The most frequent question being asked of me recently is “How did you get Surya Das?” The short answer is. “I just asked.”
When I was writing my guidebook 10 Practices of Personal Sustainabily, The Savvy Person’s Guide to Conscious Living,” I read cover to cover a book by Lama Surya Das, “Buddha Standard Time.” I gave credit to his book in my reference guide and I thought to myself, “He’s a local (lives in Concord, MA.), I’d love to invite him someday to present a program of some sort.” That was 2 years ago and I never acted on that idea…until now. I didn’t act on it because I imagined I would be turned down. I thought I was (my business) too small. The idea remained with me, however, as ideas usually do with all of us and then recently the opportunity presented itself and I had to make a choice whether to stretch and ask, or stay small with my voice and not manifest at least an invitation to Surya.
I attended a great afternoon workshop in Newton with Surya Das, Sharon Salzberg and Krishna Das in March with my good friend Mary Green. During the break, I asked a woman who appeared to be on her own at the event and wandering by herself to take a picture of Mary and me. She did and she turned out to be Surya’s promotional director. Here was my chance! “I am curious if Surya might be available to do a program for my business.” Response. “He’d love to. Here’s my card. Come on, I’ll introduce you to him and you can give me a call and we’ll see what we can do.” It was that easy. Gulp. Actually, then I could feel my heart racing, but followed her anyways to the stage.
There are many times in life when I haven’t asked for what I wanted, needed, or was called to be curious about. To step onto a path of happiness, joy, exploration and discovery our inner voice may need some empowerment lessons. It takes a certain amount of courage, strength and desire to ask for help, direction or maybe even a raise.
Some things I have learned (still learning, of course) about asking, that might I have found to be useful as well follows.
Make it easy to say YES.
Be clear about your request.
Be prepared and be credible.
Show gratitude for the time someone took to consider your request.
Be mindful of your language, don’t beat around the bush. It wastes time and doesn’t necessarily get you to where you want to go.
People work best with deadlines or a response time.
Get comfortable with rejection. I know, rejection can be tough. But you may learn something to bring to your next opportunity.
If you are fearful of asking some big questions, start with small ones. Practice asking.
When I examine my own limitations, it is usually fear that holds me back from leaning in to a question. Maybe, I’ll look stupid, vulnerable or weak. Highly successful people ALWAYS ask for help. They know that the best way to bring their core gifts to the world is to bring in people skilled in other areas to support their business and sometimes aspects of their life as well.
Asking, taking some small steps ahead can also make it easier to do it again. And so, I am continuing to stretch in new ways and ask for things that maybe at one point in my life, I thought weren’t possible. As the saying goes, I’m not getting any younger so time to get it shakin’! I think I’m on a roll.
“Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final”
― Rainer Maria Rilke