How the Fear of Asking Holds Us Back

Sometimes the universe sends us little wakeup calls, clues, or breadcrumbs to bring our attention to something we’ve been ignoring.

This year, my 5-year-old son asked me if we could put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving. Now, I hosted Thanksgiving this year, so by Black Friday I was wiped out. I just wanted to veg out on the couch and do nothing more than the bare minimum. Not dig out Christmas decorations, wrestle with Christmas lights, and put up a tree.

I told him I was planning to just relax all day & play games, that we could do it another day.

“Okay,” he said. “How about tomorrow?” It was a simple request. He wasn’t being whiny or pushy. He just gracefully accepted my “no” for today and asked if we could do tomorrow instead. He didn’t take my “no” personally.

In true mom fashion, I said “I’ll think about it.”

“Okay!” He said and bounced out of the room to return to whatever he was doing before we had this conversation.

You know what happened the next morning, right?

First thing the next morning, he ran into my room, jumped in bed with me and said “Mom, remember you are thinking about putting out Christmas decorations!”

I told him that was true. He asked if I was still thinking about it and I told him I was.

He said “You’ve been thinking about it for a long time, and you usually think about things for a short time. Can we put up the Christmas tree today?”

Again, he wasn’t being pushy or whiny. It was a simple request. He wasn’t worried about bugging me or being too persistent. 

Caught in the act.

I was still pretty tired, but I was struck by how unfettered he was by insecurity or worry about what I’d think of him. He just asked.


Our Fear of Asking 

How often in life and business do we avoid asking for what we want or need, simply because we don’t want to bug someone? How often do we take rejection personally?

If my son is any indication, somewhere between 6 and adulthood we learn this behavior. When we’re children, we don’t worry about bothering someone or take things personally. We don’t preface our requests. We just simply ask, the way my son asked “Hey, are we doing this or not?”

I’ve been in business for 10 years now and I still get caught in this little snag from time to time.

Tell me if this sounds familiar:  

Your partner, family, or clients constantly overstep your boundaries. Not because they’re bad people or doing in on purpose, but because you’ve failed to set boundaries and communicate with them.

You haven’t raised your prices in months or years, just because you don’t want to offend your clients or make anyone think you’re overcharging.

You have a ton of workarounds and do things the long way because you haven’t asked for materials you might need from clients or asked yourself to purchase the programs that will make a difference.

You resent people in your life because they aren’t giving you what you want or what you think you need, and they probably have no idea.


[bctt tweet=”What if we simply let go of our fear of asking, and stopped taking “no” so personally? ” username=”TeresaCleveland”]


What if we could approach a question and an answer with a completely neutral mindset? What if we could simply make our request with an unattached energy and accept and respect the answer, whether it’s yes, no, or “I’ll think about it.”

The answer doesn’t affect who we are, the quality of our work, or our worth.  

Think about it: yes and no are words. It may be disappointing to hear a no, but nothing has changed. You are the same person before and after the no. Nothing else in the world has changed. It’s completely your thoughts. That’s all.

Could you possibly look at that no as releasing you to move on to the next decision you need to make?

For example, if a client doesn’t want to work with you with your higher rate, you can decide to start marketing to prospects who will so that you can release that client.

This is not unlike any other muscle or behavior. The more you exercise it, the stronger it will become.

I challenge you to ask for something and expect a no. Embrace the no. Take it as a sign that there’s another option, and that’s okay.

Need help working out that behavior so you can accomplish your business goals? Let’s talk.  

Business Leaks

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