You have to Ask

This week I was teaching a 2 day course on Personal and Organisational Leadership. Stefan flew in on Monday to organise the logistics for the course. I met him at the Hilton Diagonal Mar hotel to take him for dinner at my favourite tapas restaurant in Barcelona: Cerveceria Catalana.

We jumped in my car and headed into town. As we sat in the traffic, I asked Stefan about his plan for the week. He told me that he was staying until Friday as he had another course to look after on Thursday.

He then said that he was thinking about trying to get tickets to the Champions League football game on Wednesday night. He said that he had never had the chance to go to a Champions League game and hoped it might be possible to get in.

I looked at him and said: “Great, you are coming with me”

He said “What?”

I said “I have 2 tickets – you are going with me.”

Wednesday night we watched FC Barcelona win 3-1 over AC Milan. It was an exciting game and a wonderful atmosphere. Stefan took lots of pictures.

If Stefan had not asked, it would not have happened.

As I sat next to Stefan at the game on Wednesday night, I thought about the simple statement that he had made to me about his dream – and how you have to ask.

You have to ask

If I want something, I have to let the world know that I want it.

If I do, the world can find ways of helping.

If I don’t the world gets on with sorting out other people’s dreams.

How do I let the world know what I want?

What are some of my dreams?

  • I want to finish and publish a book
  • I want to meet the worlds top experts in story telling
  • I want to give a speech to an audience of 5,000 people
  • I want to travel the world teaching leadership, persuasion and communication
  • I want to run the New York marathon in under 3:30
  • I want to spend a week teaching in India
  • I want to spend a week teaching in China
  • I want to teach a method of interpersonal communication that allows people to get their resentment, anger, frustration out in the form of words and not to build up into violence
  • I want to publish an article in the Intelligent Life and New Yorker and Atlantic magazines

7 comments

  1. Excellent post. As quite often happens it touched a nerve. However, and sorry to be a pedant about this, according to the post, technically, Conor did the asking and Stefan did the responding. The outcome was very positive and I am sure the question would have arisen eventually, but in isolation there was some good fortune. It reminded me of a story an American gentleman told me on a flight earlier this year: he was once delayed at Heathrow airport. Instead of waiting in the lounge he went to the bar to buy a drink. There was only one other person at the bar. A stranger to him. He greeted him and offered to buy him a drink. They began to chat. The stranger was Australian. As it seemed topical at the time, they began to talk about cricket at which point the American said he would love to go to a cricket match, especially one between England and Australia.
    The American is currently enjoying the trip of a lifetime in Australia watching the Aussies, ahem, thrash the English. He is there courtesy of the Australian who just happens to be head of security for the touring English team and who managed to provide tickets for EVERY day of EVERY game (there are five in total).
    Letting others know what you want can be very rewarding.

    1. No pedant noted! I love your story – there are so many opportunities that pass by each day because I don’t ask… I am not suggesting that I walk up to every stranger in every bar and ask “what are you searching for?”, but I guess both I need to ask my friends more about what their dreams are, and I need to communicate in very clear terms what my dreams are… and not assume that I know you, and you know me 😉 thanks for the story!

  2. Stefan Nad · · Reply

    Hi Everyone. This is Stefan. The Stefan. One that Conor mentions in the story. It is funny to find real situations I’ve been through being discussed on blogs 🙂
    It was a lesson for me as well. How easy it is if we formulate clearly what we want rather than depending on hope that surroundings will “get it” 🙂
    Thank Conor again for the experience. It was a blast!

  3. Excellent post! I totally agree on that. I have experienced that people didn’t notice what I was intending to express and I thought it was pretty clear for them to see. If you don’t ask, people don’t react! Congrats, Conor!

    1. Thanks Antonio. Sometimes its the really obvious stuff that is the most important to share 😉

  4. liviadeandres · · Reply

    Yes, you´re right. Sometimes you have to let people know what you want and some others you just have to do what you want to do. If you want to do those things, just do them… but please write a post about them all, I´m sure we will be very interested to read about them. At least, I find them all very interesting. Livia.

    1. Thanks Livia – “if you want to do those things, just do them” – that is true, but sometimes the obstacle is inside us and it takes work to know myself enough to see why it is that I find something difficult that another might find easy 😉

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