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