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Asking and Acting

How to get what you really want.

Ask and you shall receive…

When he spoke these words during the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was speaking specifically of prayer, how when we humble ourselves and ask God with pure motives and open hearts, we will receive answers.
But I also believe that these words reveal a powerful, universal principle that is vital for those who seek success and significance in life.

He didn’t say, “complain and your life will get better.” Or, “whine with righteous indignation and things will change for you.” Ask. We need to ask – the right questions, of the right people, in the right ways – in order to expand our understanding and capabilities. But when we ask, we must be willing to act – to do something with what we receive.

You have deep resources.

Among these are your natural gifts, your work ethic, your experience, and your relationships. In order to access and engage your relational resources, and harness the power to propel yourself forward, you need to ask the right questions in the right ways, of yourselves and of others.

How to Ask

  • Are you asking the right question? Of the right person?
  • Are you asking for information? Or are you asking for someone to act on your behalf? Those are different levels of requirement, demanding different types of follow through.
  • Are you asking for something specific and possible?
  • Are you asking with respect and understanding? If you are asking for the benefit of someone else’s success or experience, realize you are asking for something that came at a great cost to this person. You are asking for someone’s present and future time. A successful person understands that this is their most precious and irreplaceable commodity. Express that you get that and value them.
  • Be prepared to Act without hesitation and demonstrate your commitment. Otherwise, you will have wasted their time and damaged your relationship.
  • Understand the powers of reciprocity (what are you willing to do for them?) and “pay it forward” (what are you willing to do for others?).

The flip side of this principle is that you will also be asked.

What to Do When Asked

  • Answer! Don’t be the person who leaves others waiting for an answer.
  • Don’t feel obligated to say “Yes.” You cannot and should not say “yes” to everything.
  • Be realistic and honest with regard to what you will or will not be able to offer.
  • When you do say “yes,” mean it. Follow through with action.

A successful life has responsive momentum, not unlike a tennis match. Do you know the game you want to play? If not, figure that out. Then ask! If you do not, it’s as if you’re unwilling to serve the first ball. When a shot is hit to you, answer. Give it your attention and clear action, anew keep the natural rhythm of life moving forward. Asking. Acting. Asking. Acting. Master both skills, and you will grow your abilities, honor your relationships, and expand your impact.

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