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Leadership Pathway #110: Ask For What You Want

I love to inspire myself, my children, and my coaching clients to ask for what we want. I frequently hear myself saying:

  • “Don’t settle for anything less than what you really want.”
  • “If what you want seems unreasonable, find the courage to kindly ask anyway.”
  • “You’ll never know until you ask.”
  • “Always take care of yourself by asking for what’s in your heart.”

Many years ago, I received an incredible job offer for a full-time position to do the work I love in organizational and people development. The offer came as I was due to have a baby in three months. I really did not want to leave a life where I worked mostly from the comfort and convenience of my home and go to working 40-55 hours a week in an office. But how could I reject a great job, benefits, a very nice income, and all the learning I’d gain from this opportunity? I couldn’t and my heart did not want to. But I also did not want to be away full-time from my 2 year old or from my new born baby.

This job offer came from an organization that was light years away from valuing non-traditional work settings like telecommuting, job sharing, working from a home office, and flex-time. These things were so far from being part of this organization’s culture that it scared me to consider what I really wanted. What I really wanted was to be able to work from my home, job share where I’d only go into the office 2 or 3 days a week, and work a flexible schedule. I bounced my idea off of a few employees for this company and their immediate response was, “No way will the company go for that, especially not at that job level!”

That was all I needed to hear to pump me up to ask for something the company had never done before. Sure a whole lot was at risk. But I knew my heart did not want exactly what was being offered. So if I settled and accepted the offer, how long would I be happy? Would it really be worth all that I’d be sacrificing?

The company saw the benefits of being able to promote a family-friendly work environment and agreed to allow me to job share as long as I could recruit my “other half.” I worked a flexible schedule sometimes even from home. This arrangement worked well for me and this organization for about 20 months. Sure there were some hiccups, mostly because the culture and many of the associates were not familiar with this type of work arrangement.

But I got what I wanted because I asked for what I wanted. And one of the most rewarding things that came out of this experience was to see how my example inspired other people to ask their employers for the work arrangement they really wanted. You truly never know until you ask.

Coaching Inquiries: How often do you ask for what you really want? What are you sacrificing by not regularly asking for what you want? What do you really want that you’re not experiencing now?

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May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Christina Lombardo, PCC, CPCC (Christina@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH
U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-332-9747
Fax: 415-634-2301

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