Don’t Ask, Don’t Get!

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By Leslie Sturgeon, Women Inspiring Women Founder

Don't Ask Don't Get HeaderI heard Gary Hirshberg, founder of Stonyfield Farms, say that once at an event. He was referring to things in the business world such as “don’t ask for someone’s business, then you don’t get someone’s business” or if you don’t ask a vendor to do something for you that would greatly impact your bottom line, or enhance your product or how you operate your business, then you don’t get the resolution you need. You get the point!

Since that time I have turned that saying into a mantra for my life. First, it is a conversation I have with myself. If I don’t ask myself the hard questions, I won’t know what I want in my life, career, relationships, etc., and therefore I won’t get it! And if the answer isn’t abundantly clear, then I keep asking myself harder, more probing questions – sometimes down 15 or more “layers.” Take Women Inspiring Women for example . . . I ask myself what would be best for the group, how can I/WIW serve the members best, how can we grow and in what direction should we grow, what would catapult the success of the group and the members, what resources and programming would be beneficial, and on and on. If I don’t get completely clear, then I and WIW will never go anywhere.

There have been times when I have used this mantra to help me achieve a goal such as selling more tickets to an event. If I didn’t ask people to help me spread the word, for example, I wouldn’t get more registrations. If I didn’t ask a media outlet to run a press release, then I would not get the media coverage that was essential for an event to succeed. Or ask a local business to help us out by becoming a corporate partner. Don’t ask, don’t get.

When you think about it, this mantra works in every life situation. If you don’t ask for what you need or want, nothing will ever be different than it is right now. If you don’t ask for a certain raise, you won’t get it. If you don’t ask your kids to do chores, they won’t!  If you call the doctor’s office and they give you an appointment time that doesn’t work, ask to change it. You don’t know until you ask! It is not selfish to ask for what you need or want. What’s the worst that will happen if someone says, “No?” Nothing ventured, nothing gained as the saying goes!

Don’t ask, don’t get has become part of my daily life. Can it become part of yours? Can you begin by asking yourself what you want – what you really, really want (shout out to the Spice Girls)? Will you promise me you will then ask for whatever you need to make that happen? And one more thing – can you promise me that you will try it for a week, always being mindful of incidents throughout the day when you can remind yourself that if you don’t ask, you won’t get?  You can do it, girlfriend.


Leslie Sturgeon is the founder of Women Inspiring Women and a lifelong entrepreneur. She embraces her imperfections while learning about herself and others, supporting the fabulous women in the WIW community, journeying through life with optimism, and laughing so hard she snorts or pees (sometimes both simultaneously).



  1. kathy sousa says:

    Thank you for the Great article Leslie!
    Drilling down through the layers is a very helpful tool in so many circumstances!
    It’s so easy to sabotage ourselves into inaction by being fearful of the word “NO” or immediately envisioning a negative outcome rather than visualizing a successful outcome and asking yourself those, what, how, who questions that will aid you with finding the path to the results you desire.

    • Leslie Sturgeon says:

      Thank you, my friend. I think so much of what we do and think is surface level and when we really dig deep, even just a little, we realize that we might just feel something completely different than what we have been telling ourselves. Several years ago I asked myself about my current relationships (significant other, clients, friends) and was quick to say that “Jane” and “Susan” were my best friends. I dug a little deeper and asked myself was it just because I spent a lot of time with them or how did they make me feel, did they lift me up, believe in my dreams, etc. I then realized that they were the opposite of that. So my constant checking in with myself and bringing it down several layers has served me so well and a skill I continue to develop, even if the answer is a negative one. Just means I need to change things up.xoxoxo

  2. Leslie, You model this behavior in everything you do. I remember years ago when I launched the new 4 Walls (now HomeTips) website. You asked me who my sponsors were, then you taught me what that meant & I was absolutely amazed at how easy it was to get those sponsorships to cover my costs. A lesson learned that i’ll NEVER, EVER forget … so THANK YOU!!!

    • Leslie Sturgeon says:

      Oh Tina, your comments make me so happy. The sponsorship bit has been extremely hard for me as I oftentimes took a “no” as something personal. It took a lot of work to realize that it had little or nothing to do with me, but maybe it wasn’t a fit for the other person/business. And sometimes that “no” simply meant “not now.” xoxoxo

  3. This is great, Leslie. Dave (my husband business partner) has been reciting and implementing this phrase
    for as long as I can remember. It’s helped both of us in our business and personal lives. He often reminds our kids (young adults now) of this concept, and I know it has contributed to their assertive and self advocating characters. I love the ways you have presented the value of this mind set in many different ways/ situations. Bravo Leslie. Thanks once again for your wonderful insights!

    • Leslie Sturgeon says:

      Thanks for sharing that this mantra plays a big role in your life (and your children). When you think about it, it really does apply to all things. I love that Dave has used it as well – he is my hero as he is so laid back 🙂

  4. Leslie, too true! My mother used to say ‘no one is a mind reader’. How does anyone know what you want unless you ask for it! Of course, easier said than done. This has always been one of my biggest personal challenges–not asking for what I want. Not sure why I am so scared of the word ‘no’. It only has 2 little letters in it! But it has shaped my life from the time I was a girl. It’s a constant struggle to overcome. Thanks for the words of encouragement!

    • Leslie Sturgeon says:

      Great to hear from you, Gail. I think it is a skill that we constantly have to work at and improve as it is never easy to hear the word “no.” I also think we have to change our thinking that by asking for something, we are being selfish, needy, demanding, etc. We all fall into these mind traps 🙂 Miss you, hope all is well.

  5. Ursula Dubreuil says:

    Hi Leslie! Wonderful article! My father, always said to us growing up “if you don’t ask, what’s the worst that can happen? The chance is 50/50 for a yes or no.” Ask! You never know what the answer will be until you do! I started my own publication 3 years ago. With the May 4 issue we’ll be entering into our fourth year! (Go Like my Facebook page to see a this weeks copy. Goffstown Business Connection. If I wasn’t raised with that mantra, I would never had succeeded. Although, some days it’s really hard to hear that aweful word “no,” you just have to keep plugging away. Really hoping to attend this years conference! So happy for you! You’ve done an outstanding job with WIW. We all need that pat on the back and sometimes a good push in the right direction! Have a wonderful Summer!

    • Leslie Sturgeon says:

      Great to hear from you, Ursula. You know from being in sales, too, that you have to ask, ask, ask. Not always easy but something we have to get through. It is a skill and muscle that we need to develop and when we do . . . look out world! Would love to see you – whether at the November Conference or another time! xoxoxo

      P.S. Here is the link to your Facebook page for our readers who want to show you some love:

  6. Moe Daniels says:

    Leslie, you continue to be the consummate cheerleader and champion of womens individual and collective success. How fortunate we are to have your persistent support, good cheer and sage advice. We are all blessed by your gifts!

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