“Gather data. Gather data. Gather data. And when it feels personal, remember that it’s still data.”
This is one of the most used pieces of advice I give to my team members, mentees, people who seek me about big decisions, etc. We absolutely get in our own way when it comes to asking for what we want. We get locked in a mindset about what has already happened, what we believe to be possible, and what others will think of us for speaking up.
One thing is for sure…the average human (including your boss, the founder, that super brilliant engineer you work with, etc) do not read minds. If you don’t ask for what you want or speak up about how you are feeling, the chances are beyond slim that the other person will initiate the change you need/want to see.
Crazy business idea? Pitch it.
Want to follow your passion into a new role, new competence, new area? Speak up.
Need a mentor? Invite someone who’s career you admire to coffee.
Stressed and need a break? Say something.
Need help? Ask someone.
It is not okay to give up if you haven’t got the data. And you cannot get all the data passively. You must ask, speak, and give voice. Twice. Sometimes three times. And if you hear no repeatedly, don’t feel good about the answer, or the door slams…then use the data to make the next right move.
Too often we decide the next right move with less information than is useful. Too often we decide from fear rather than action. Too often we write the script of what we think will happen instead of speaking up and letting the data show up.
It doesn’t hurt to ask.