Let me start out by giving you some advice. Advice you’ve probably received before if you’ve been around me at all. I was reminded the bajillionth time this week alone that this advice is still warranted. I’m going to say it again and again and again until I can’t speak anymore.

You want to do better in life? Surround yourself with people who challenge your thinking. Ask questions about your beliefs and seek out other opinions. Be open to these views. If their comments don’t make sense, ask again.

Just ask.

That ask, in itself, is quite an investment. Let me explain …

I had the pleasure of hanging out with the thought-provoking Elisa Camahort Page. If you ever want to get into a healthy discussion about the future, she’s your gal. I was sharing my ideas in regards to asking and the lopsided numbers of men vs women in asking. Men generally have more experience asking (about 500% more) and therefore are a) better at it, and thus are b) better at dealing with rejection. (Read By the time a man is 30 he’s had 500% more practice asking to see how I came to this number.)

Elisa and I started to debate the merits of the “men have more practice asking,” specifically their comfort and experience with hearing the answer “no”. What Elisa brought to the table was a new concept, the idea of investment. She asked if it wasn’t just the experience of the “no” but the timing of the “no”. She suggested that women tend to get a “no” later in the process. While women experience rejection just as frequently, more time, thought, emotion, etc. has been invested before the hammer falls.

Think of this in terms of dating. [Please put aside the anachronistic issues and humor me for a moment.]

  • Scenario 1:
    • Guy asks a girl out on a date.
    • Girl says “no”.
    • Guy moves on.

Low investment for a “no”.

  • Scenario 2:
    • Guy asks a girl out on a date.
    • Girl says “yes”.
    • Guy and girl go on a date.
    • Girl now waits for the next ask.
    • Guy never texts/calls for a 2nd date.

Eventually, Girl gets the hint that he basically said “no;” however, quite an investment has been made.

For women, the investment is not in the ask itself; it’s at the point she tends to be when she makes the ask. Elisa’s point is that the investment of time, energy, and emotion to garner the courage to ask is at a higher level for a woman than it is for a man. This might then explain some of a woman’s general nervousness and fear about the potential for rejection when asking for that promotion or a raise. Women are afraid of being hurt. Our thought (in a roundabout way) is that as a woman experiences more pain from the rejection, she is likely to try to protect herself by not asking in the first place.

Like many new ideas, we never came to substantive and thorough conclusion during our discussion. There are so many variables. I still have more research and case studies to do on this particular philosophy.

So what do you think about this? Did this resonate with you?

Do you think that your experiences with the post-investment “no” have impacted your ability to put yourself forward?

We’re both curious.

My latest idea, the next phase of my asking philosophy, is that because men are so used to doing the asking, it’s not surprising they don’t aren’t comfortable when women do the asking. As much as guys may say they get excited when a woman asks them on a date, there’s a social rule that’s been broken. This break from the norm is uncomfortable. If this is the case, then why should we be surprised when that same social rule is broken in the workplace?

Stay tuned for more on this idea.

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