It Does Not Hurt To Ask…..usually

Call it cliche or wisdom, the phrase “It does not hurt to ask” seems simple enough. Is it?

First of all, it depends what the request is? If the request is offensive, explicit, or harming personal dignity, the person being asked may be hurt, annoyed or pissed about it. Unless your request is based on a guiding principle in your life, you may want to re-consider or think about re-phrasing. If someone is talking on a cell phone in a movie theater and your principle of politeness is violated by this action, by all means, ask them to stop and don’t worry about the consequences. My guess is you’ll regret not speaking up.

Second, are you taking advantage of someone? Try to phrase to create a win-win situation or mutual benefit.

Third, it may seem intrusive. If you are asking for someone’s time, money, or assistance, be prepared the response may not seem very receptive.

So, those are some bad potential outcomes, what about the positives? Making a request may simply improve a particular moment of your day, improve your day overall, and make you feel better about yourself for having the confidence to ask and exerting control of your environment. I find often there is more regret in not asking than in negative outcomes from the request. Making a request makes you feel courageous!

An example of regret occurred today. Jen went out early to do our grocery shopping. She had a substantial order and knew it would take a fair amount of time to process this through the limited space of the self-checkout (especially since you have to leave product on the bagging sensor or risk setting off the screeching sirens). She saw a clerk who might be working a register, but she wasn’t sure. So, she struggled with her order and getting miffed the clerk was not offering to assist or tell her if she was open.

Shortly after Jen starting checking herself out, another customer came by. The clerk again was silent, but then the customer asked if she was open. The clerk said “Yes I am” and then rang her out before Jen was done with the self-checkout.

Obviously, there was an opportunity for customer service here, but also an opportunity if Jen had just asked. She was mad, and I’ll bet she’ll ask the next time. Was Jen’s effort to be polite and give the clerk an opportunity to offer the service worth it based on the outcome she experienced. I would say it was not.

Jen was the inspiration for this post today, but in our marriage, she is much better at making requests than I am. I am learning from her example to get better at this.
Two books that I have read give great techniques on how to get better at making requests. In Tim Ferriss’s book The Four-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, he gives great techniques on taking “Comfort Challenges” to improve your self-confidence and ability to confront strangers.
In his book 20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course For Mastering Your Life Right Now, Robert D. Smith talks about trying to get to 50 “No’s” each day. His experience is that he could never get to 50 No’s in a day without getting a “Yes”, which was extremely good for his business.
In developing my own podcast Outstanding Ohioians, I have to get out of my comfort zone to get great guests on the show. Some have said no, and some have not called me back, but I keep trying so I can meet these folks and share their stories on my show. I am grateful that I get the opportunity to keep getting better at asking every day.

What would you like to get better at asking? Think about it, I bet not asking is causing you some stress.  Have a great day!

Imagination… can take you anywhere you want to go

As adults, do you feel as if you have lost your ability to imagine things?  Do you feel you are a creative person?

I find it interesting that if you ask a child if he/she is artistic, they will most likely say yes, unless this has already been squashed by an adult.  Children can sit in their house’s play area and take marvelous adventures to outer space or become a superhero.  You ask an adult the same question, they will likely say no.

Two things in the last few years has changed my response to this question.  Number one, I re-defined personally what my definition of creative is.  I used to narrowly define creative as someone who is skilled in arts and crafts.  Now, I define creative as someone who can solve problems in any area, or get their imagination to visualize a solution or think through something.  One way I stretch my imagination is by reading a book or listening to a ball game on the radio.  I am creative thinking about ways to teach customer service or basketball techniques to reach different audiences.

The second is getting a “second chance” at childhood going through it with my boys.  Recently, my boys and I were playing in the sandbox and we had left the tractor toys in the car.  Ryan quickly gave me the assignment of being the “bulldozer”.  I watched him play the “excavator” by scooping sand with his hands, so I transformed my hands into a bulldozer to do the job he gave me.  Sawyer played the front end loader building up the sandpile.

To the first point, I conducting a twitter/facebook poll asking the question whether people would rather watch baseball on TV or listen to it on the radio. Opinions were nearly split, but a slim majority did prefer listening to it on the radio.  I enjoy visualizing the game in my head and the anticipation of waiting to hear what happens.  I have many happy memories of doing work growing up while listening to the games on the radio with my dad and brothers.

I was surprised that most of the kids I asked watching baseball on TV.  In fact, they gave me a weird look for suggesting the radio.  Generation gap strikes again.


Should I be surprised?  Kids are stimulated in different ways these days.  They play hours of video games and watching others do things.  There is such a decline in actual physical movement that it makes me sick to my stomach.  I am not sure I am ready to re-define my definition for such sedentary activity.

I mentioned that books are a great creative stimulant for me.  If you are looking for two books that will get you pointed in the direction of imagining a better life for yourself, I would recommend the following books and the action plans presented inside:

In addition, find a TV/radio, or internet program on a particular interest/hobby of yours, close your eyes, and listen to it.  Your mind will soon be jumping with creativity.

Happy thinking!




My speech to our student management staff on personal development


Ron’s Leadership/Personal Development Resources/Notes


If you believe it, you can achieve it.


In customer service, it is important to realize patrons don’t know/understand our terminology.  We must interpret, ask questions, create links, and ask for affirmation.


You will be the same person five years from now that you are today, except for the people in your life and what you learn.


Expectations of children, why not adults?


  • If reading is important for children, it is important for you!
  • You are the average of the Five People you associate with the most.  Are you getting value in these relationships?


Utilize the University On Wheels, Exercising Your Body and Mind.


What’s on your Twitter feed?  Best way to filter your information


John Wooden Pyramid of Success


Next play…but reflect later for improvement


Starting is half-finished


Fail forward


Parkinson’s law


Don’t worry about what to do in the next 3 days, get to work for the next 15 minutes


30 day habits


Andy Andrews Seven Decisions


  • The Buck Stops Here
  • I will seek wisdom
  • I am a person of action
  • I have a decided heart
  • Today, I will choose to be happy
  • I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit
  • I will persist without exception


Find someone who is doing what you want to do, and develop a relationship with them.  Search for podcasts, YouTube subscriptions


Don’t want to purchase books, use your free library card.


One resource will lead you to another, which leads you to another in an endless web of resources, learning, and skill acquisition.


Here are some resources I believe will aid tremendously in your personal development::


The nap time jingle!

It’s nap time, it’s nap time for this little boy,
It’s nap time, it’s nap time for my pride and joy,
You’ll feel better when you get some rest,
You’ll wake up soon feelin’ your best,
You’ll be full of zest,
After your nap time my little boy


Have a great day, I hope you get to take a power nap!

Trust Your Process….Second Thoughts often lead to playing catch up

Over the last two weeks, I refined and defined my morning routine.  I want to be up at 4a to complete at least two of my projects before going to work or being daddy.  I try to map out my day the night before so my subconscious is aware.  Often, I am up before my alarm goes off.

This morning presented an opportunity that I did not take advantage of.  Ryan woke me up yelling “daddy, daddy, help me, help me!”  Because (a):  it sounded like an emergency (b):  I did not want him to wake up Sawyer (c):  he was calling for me, not mommy; I jumped from my bed quick as a flash to see what ’twas the matter.

After feeling my way through the darkness, I found a light and turned it on before going up the stairs (no toy monsters grabbed my feet today) to Ryan’s room.  The “emergency” was that Jeffrey the giraffe fell out his bed.  He could have bent over out of bed to pick it up, that’s how close it was.  Nevertheless, I am always happy to see him so I did what he asked and told him to go back to sleep.  What amazes me is how he knows when one of his pets has fallen out of bed….it’s dark and he has around 15 stuffed animals or toys in bed in with him.

After returning to bed, the clock said 3:39a.  Ryan had gotten me up just before my alarm, what a wonderful opportunity!  Instead, I rationalized that I needed more sleep and reset the alarm to 5a, which then became 5:26a after snoozing the alarm multiple times.  The Ryan wake up had me feeling fresh and raring to go….laying down and sleeping extra made me groggy.  Also, I forgot that I have a meditation/reflection time around 6a in which I get a nice refreshing power nap.

After getting going, I was not able to accomplish much this morning, and felt like I started the day behind.  The lesson I learned is… the process I have laid out.  I gave it a great deal of thought and I am extremely focused and productive when I do so.  If a process is not working, you learn from it later and make changes as needed.  Trust YOUR process.

I would love to hear about any processes you use to get the most out of your day.  Take care and thank you for reading.




Cold showers are quite a rush!

You may think I am crazy, that’s okay.  I don’t even believe it myself.  For the past 16 days, I have been taking COLD showers to start my day.  Why in the world would I do this?

The following videos below provide some great insights on the benefits of cold showers.  I have gleaned two tremendous benefits, which I would like to explain.

I truly believe comfort is the enemy of great.  For me, it is about the process of trying to stretch myself each day and always striving to improve.  I am tremendously blessed and full of gratitude, but I also want to strive to be the best person I can be for my family, friends, and community.  Stretching yourself to grow and improve is not a comfortable situation.  I have noticed that I have been doing some things recently outside of my comfort level, which is exactly what I wanted to accomplish.

The accomplishment of doing something not many others would be willing to do makes me feel tougher and proud of my achievement.  Feeling achievement is a great way to give your day the energy that blessing deserves!  I get out and am ready to get to work and get things done.

These are two great videos from my “mentors” regarding cold showers.  I hope you enjoy.  I would love to hear what you enjoy doing to get that feeling of accomplishment and pushing the envelope.  Read this link to see some of the health benefits of cold showers.



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