"Every communication is either an act of love or a cry for
-from 'A Course in Miracles'

Steve Hardison is a somewhat legendary figure in the coaching world, not only for his incredible effectiveness but also for the jaw dropping fees he charges and his ability to ask pretty much anyone for pretty much anything.

One of my favorite stories about him dates back to his time as a missionary for the Mormon church. One time, Steve had gone up to a house begun speaking with a man who answered the door about the church's teachings. While no doubt he had experienced doors being slammed many times over the years, this man went a step further and actually punched him in the face and Steve's nose began to bleed. Without missing a beat, he asked the man for a towel to help stop the bleeding so they could continue their conversation.

What is it that allows one person to ask and ask and ask for what they want while others stop themselves before even popping the very first question?

One answer is that it's our ability to not take the word "no" personally, no matter how dramatically that "no" may be delivered. And one of the things which can make it considerably easier to do is to know that that response invariably comes from one of three places:

1. Fear that you will "make" them hear something they don't want to hear or do something they don't want to do

2. A lack of information or understanding of how what you're asking will be of benefit to them either directly or indirectly

3. A genuine awareness on their part that they do no want to be, do or have what you are requesting

If their response is coming from fear, you don't have to take it personally because it is about their internal state, not you or your external request. If it's coming from a lack of information, it's still impersonal - it's up to you whether or not to continue until they have enough information to make an informed decision. If they're saying "no" because they really don't want to, it's still nothing to do with you - it's simply a statement from them to them about their willingness to trust their own intuition, awareness and inner knowing.

So why do we take "no" so personally?

Because when we make our requests, we tend to put our self-image and self-esteem and even physical survival on the line along with whatever it is we are requesting. Instead of simply asking for the sale, the job, or their hand in marriage, our self-directed subtext gets rolled into the question and what we are actually asking goes a little something like this:

"Would you please do as I'm requesting *and* approve of me, affirm me as a human being, ensure I have enough money to survive and let me know I'm worthy of your acceptance?"

That's a tall order for anyone, let alone someone you've never met before!

Here's a simple exercise I call "the circle" which will help you to prepare for any request you want to make without making or taking things personally...

Today's Experiment:

1. Imagine you are sitting in the very center of a circle.

2. Now, imagine that all the people who love and care for you take their place in that circle and are looking directly at you in a loving way.

Don't limit yourself to "reality" - your circle can include people from your past, present and future; it can include pets, characters from books and movies, even divine beings. Keep filling the circle until you feel almost overwhelmed with an absolute knowing that no matter what you do or don't do, you are loved exactly the way that you are.

3. When you're ready, imagine someone you want to make a request of standing outside of the circle. Continue to feel the love and care of your circle as you ask them for what you want from them and for them.

Once you've got the experience of being safely inside, there are a number of fun ways of making use of the circle to recondition your thinking about how easy it can be to ask for what you want:

*From within your circle, imagine the person says "no" out of fear that you'll somehow "make" them do something. Can you see their fear? How else could you respond to put them at their ease?

*Now, imagine them saying "no" because they don't have enough information. What could you do to make sure they really know how much what you are asking will do for them, directly or indirectly?

*Imagine they are saying "no" because they simply don't want to. Tune back into the loving faces and energy in your circle until you can hear that "no" and know it cannot harm you in any way, shape or form. Then imagine yourself
asking person after person again and again until some begin to enthusiastically say "yes" to your request!

*What's the worst thing you can imagine someone saying or doing in response to your request? Is it someone punching you in the face? Shouting at you? Pointing at you and laughing and whispering to their friends?

Whatever it is, connect with the energy of your circle and watch them do what they do, knowing that it is nothing to do with you and everything to do with their own unhappiness, confusion and misunderstanding.

4. Take your circle with you into the world. Tune back into it in the moments before you approach anyone about anything until you know that no matter what happens, you are safe, you are valued and you are loved.

And for those of you who want me there, I look forward to seeing you in your circle!

With love,


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