Found an office nearby which allows folks to go up to the roof and take in the views of Tokyo. Thought we would go up to have a look and have a quick chat.
While we enjoy the view, I'd like to talk about the importance of "asking."
As we go about our daily lives, we ask things all the time. For example we walk into Mc Dee's and ask for a "Teriyaki Burger with Fries." If you didn't say anything when you approached the counter, the chances of the lovely girl over the counter guessing what you wanted would be very slim.
The other party is not going to know what you want unless you speak up. This may seem obvious but when it comes down to business relations, career advancement or socializing, I find that many folks are not as proactive at asking.
For example, I've met a ton of comrades on the Internets by reaching out to them. I would either send mail or ask for an introduction. I would usually introduce myself and suggest that it may be good to get together due to our common areas of interest.
I've not only made good friends this way, I've also made many business partners this way too.
When you are at a networking event, you can either wait for somebody to approach you or approach somebody who you don't know. The rule here is to follow one of the life rules I practice - don't wait for things to happen - make them happen.
Whats the worst that can happen if you approach somebody first? They could ignore you but that would be very unlikely at a networking event.
When I was working at Nature, I took the opportunity to approach some recruitment companies to ask what sort of job opportunities were available on the market - this simple action of asking opened up a huge amount of doors and opportunities which not only lead me to Amazon but also got to meet a load of folk in the industry at the same time.
As part of running dannychoo.com, I constantly ask and suggest partnerships and deals with manufacturers and other website owners all the time. What would the likelihood be that they know what I have in mind and contact me about it if I just kept quiet?
So why are some folks afraid of asking? Usually because they are either afraid of what the other party may think or because they don't want to be ignored or turned down. Probably more reasons but these are the ones that spring to mind.
Lets look at the "afraid what the other party may think" and "afraid of being ignored or turned down."
If you choose your words carefully and think about how you are going to go about your proposal then the reaction of how the other party is going to react should not really be of too much concern to you - because you have already taken measures to be tactful about how you ask/propose something.
Obviously, not all proposals that I put forward or questions that I ask end up being fruitful - I do get ignored or have my proposals turned down. But this is the game of life - not everything is plain sailing.
Being turned down however is never seen as an excuse to stop my practice of asking.
While I recommend that you proactively ask, you should also develop a sense of how to ask in moderation. While many people are open to being asked questions/favors or hearing proposals, most people have a limit to how much they are willing to help/listen/accept over a certain span of time. This is not because they are selfish but because they need to lead their own lives too and not yours.
Just to quickly go over the takeaways of our brief chat.
1. Unless the other party has Heroes type abilities, they are not going to know what you have on your mind unless you speak it.
2. If you have a favor/ question or proposal, just ask it - the worse that can happen is that you are ignored or turned down - so what? Unless there is risk of yourself loosing an organ, you have absolutely nothing to loose by asking. Don't regret not asking - just do it.
3. If you are ignored or turned down then thats fine - should expect to be turned down from time to time but never let that turn into fear which would make you stop the practice of asking. Fear consumes people and prevents them from being great.
4.Asking/proposing and reaching out to people is essential for a successful career no matter where you are but is especially true in Japan. The Japanese like to do business with people who they know and trust through introductions of people they already know.
In my history of building websites, I have never had to go looking for clients - all so far have been through word of mouth/direct introductions or from people I already know.
5.Learn tact and when it comes to asking the same party something, do it in moderation.
Been having a load of ideas lately which need the help of many comrades. I've been doing a lot of asking/proposing lately with very fruitful results and thought it was about time I write up on encouraging you to do more asking too.
Have any of you had a burning question or proposal that you put forward after brooding about it for a while which turned out fruitful?