My wife shared a really good article on Twitter the other day.
I couldn’t resist. I had to click it.
Hats off to the writer or editor for that title. It’s a good one.
And hats off to my wife for sharing it. She shares good stuff all the time.
Anyway, the post was a good one. I kind of scanned through it and then read it. The point that stuck out to me the most was #5:
You don’t ask for anything
The basic idea is that people who feel successful don’t ask for anything. They don’t feel needy. They’re happy with what they have. Yes, they still push themselves to accomplish more, but they don’t need anything from anybody.
I wanted to expand on the idea of asking for things…
A Guy That Asks For Favors
There is a really sweet guy that I met within the last couple years. He’s an older guy. He’s chatty. He tells old stories. He asks questions. He’s a good guy.
But he has this reputation for asking for favors. He’s a farmer and likes to do things without spending too much money. Who can blame him? He’s also known for pretty a pretty good success as far as money goes, but others that I talk to say that he can be a little too much with the favor asking.
And I can kind of see that. He asks for someone to help him with something. One time, no problem. But once it gets beyond that and once it gets beyond a reasonable amount of time and effort (maybe one hour…maybe one day) then it starts to rub people the wrong way.
We all have our faults. I’m no saint. I’m certainly a sinner.
This guy just happens to kind of take advantage of people’s willingness to help him out. And it seems that over time that he’s built this reputation that is viewed as negative.
I don’t know how it’s affected his life. I only see it from the outside. He hasn’t asked me for too many favors. He did early on and I was busy and unable to help and it really hasn’t gone beyond that so I don’t know for sure, but I see how others talk about him and I get it.
How You Make Others Feel
When you start asking for favors you run the risk of making people feel like they’re being used. And if they say that they can’t help out you make them feel guilty.
People like helping others, but not if it goes beyond reason. If you ask for too many things then you’re putting the other person in a lose-lose situation. They either feel used or they feel guilty for not helping.
Putting someone in that situation is obviously not the way to build relationships. It’s not a good way to treat family, friends or those you work with.
Do You Feel Successful?
Like the author of the article was working on…the fact that you feel the need to ask for a favor could result from the fact that you don’t feel successful. Obviously that might not always be the case. If you fall and break your leg and can’t get up then you need someone to help you up. That’s different.
You might not feel successful and not even realize it. That’s why I clicked on that article. I know I’ve thought about it before as far as thinking about things in the future. Thinking that “if only this would happen then I’ll be happy”. You have to be happy with what you have now otherwise you’re always going to be chasing something.
So if you are asking for favors often then step back and think about how you feel about your own success. Think about why you’re asking for favors and see if you can figure out the source.
What You Can Do For Others
Another point made in the article was that people who feel successful look more at what they can do for others. They see how they can help people and look for hints and situations where others are in need, but that maybe aren’t asking for it.
If you’re asking for favors and realize it and want to change then a good place to change would be to look for ways that you can help others. Instead of thinking about what you need or what others should do for you start flipping it and to help others even if they don’t ask. Look for ways to make their lives easier. Look for ways to make their lives better. Look for ways to help them reach their goals.
And the big key is to not look for anything in return. If you do it right you’ll feel good about yourself. You won’t need to tell anyone. Just enjoy the feeling that you get internally of helping others.
One final point here is just on working with people and making sure that both parties seem like they’re fairly compensated. That’s one issue with asking for favors. It’s fine once in awhile, but as we looked at before one party can start to feel used or guilty depending on their response.
I know that with the guy I mentioned earlier that he has a reputation for being cheap. He’s always looking for a deal and isn’t willing to pay what others figure is proper compensation.
I get that. It’s good to look for the right price, but another way to look at life is that you can’t always look to pay others the lowest price possible while expecting to get the highest price possible for yourself.
When you’re in business you want to be properly compensated (and paid on time) for your work. Others appreciate the same.
I know that I’ve asked for favors before and have felt bad about it. I’m sure there are even more times when I’ve asked for favors and haven’t realized that I was crossing the line. That’s kind of why I wrote this article. I wanted to kind of make myself more aware of the fact that I might be asking for too many favors and how that can make others feel. Maybe you’re doing the same? Hopefully the thoughts above can help us figure out the reason and work on a better way to approach things.