The power of asking

Published on 5 Sep 2014

Through the very act of asking people, I’d connected with them, and when you connect with them, people want to help you.

This quote comes from a brilliant TED talk by the musician Amanda Palmer called ‘The Art of Asking’. It’s only 15 minutes long and well worth a watch:

Amanda talks about connectivity, couch surfing, crowd surfing and the art of asking people to help and support them.

I watched Amanda’s talk for the first time a couple months ago. I’ve not stopped thinking about it on and off ever since. Amanda captures the essence of connectivity, the value of reciprocity, the relationship between risk and trust, the power of shame and the possibility when you trust each other.

When we really see each other we want to help each other.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to put Amanda’s theory to the test. I shaved my head, to raise awareness and funds for two causes very close to my heart JusticeforLB and Rowcroft Hospice (please visit their websites to learn more).

george without hair

Paul Clarke Photography

As well as raising a lot of money, I learnt a very important lesson for myself, about the power of asking. When I asked people for help to raise money and awareness, people dug deep and donated generously, some offered their time (to take photos and cut my hair) and most offered their acceptance and admiration.

There was a certain vulnerability to not knowing how people would react, what I would look like, if it would have a detrimental impact on my chance of getting work. On one level it was just hair and it would grow back, but on another it was a risk. Choosing to make ourselves vulnerable is not something we are encouraged to do.

We limit our possibilities before we even start, we write off an idea as not being feasible without even trying, we listen to the doubters and stay within our comfort zone.

When was the last time you chose to make yourself vulnerable and ask for help?

The power of asking is in your hands.