Managing the Ask

If you feel overwhelmed in life or seem to be putting out fires all the time without much forward progress, then consider how you manage expectations.

I can understand that when you want to be helpful or valuable that it is easy to jump at requests. Or sometimes, you may not know that you are being asked for something because of your eagerness.

Someone may want something from you and you see it as helping. Depending on your relationships and the frequency you are asked for help, consider managing the ask with your own ask back.

Someone might say,

“Can you get help me put this presentation together?”


“Could you get this work done for me?”

The ask can come in many different forms. And the thing is that there’s not a cost for asking.

But you can create one for those that might freely use your time, attention or money by simply asking back.

“Sure, can you do me a favor first … ?


“Not a problem. Glad to help. How about you do this first and then get back to me and let me know what you find.”

You can be simple, polite and free. You can lead by seeing if the person requesting your resources is willing to pay a small cost to value the request they make of you.

Why is this so important? So you don’t become resentful. You don’t have to be subject to the whims of people. We live in a fast moving economy and you have goals of your own and only so much energy.

If people can get something for nothing, surely they will. But that’s not their fault. It’s simply deal making.

And you want to exchange value with the traders that are willing to pay a cost, however small, to show a gesture of good faith.

How can you practice asking back to make better deals with others and yourself?

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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