As with so many of my posts, this week's topic was inspired by some really great conversation. It skirts a concept many of us may view as common sense, yet, in reality, can be the farthest thing from it: that the hard work we do will be noticed and rewarded by others on a consistent basis.
Now, don't get me wrong -- it's not as if all the good deeds and sacrifices we make fall upon deaf ears; anyone with a decent set of manners will thank us for that work to varying degrees. However, as much we appreciate that thanks, a lot of the time we have larger aspirations for a reward than a figurative pat on the back and "good job, well done". We can often carry an expectation, or even an intention, into our work with the hope of a specific reward -- perhaps a raise, promotion, referral, or wider recognition. When these wider hopes are not met, we feel let down, unappreciated, and can even become resentful. At these times, it's commonplace to blame our bosses, colleagues, clients, or families for not recognizing us "properly". In response to this, I ask a simple question: did you specifically ask for what you wanted?
Assumption can be a real bugger. So can a lack of communication. The scenario I've described combines both into one, massive, super-frustration. We assume the work we do will be rewarded the way we hope (or expect), yet consistently do not communicate that hope as a means to frame how we wish to be rewarded. Obviously, we don't get to name our rewards in most circumstances. However, when we want a promotion or raise, for example, we often work with the purpose and intention of it being our reward. We hope that our efforts are recognized, and that our reward is bestowed upon us in kind. The thing is, how many of us are aware of companies just looking to hand out raises and promotions? How often do you hear others lament about how things never go their way, and how nothing good ever happens to them? Again, I'll ask, "did you specifically ask for what you wanted?"
It's one thing to simply ask, yet an entirely different one to validate your request. If you want that promotion or raise, go ask for it -- but be prepared to justify the ask. Highlight the value you create, your intentions and aspirations for your elevated status, and how you will be of further benefit once rewarded. Asking without providing value or reasoning is a very quick way to get yourself nowhere.
This kind of 'boldness' may cause some trepidation, as too often we perceive asking for something as being rude or an inconvenience, and leave ourselves unfulfilled and potentially resentful instead -- exactly why asking for what I want is one of my largest limitations. I fear (there's that fear again!) being perceived as an annoyance or nuisance to others by asking for anything -- help, a favour, etc. -- and avoid doing it quite readily. I've come to understand that I cannot blame others for not rewarding me in the way I'd like to be, as I've not taken the responsibility of communicating my hope or intention to them.
It's actually quite inspiring and amazing what others will do if you simply ask from a place of authenticity and kindness; a true testament to the positivity within humanity. I challenge every one of you to be confident in yourselves, your truth and positivity, the value you create, and ask for what you want. I imagine you'll be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.