One Word for 2013 — ASK

Chris Marlow —  January 3, 2013 — 10 Comments
MarlowAsk

Logo – Jon Stone

Last year, after having a conversation with Alece, I joined the OneWord365 community and chose the word Brave. Throughout the year, whenever I would get stuck or frustrated, I would remind myself to be brave. It may seem silly, but it truly impacted my life and how I worked through 2012. Sadly, I never actually blogged my one word last year!

This year — as per the idea behind OneWord365 — I have chosen a new word that has rich and significant meaning. My word for the year is ASK. Three letters. Simple, yet powerful.

WHY ASK

Leading an organization like Help One Now is truly humbling. God gave me a vision, I shared that vision with others and now it is also their vision. I asked them to jump on board and they did.

Because of that ASK, our work is growing and lives are being changed. Vulnerable kids are being cared for, leaders are being empowered and communities are being transformed.

The Bible tells us “We have not, because we ask not.”

The simple reality is this, work does not get done, without asking.

  • Bloggers ask people to read their blogs.
  • Writers ask people to read their work.
  • Musicians ask people to listen and buy their music.
  • Children ask their parents for EVERYTHING.
  • Entrepreneurs ask investors to back their dream.
  • Politicians ask you to vote for them.
  • We ask other people to pray for us.

We get nowhere without asking for someone to help us. We were designed to live in community, ask for assistance and serve each other.

The Power of Asking

Asking creates powerful action. For example,

  • I asked 8 bloggers to take a trip to Haiti. They did and now over 100 kids are sponsored.
  • Together, we asked YOU to participate in the Legacy Project and over 600 of you did. Now, a school will be built in Haiti.
  • We asked you to participate in fighting trafficking in Haiti. You did, and now we will recuse 20 kids who are victims of trafficking and/or orphaned.
  • We asked you to throw GS4O parties and over $150,000 was raised last year.

If we want to accomplish our dreams, if we want to live on mission, if we want to make a difference, we will all have to do one thing: ask for each others help!

And that scares us to death. We hate that we have to ask. Our flesh would rather control everything. We don’t want to be vulnerable.

Yet it is those who are willing to be vulnerable who live the greatest lives.

The Fear of Asking.

Of course, we do not live in the land of fairytales. Asking is a big deal. When we ask, we can create a better world. But, we can also be rejected.

Nobody wants to be rejected. It’s painful. It can cause us to shrink back and not pursue our dreams. We create all sort of excuses, and this is tragic.

If you write a song but you are afraid to share it, what’s the point? Art is created to be a shared experience, to move us, to tell a story. The song can cause us to dance, or cry, or smile. It is meant for others.

You cannot leave a mark on the world if you are too afraid to ask. (Tweet That)

I have recently asked some amazing friends and leaders to be on the Help One Now board. This was a big deal. I had to face my fear of rejection. I had to call and ask, but for days, I avoided it.

I knew that when I asked them, they would be put in an awkward position. We all dislike to say “no” to each other.

I asked one of them in person over coffee. They said yes. What a relief! I called the other three on the phone and asked them to consider joining. Of course, they all had a week to make a decision. So I waited.

This is a big deal. These folks have the capability of making Help One Now a much better organization!

I need them; they don’t necessarily need me.

So, I waited and on New Year’s Eve, I got one email with the first YES. And then, a few hours later, another email arrived with another YES. And two days later, another YES.

Every person I asked said yes!

Truthfully, I was scared they would say “no”. If that was the case, I was back to square one.

Fail Forward

However, the reality is that rejection can lead you to a better place if you let it.

  • President Lincoln was not voted in office the first time he ran.
  • Walt Disney could not get anyone to fund his theme park
  • The manuscript for Harry Potter was rejected over and over.

Can you imagine how different life would be if they had given up?

If you ask and get rejected, that “ask” still has deep value, if you are willing to listen, learn and not give up.

Maybe your writing is not good enough — yet. Maybe your vision is not clear enough — yet. Maybe your skill set is not ready enough — yet.

Whatever you do, don’t stop asking!

Asking Creates Action

When you ask, it creates action, and action can change the world. (Tweet That) Sometimes an ask can be big or small. But each ask creates a vulnerable moment.

  • Will you marry me?
  • Will you vote for me?
  • Will you donate to my cause?
  • Will you read my book and tell me what you think?
  • Will you go out to lunch with me?
  • Will you buy my product?

Why I Will ASK a lot in 2013.

I’ve realized that asking can create movements. And we need a movement of justice seekers in our world. I’m committed to asking every living, breathing human to join the Help One Now tribe so we can make a massive difference.

In 2013, I will ask you to journey with us and:

  • To be more generous.
  • To love more.
  • To sponsor more kids.
  • To throw more Garage Sale for Orphan parties.
  • To invest in our operations as an org, so we can hire the best staff in the world and run our organization at a high level and bring hope and light to the brokenness of our world.
  • To pray deeply for us, for we know we can’t do this without spiritual strength and guidance.

What are you asking for?

I hope and pray that you will also ask. In your heart, you have a dream, a burden, a desire. And you will have to ask people to join you in the small and large aspects of life.

It will be scary and hard. You will fail along the way. It’s okay. Really.

Don’t be afraid. And, what if they say yes? What if your dream comes alive?

  • What if people dance to your music?
  • Read and love your blog or writing?
  • What if she says yes to your proposal?
  • What if someone buys your art and hangs it on their wall?
  • What if people love our dream and want to help see it come alive?

Remember, you have not because you ask not. You will never know the outcomes if you don’t ask.

So in 2013, I’m committed to being brave and asking the world to get involved in Help One Now. I need you, we need you, they need you.

Many will say yes. Many will say no. But in the end, if I keep asking, more folks will say yes, and more lives will be changed along the way.

So, here is my ASK to you. If you enjoyed this post, leave a comment, tweet it or post it on your Facebook wall. I hope it’s a blessing to many!

Chris Marlow

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About The Author I'm the Founder/CEO of Help One Now. I live in downtown Raleigh with my family. I'm a justice advocate, who loves empowering leaders (and tribes) to launch movements for doing good. Would love to connect on Twitter or Facebook. Check out my monthly newsletter. Sign up to receive my blog posts via e-mail.
  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.vanderwell Tom Vanderwell

    *stands and applauds* and then gets busy asking……

    • http://www.chrismarlow.me/ Chris Marlow

      Yes – love the impact that you’re making w/ GLA.

  • http://www.gabbingwithgrace.com/ Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

    I LOVE LOVE LVOE this. Not just your word, but all the ideas in this post. I’m not one who has ever been afraid to ask (very rarely) if I need help and that has literally propelled me forward in so many areas. and yet, anyone given the sheer audacity to constantly ask for help needs to be brave enough to ask on behalf of those who don’t have a voice. That’s why I love so much what your doing here in your work with Haiti! If it would ever work at all, I would absolutely LOVE to be a part of your next Haiti trip. My 7 yr. old was deeply touched by the earthquakes and has prayed for Haiti on and off since then. It would be tremendous to be a part of doing the “asking” for Haiti. anyway, I really just meant to say what a fabulous articulation of truth this post is! May the LORD richly bless all you do in 2013!!!! (p.s. as an example, I just realized that in essence I asked to go on your next trip! hahahaa…. See, I told ya!)

    • http://www.chrismarlow.me/ Chris Marlow

      Grace,
      Would love for you to join one of our trips. We try to take a writer on each trip if possible. And thanks for taking time to comment and encourage. Shoot me an email and I’ll connect you w/ the right people. chris (@) help one now (.) com.

      Thx

  • http://twitter.com/InspiredRD Alysa Bajenaru, RD

    I absolutely LOVE this and will bookmark it to come back and read when I forget about the power of asking (often). Thank you!!

    • http://www.chrismarlow.me/ Chris Marlow

      Alysa,
      Thanks!!!

  • Ryan Weaver

    Beautiful and inspiring words, Chris Marlow. May your “ask” be filled with the bouyancy of the gospel.

    • http://www.chrismarlow.me/ Chris Marlow

      Ryan,

      Thx bro… hope you are well.

  • Whitney Kincaid Ludlow

    I so needed to hear everything you wrote in this post today Chris THANK YOU!! Very inspiring and I will be saving it to go back and read over and over. Tweeting and sharing for sure!! A lot burning on my heart, especially after this past weekend at IdeaCamp, now I need to be brave and not afraid to “ask”.

    • http://www.chrismarlow.me Chris Marlow

      Glad to hear this Whitney! Thanks!