A part of my prize package as Miss North Carolina USA was a week long leadership and mental management intensive in Dallas, Texas. It was a part of a program called Eagle University and it gave me an edge. Other state titleholders and I listened to incredible speakers and did eye-opening exercises that made me feel empowered in my goal-setting. Plus, it was great to connect to the other women.
The week was more than learning how to win a pageant. It was about how to win in life; how to dream big and see our dreams transform into reality. I took away one simple phrase that still impacts my life today.
The answer is always NO until you ask.
When the instructor said this, I felt a wave of clarity come over me. My perspective shifted and any fear of asking for what I wanted or needed dissipated. The only difference between my current state and asking was the possibility of how a “yes, maybe or I can’t give you that, but I can help you with this” could bring me one step closer to my dream.
I felt empowered because I didn’t have to be afraid of rejection or hearing NO. There was nothing to lose.
I remember coming back home from the conference feeling invigorated. I went to Staples and bought a business card holder to organize all the business cards I had received at my appearances so far. I made a list of all the things I needed to prepare for Miss USA and looked through the cards to see who I could ask.
I needed a variety of about 20 outfits for my appearances at Miss USA, shoes, jewelry, makeup, personal training, skincare, teeth whitening, luggage, hair products and tools. Thankfully, some important things like my competition gown were already taken care of.
My family and I didn’t have the finances to buy everything I needed. I had to learn the art and power of asking.
“Ask, and it will be given to you” Jesus said in Matthew 7:7 NIV. “And whatever you might ask in My name, this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son” John 14:13 NASB.
It is biblical to ask for what we need. We can’t hope someone will read our minds. We can’t worry what people will think. I still make these mistakes. We have to be brave.
I interviewed Jennifer Garner for her movie, Miracles From Heaven. On the red carpet, her publicist said there would be no time for us to take photos with her. When I had my one-on-one interview with her later in the press junket, I didn’t ask to take a photo. I didn’t want to be seen as aggressive or inappropriate. I felt a little jealous later when I saw several of the other journalists had been bold and gotten a photo with her.
Our instinct is to be mad at people who get something we were told we couldn’t have. The difference in those people and us is that they asked for what they wanted. Maybe you are a rule follower like me and don’t like to ruffle feathers. I have never been rewarded or recognized for being a nice rule follower. I’ve actually felt overlooked because of it. Can you relate?
Even Jesus required the lame man and the blind man to ask for what they wanted. He wants us to want our desire enough to have the faith to ask for it.
By the time I got to Miss USA, I was proud that I had almost everything I needed entirely sponsored, loaned or gifted. The process of asking was certainly a lot more work than being able to buy whatever I wanted, but it taught me some valuable life skills. I learned to think like a business woman. I developed relationships. I learned how to pitch a mutually valuable ask to a company. The process of asking gave me substance, backbone and an edge.
In my interview at Miss USA, the judges specifically asked me about the cost of my interview dress and pageant wardrobe. In that moment, I felt proud to express how it is possible to live your dreams even without having the financial means. Much of it is made possible by the power of asking.
Here are a few pointers to help you craft an ask:
- Think from their perspective. If you were them, how would helping you be beneficial? What could you offer them? For instance, I asked a marketing expert to help me with a project after I offered to help him promote his workshops in LA.
- Remember you are giving someone a chance to partner alongside your dream and to help you. If they say yes, don’t feel like you owe anyone anything or that you need to apologize for being a burden ever.
- Be considerate, kind and direct in your approach.
- Be sure it checks out in alignment with God’s Word and will before you ask for something.
- Explain why you have chosen this person or company to ask, how it would help you and how it would benefit them.
What is on the other side of your ask? It can’t leave you any worse than you are now. So you might as well ask. Even if you don’t get a yes, you might get something helpful.
Asking= The Sparkle Effect
I don’t like asking for handouts or being dependent on anyone. It makes me feel like I will be trapped in owing people things. Will you help me break free of this stronghold? Help me to receive help as a gift, not as a loan with strings attached. God, will you please make clear to me what your will is? I often think I need to know specifics for my life, but really I just need to make sure the nature of my desire is in alignment with the nature of you. I want to delight more in you so my desires will start to match your will more and more and shape my nature.
God, will you please help me to recognize where I need help, to see who would look favorably upon me and then give me the bravery to connect with them. I have often not brought my hopes and requests to you because I feel you are too busy and my problem are too small. Please show me how to be strong and to boldly present my requests at your throne.
You created me to be relational and interdependent. I want my dream of _______ to come true and I can’t do it alone.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24 ESV
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7 ESV
You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. James 4:3 ESV
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6 ESV
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7 ESV
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13 ESV