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The Power of Asking

Two months ago I took a business trip to see a client in the U.S. Due to a booking technicality, my ticket was split between business class flying out and economy flying back home.

I’m usually not one to make a fuss so I left it. However, my travel partner had business class booked both ways and insisted I tried to upgrade.

After a few attempts over the phone with the agent, I was getting nowhere and concluded it wasn’t to be. My standard bag of roasted almonds was waiting for in the back of the plane while my coworker would dine with a glass of cabernet and shrimp.

When we arrived at our gate he nudged me again to ask the airline employee about any empty seats in business class. I reluctantly walked up and asked (they had called me up for a passenger screening anyway).

The airline employee happily advised me they were trying to move passengers up closer to the front of the plane to balance the weight and that there was one empty seat left in business class I could take. The one next to my coworker.

The upgrade ended up being free of charge.

Asking is such an underrated skill because we really don’t believe there’s a 50-50 chance we’ll get exactly what we were looking for.

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Convince Yourself First

There’s a reason why drive-thru windows have been around for decades. It’s a magical thing to give your request only to have it granted to you seconds later.

It’s almost like you spoke it into existence.

What do you want? How does it look? When do you want it to happen?

Dream, write it down and talk about it. Make sure you say it out loud for your brain to hear.

Because the first person, you have to convince is yourself.

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Know When to Give a Little Ground.

If you’re a manager, you know there are times when cross-team integration will eventually happen. Working with other department managers and their teams can be challenging at times. Everyone, including yourself, has their own point of view on subjects and how they should be executed.

Standing firm on your position could cause delayed deadlines, wasted man-hours and a potentially irate customer. Knowing when to give ground to your combatant’s ideas is the easiest way to productivity and success. If his or her idea works, then it was the right one to go with. If not, then your idea probably can’t be any worse.

The point is team success is easier to come by when you’re willing to work with those who don’t initially agree with you.

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The Unanticipated Moments

We plan our calendars. We accumulate things. We rush from one item on our daily list to the other. Focused on placing that ‘check’ beside each box.

The anticipated events of our lives have a moderate level of impact when compared to the unanticipated. It’s the gifted book that sat on my shelf for almost 2 months before cracking it open, only to have the words change my life. It’s the fascinating stories from an old married couple who asked to sit with me in a crowded coffee shop.

And sometimes, it’s just the flat tire we notice walking out our front door heading to work.

We secretly value the unanticipated because it tells us more about ourselves than we often would like to admit.

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Your Dreams, Like Blogging, Aren’t Dead

I’m sure we’ve been here before.

Me blogging my thoughts and you reading them. Frankly, this is my purpose. I’ve tried to deny it by suppressing it. I’ve tried launching a side business that has a writing component in it but isn’t freelance writing directly. I’m too old. I don’t have time. The journey will be too long.

We exercise these thoughts daily to convince ourselves that the window of opportunity to achieve our dreams has passed. Then we hear about 70-year-old first-time entrepreneurs and realize we have a choice to make.

So I blog. Even though they say its dead, my words aren’t. Just like your dreams.

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