Little kids are downright geniuses! Do you want to know why? They are brilliant at making the ask for what they want in big, booming voices! So much so that we have to tell them to use their “inside voice.”

However, somewhere after our stint as a toddler, some of us start to lose our voice; not that we can’t speak, but that we don’t. We start becoming silent about what we want and what’s right for us. We don’t ask for what we want because we don’t want to come across as selfish or full of ourselves. We don’t want to sound stupid or be rejected. There are numerous reasons.

As a woman in business or career, that’s a huge mistake.

The days of being a hard worker and putting in your time and efforts in the hopes that you’ll be recognized and get the promotion, position, training,  or recommendation are gone. You have to be an advocate for yourself. You need to be able to speak up and ASK for what you want.

The ability to speak up and make the ask is critical for your overall career and business goals because guess what? People don’t know what you want. They don’t know what you’re thinking. They don’t know what ideas you have. They don’t know what you’re good at. If you aren’t willing to speak up, it impacts your credibility, your visibility at your organization and your promotability. Is promotability a word? Well, it is now because it blends with the rest of my point.

I have a friend who is the Chief Marketing Officer for a global organization. Recently, I asked her what was on her radar professionally this year, and she replied she wanted to do more client travel. I asked her why and she said there is a Chief Client Officer position that she wants. The client travel is a natural progression towards it. When I asked who at her organization knew of her desire for this role, she said “Everyone!” She said, “Each year I go to the corporate office in New York, make appointments with the entire executive team. I make sure I thank them for their support, I ask for their feedback, and I let them know what my goals are.” She is making the ask.

When will you ask?

Ask for clarification, when you don’t understand.

Ask for a promotion, when you deserve it.

Ask for a raise, when you’ve earned it.

Ask for a mentor, when you desire career or skill guidance.

Ask to be considered for the Board if you’ve got the skills to contribute.

Ask to learn new skills, take a course, whatever. #JustAsk

Remember, if you never ask, the answer is always no.

Debbie Peterson of Getting to Clarity speaks to and coaches women in #FinancialServices to break the patterns that hold them back and create the focus and performance that moves them towards the right opportunities in career and business.