I think it is time for my periodic tune-up related to making unreasonable requests.
Making Unreasonable Requests
Ask and ye shall receive, right? Making unreasonable requests is not as unreasonable as it may seem. I use the term unreasonable here to mean big. Unreasonable requests are big requests that you are generally too chicken to make. Outrageous requests make great things happen. And talk about a bridge! A well formulated request, when accepted by the person you ask, can reroute your progress and enable you to zoom to success. Unreasonable requests that are turned down can also serve as important catalysts because often a compromise solution is offered that is still higher than you would have normally expected. Mahatma Gandhi said, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get,” and I believe this to be true.
An unreasonable request is something you do that is OUT there a bit. Not ins a selfish "it's all about me" way because the best unreasonable requests are win-win propositions.
I wrote a half-page email a few days ago that pitched an unreasonable request. And while it is still too soon to call it a done deal, the person I sent the email to not only said, "yes," he also kicked up the idea a couple notches making it a potential career and life changer.
Give it a try this week!
I wrote about making unreasonable requests in Two Weeks to a Breakthrough because I believe that powerful, generative conversations can move mountains.
Make Reverse Requests
Here is another great way to have an impact and make things happen. Make reverse requests.
What's a reverse request? A reverse request is what happens when you help others make requests. It can look and feel a few different ways:
1. You know what someone wants and you offer it (or some version of it).
2. You engage in a conversation that helps someone articulate what he or she wants. Then you ask what you or someone else could do that would be most helpful.
3. You provide the courage - courage on loan - that helps someone else make something big happen.
I have a pal who is very conservative when it comes to being assertive about her hopes, dreams, and wishes. She does not want to be a bother and feels a bit selfish to ask (I am not putting words in her mouth, we have talked about this).
Here's the thing - it's not selfish to make requests, because when we are at our best everyone wins. Anyway, that's her struggle and she never asks. Every now and then, I put myself in her shoes and share what I think she would ask if she had the courage. I have been right, I offer the help, she says "yes" and things surge forward for her a bit. You have a friend like this too and you can do the same.
Here's another example - totally true. When Bill and I decided to get married, I asked him a question that changed our lives. Here's the question:
If you could live anywhere and be doing any kind of work, where would you live and what would you be doing?
I love this question and recommend that you ask your significant other this question tonight. Bill said he'd like to have his own consulting company (he's a geologist) in Seattle. We lived in New Mexico at the time. My response - "why don't we do that," and the rest is history. We have been living in Seattle for 9 years and his consulting business is thriving. This conversation put focused actions into motion. I got a job at Amazon.com (I needed a real job while he took time to build his company) and four weeks after we got married the relocation began. Bill resigned from his stable state job he had held for 10 years. We dove into the unknown.
Here's the funny part - I had never been to Seattle before we decided to move there - never been to the northwest. It did not really matter because I could see this was a dream of his and I had confidence he would not be attracted to a lousy place. The first time I touched Washington soil was for the interview with Amazon.com.
Would we have moved to Seattle one day anyway? Perhaps, who knows. Did it happen much more quickly because of the reverse request - absolutely. Here's the point - Bill had it in his head, probably for years, that he would like to live and work in Seattle. Your friends and family have dreams too, and I bet some would surprise you.
When you can make something BIG happen for something else - BAM! - that's cool and feels great.
We can all make a big difference by using reverse requests. Reverse requesting is a tool we can use to help catalyze breakthroughs - it's a way we can help and serve others.
Be a Yes Person
When someone encourages you to go for it, to take that next step, to spend the money to make it happen, to sacrifice one thing for a potentially bigger thing, to be selfish (in a good way) for a while, your whole world can change. When someone supports you fully without asking questions or doubting you, it feels great. When someone takes the initiative to think about your dreams and nudge you in the right direction, that's love.
Why not be that someone? The world is filled with "no" people, restrictive procedures, red tape, delays, and good intentions. When we encounter a yes person life feels warm and smells like spring.
I love being a yes person. I have to remind myself, mind you, we are all so well programmed to slow people down and tell them why something is not going to work.
Everyone has goals, dreams, and many people let their dreams sit in the distance out of a sense of duty or routine. We can help catalyze breakthroughs by being the person who encourages them and supports their journey.
Don't wait until someone comes to you - many people never will. Take the time to ask your friends, teams members and loved ones what they want to accomplish - the new reality they want to create. Here's a favorite question of mine:
If you could be living anywhere, doing any kind of work, where would you be living and what would you be doing for a living?
I think I have mentioned this question before but it is worth mentioning again. Ask this question of three people this week and then be a yes person. Talk to your significant other about this question and then identify the changes that need to be made to make the dream come true.
"we can do that"
"why don't you go ahead and book the trip, I think it's a great idea"
"I'm behind you 100% if you want to ____"
"you can do it, I am sure - go ahead and get started and let me know how I can help"
"why not give it a try"
"don't worry, we can adjust a few things, I think you should do it"
"do you want to make arrangements to do that next week?"
"can I help you research the options?"
"what a wonderful idea, I think you should go for it"
I feel very fortunate because I feel totally supported for all my hair-brained ideas. "Take 40 days and ride around the country on your motorcycle alone. I will worry a bit, but go ahead, it sounds fun." When you have yes people in your life, you do different things and manifest bigger possibilities. And when you are a yes person, you help change the lives of those around you.