Why is asking so difficult?

One of my favourite entertainers – John Shuttleworth – was on BBC 6music this week.  He told a little story about needing some change for the car park; he asked a passerby, but the chap couldn’t make change.  Instead the good samaritan gave John the 50p he needed.  The passerby carried on his way with a spring in his step, pleased to have helped someone in need.  But John was left feeling guilty for taking the chap’s money.

This little story reminded me of a recent talk by Amanda Palmer which also described how asking for something with nothing tangible in return lead her to feel guilty, and in many cases stopped her from asking.  She described her realisation that an intangible return matters just as much as the tangible – the good feeling that John’s benefactor received from helping was worth 50p to him.

I think that this is one of the things that stops people from networking – contacting someone to ask for advice or information seems so one sided; what’s in it for them?  In fact many people want to help, and like the satisfaction that helping gives.  Also networking isn’t just about the now – by expanding your network now you’ll be in a position to help others in the future.

So if this rings a bell with you, why not stop reading this now, and reach out and ask someone for something?

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