I really enjoyed Amanda Palmer’s TED Talk some time ago on The Art of Asking, and I happened to come across her book of the same name which came out last year (how did I miss that?).
Amanda is an artist who really puts herself out there – she couch surfs (i.e. stays with complete strangers) when she is touring with her band, has crowdfunded the production of her albums, and used to make her living as a statue. It is one of the many ways she connects with people.
Now, she is someone who really makes herself vulnerable and has allowed her fans to write their names on her body (and yes, she was completely naked, and no, I won’t be doing that anytime soon!!).
The Art of Asking
While this book is about asking, it is also about feeling that we deserve to ask, valuing what we do (we are all artists in our own way) and finding your tribe.
And it is very true, how often do we want or need something, even in a relationship, but don’t feel we deserve to ask, we feel that we are begging, or we just can’t ask. You’re not supposed to do that.
I love this quote from the book:
‘Asking for help with shame says:
You have power over me.
Asking for help with condescension says:
I have power over you.
Asking for help with gratitude says:
We have the power to help each other.’
And my experience is that generally, if people are in a position to, they like to help you. Sometimes, it is more about where you are coming from, and how you feel about asking.
“Often it is our own sense that we are undeserving of help that has immobilized us,” she said. “Whether it’s in the arts, at work, or in our relationships, we often resist asking not only because we’re afraid of rejection but also because we don’t even think we deserve what we’re asking for.”
But also, no matter what we do, we are all artists, and need to value what we do. Amanda talks about her mother who was in computer programming long before I certainly knew what that was, and how nobody could see what she did:
‘You can’t see my art, but …. I’m one of the best artists I know. It’s just… nobody could ever see the beautiful things I made. Because you can’t hang them in a gallery.’
This brings to mind one of the cashiers in a local supermarket. With every item she scans, she has a comment: ‘ooh, they’re good value’, ‘I hate tuna’, ‘do you like those?’ so you have a running commentary on everything that goes through the till. She is so entertaining, and so funny. And I’m sure she doesn’t realise it, but she is so good at what she does, always cheers people up and makes shopping such an enjoyable experience.
We can all find value in what we do whether we are working in the home, have a job that pays a salary, or like me, is self-employed.
Sometimes the person we forget to ask is ourselves: ‘what do I need to ask for in this situation?’, ‘what do I need from this person’ or ‘what do I need to do?’
With this in mind, I took myself off to Kerry for a couple of days to breathe in that gorgeous sea air, visit Skellig Michael, which I had wanted to do for years, and had a trip to Dingle. Definitely, did my heart and soul good.
And sometimes, other people will be so mired in what they are going through that they don’t have the energy or wherewithal to ask what they want. So, remember to keep asking, what do you need, what do you want or what can I do for you?
So, here is me asking… do you feel you could or benefit from working with me, will you get in touch? I’d love to chat to you to see how we could work together.
Or do you know anyone who you think would benefit form working with me? Please give them my details, and ask them to get in touch.
Is there anything else you would like to see in the information that I send to you?
This is a great book. Great for anyone in business wondering about how to find their voice, their tribe, and for anyone looking for the courage to ask.
You can buy Amanda’s book on Amazon, or support your local bookshop.