A Positive Attitude is Not Enough

A recent LinkedIn post mentioned that it’s the relationship that counts, not the ask.

It had several likes, and I can see why. In this profession, many are “confrontation-reluctant” (an “ask” is confrontational). It’s a soft, vanilla industry that we’re in, and we like the easy way out.

The top 5% in our industry know that fundraising is marketing and sales and that an “ask” is critical.

Unfortunately, a segment in our community would rather play touch football. Sorry, but major gifts and planned giving is a full contact sport.

I had a great relationship with my wife before we got married. Why did I get married? Because I made the “ask.” So which one is more important?

Most of the time, they both are.

You will never get the gift unless you ask, although I have seen some instances in which people get the gift with no relationship at all. (In fact, I’ve even see marriages without relationships — and that’s why therapists are in business.)

So, let’s talk about attitudes in our careers. Is a positive attitude alone a must to succeed? No. With a positive attitude you need to “act.”

Hmm … ask and act. So much in common:

  • They’re both three letter words.
  • They’re both action items.
  • They’re both difficult tasks.

True Story

Several years ago I believed it was all about relationships too. I spoke at conferences (for free; even paid my way), gave out free books, free advice, made friends and built up solid relationships that I still maintain. At one conference in Houston, a lady walked up to me and said, “Viken, you are wonderful. I can’t believe how much you taught us today … all for free!” The next morning I discovered that she signed up for the services with another company. Why?

I never made the ask.

So I woke up. And asked myself: Is it the relationship, or the ask?

It’s both.

Bottom Line?

Positive thinking alone is worthless, just as is carrying on a relationship without making the ask.

You need both. Attitude and action go hand-in-hand. You can’t take the easy way out to succeed.

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