Asking is NOT Shameful

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April 1, 2019
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April 15, 2019

Mastery Monday – Asking is NOT shameful.

Ask for exactly what I want is a key Think Like A Negotiator strategy. People are oftentimes afraid to ask because they fear rejection. However, based on history, maybe asking and the fear goes much deeper than simply a fear of rejection. How about shame?

Yesterday I attended a training put on by Fair Trade LA about fundraising taught by Rachelle, a math professor from Chicago who is very experienced in fundraising. It was very informative and interesting.

One of the things she brought up was how asking for help (fundraising and other help for yourself) brings up shame for people and that was systemically created by our system. She challenged us to choose a time to sit with that. I did that this morning after reading an excerpt from the book Poor People’s Movement.

Here is an excerpt from that book “The more
important function of the relief system was accomplished, not by refusing relief, but by degrading and making outcasts of those few who did get aid. At the time of the Great Depression the main legal arrangement for the care of the destitute was incarceration in almshouses or workhouses. ”

So basically people were shamed if they asked for help or imprisoned if they were destitute. In the 1800’s people were imprisoned for not being able to pay debts. Today people are actually put in jail for not being able to pay fines and fees in the courts.

We have been systematically indoctrinated to believe that asking for help is shameful and that we just need to work harder and not ask because asking means you are lower than low. While this was for basic needs back during the depression era, I can see how it’s integrated into asking for anything, especially funds for a non profit or mission trip like I did/am doing.

I talk about how I felt fear of asking and thought why would anyone donate to send me on a mission trip and why should I have to ask. I have this what I call “row your own boat” syndrome meaning I think I should be able to do everything without help. Some of that comes from growing up with alcoholic parents and having to raise myself and some of it is probably this systemic idea that asking is shameful.

Check out the book Poor Peoples Movement. You can google it and find it in PDF form. I haven’t read much but what I’ve read so far is very eye opening and I’m going to incorporate some of this into my training’s on asking. Speaking of training. I’m holding a 1 day training on how to never get ripped off again on June 14th in the LA area. We are finalizing venue selection now. Save the date. email for more details.

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at

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