Jochen Krebs of the Agile NYC community, and host of Agile.FM, asked me to participate…
A Google search on the text "Ask and Thou Shall Receive" got me a few different references to Bible chapters, including Matthew 7:6-8, Luke 11:9-10 and John 16:24. It seems that the disciples were never shy of asking when they wanted something, and I cannot blame them.
Asking people for things you want really works!
There's a saying in my language (Dutch): "Wie vraagt wordt overgeslagen." It roughly translates to "Those who ask will be skipped". It is often used to get children te keep quiet when they're asking for sweets or presents. But my grandmother, a religious person herself, has fought against this idea. Several times she said to us: "Children that never ask, will not get what they want." She actually might have been referring to "Ask and Thou Shall Receive", either consciously or not.
This week, when checking my LinkedIn profile, I realized to my horror that I still had no recommendations from any of my 145 connections. How could that be? Why had my friends and relations never taken the time to write a small endorsement for me? My work cannot possibly be that bad, can it? My confidence and self-esteem were in a shambles. Fortunately, remembering my grandmother, I knew the answer had to be very simple…
I had never asked!
So I kindly asked a portion of my contacts to write me a recommendation. No obligations, no strings attached. And only if they really meant it. Within an hour I received my first glowing reviews, and a couple of days later the counter stands at a respectable 14 recommendations. More than I had hoped for! My self-esteem was able to recover quickly. And, in my turn, I recommended my granny in a thank-you prayer.
Successful, hard-working, agile people are busy and they have lots of things requiring their attention. Therefore we sometimes forget that our co-workers, friends and relations are quite willing to help us out, or do us a little favor. You shouldn't keep struggling silently with some problem, hoping that someone will finally notice that you could need a helping hand. You have to tell your team what you need. You have to ask, or you will never get what you want. Ask and Thou Shall Receive!
Like several others, this post was first featured on AgileSoftwareDevelopment.com.
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