The One Super-Powerful Key to Getting What You Want

Luke's BallDo you have a goal, maybe a dream or some desire that you want but have no idea how to achieve it?

Something you really want yet instead of seeing the path on how to achieve it, all you can see is that it seems so far away.

This is not uncommon and it is not an indication that you are failing in achieving this goal.

You just need to employ this one super-powerful key to get what you want.

Before I share this, let me first say it is not complicated.  No 14 steps, no complicated system, nothing that entails mantras, changing your entire lifestyle or howling at the moon.

In fact, it is so easy my pups do it.

The key: ask.

That’s right, simply ask for what you want.

Bold, right?

Might I go as far as saying it is daring.

So often we look at something or envy others and say to ourselves, “I want that.”  But that is as far as we go.

We give plenty of reasons (or excuses) as to why we cannot have it.  Perhaps we think it is too good to be true, we are not ready, we are not worthy or we are too afraid to admit or go after what we really want.

This could be a new job, a new connection, a reconnection, an introduction, an invitation, learning a new skill or improving upon an existing skill.

No matter what your “it” is, the thing that is preventing you is the thing that is the key to achieving it: asking for it.

Start asking.

Ask someone in a position similar to what you want for their time.  Ask them how they got there, do they have any suggestions or advice.  Ask a company what they are looking for when recruiting a certain position. Ask a mutual connection for an introduction.  Ask your lost connection how they are and if they would like to meet for coffee. Ask for help from someone who is an expert at the skill you wish to improve if they would assist you, mentor you or teach you.

The things that frighten me the most are the things I do not ask for.

When I was about 4 my mom took me to her work and I met her co-workers, one of which had a candy jar on her desk and asked if I would like a piece of candy.  To which (according to my mom) I replied, “No, I would like two, please.”

When I was 14 I asked my dad to show me how to hot-wire a car.  Don’t ask me why.  My dad just calmly looked at me and said no.  My little mind told me there was no harm in asking.  Although I think I had my dad worried for a bit.

The bigger things in life, I did not ask because of fear.

Afraid of looking stupid, afraid of being told no, afraid of rejection or afraid that once I gained this thing or knowledge then I would not be able to employ it, keep it up or comprehend it.  Something about fear of success or fear of failure.

I realized one day that being safe in not looking stupid or being rejected or whatever laundry list my little voice in my head gave me kept me safe in an unsafe place.  I did not grow, I did not expand, I did not learn – I remained stuck in my uncomfortable safeness.

I’ve looked stupid, I’ve been rejected and I have forgotten more than I have learned.  But I keep asking.

I keep learning, I keep meeting new people, I keep achieving goals in my persona and private life.

Start with asking, then the doors start opening up.  It is the first step.  It also provides a commitment.  Once you have asked, you have said it out loud, you have confirmed to yourself that you truly do what it.  Once you take that first step, the next comes easier.

The picture attached to this blog is one of my pups, Luke.  Luke is the happiest dog I have ever known.  He is a master of asking.  He is never sidelined by rejection.  If he asks me to play ball and I tell him not now, he spits the ball at me and goes and plays with another toy.  He leaves the ball with me so when I am ready, ten we can play.  He does not see “no” as an uncompromising “never”, he sees it as a “not now”.

For a dog that has not figured out in five years that every time I go into the shower I will not get sucked down the drain and will, indeed, reemerge; he sure is smart.


Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Brand Strategist & Career Coach

Certified Professional Resume Writer




Sometimes You Just Gotta Look Like a Damn Fool

looking like a foolWhen I was little I had this idea for my life.  Not anything in specifics, but a more general “oh, this is what grown up will look like”.  For some reason I imagined five kids – four boys then a girl and doing something outdoorsy or sports related.  Not actually playing a sport, I knew even then my growth spurts were very limited.


Then life happens.


I have one child by birth – a wonderful son who will be 20 in two days; but I was blessed with three step-children, two boys and a girl.  My son also has a couple of wonderful friends who adopted me as a second mom so I wound up with five boys and a girl.  Life exceeded dreams.


That whole outdoorsy or sports thing – yeah, that never happened.  I went to the corporate jungle for awhile which is much worse than any contact sport my kids ever played.  I learned the hard way what the unwritten rules were and how to “fit in”.  I was “ized”.


“Ized” is when you work for a larger company and you get molded into their ideal.  Merill-ized, IMB-ized, Lilly-ized – you get the picture.  You learn the lingo, get your hand smacked a few times for stepping outside the norm and generally learn to play nice in the sandbox.


I was in the process of being “ized” again by another organization when I realized I’m not really an “ized” kinda girl.  The things I wanted and my passions were beyond the norm in that environment.  I started breaking the mold a little and I started getting very red hands.


That is when I had the crazy idea to start my own business.  At first I was afraid to say it out loud, even to my loved ones.  It sounded crazy in my head so how would it sound out-loud?  I was afraid of being ridiculed.


But the “ized” continued and a bigger battle raged on so I took a chance and reached out to someone I respected deeply in a similar position and brought the idea to her for her thoughts.


She hated it.  She completely foo-fooed my ideas, my dream, my passion.  She told me it would never work, it was a horrible idea and I was better sucking it up where I was.


I felt like a damn fool.


I stepped outside my comfort zone, came to someone with my fragile little dream in my hands and she not only spit on it, she ripped it from my hands, delighted in tearing it to shreds then set it on fire and then told me to clean up the mess.


Best damn fool moment of my life.


Without that horrific experience I would have never been shocked enough to get mad.  How dare she be so cruel to my dream.  It wasn’t silly or stupid, it had merit and damn it I could do it.


Let’s remember a key point mentioned above – she was in a similar role.  Ding-ding-ding: she was threatened by the idea.


I don’t know if that was true or if she was just having a really bad day, but I chose it as threatened and it gave me fuel.


I started researching, I started getting more excited and I decided if I was going to look like a damn fool I was going to do it all the way.


I quit my job and dove in to my own business.


That was over 4 years ago and I have never looked back.


Oh, I see her now and then and she is always pleasant and I always bite my tongue in wanting to say, “Told you so.”  I’m a damn fool, not an idiot.


The point to my little story is sometimes you have to follow that crazy idea and just look like a damn fool no matter what the consequences.  It is your dream, it is your desire, it is your passion and it needs you.


It is fragile and innocent and unprotected in this “ized” cruel world so treat it with care and show it that you believe in it by being bold, being a fool and taking that chance.  Some may ridicule you but that’s ok; you just look at that dream and say, “I’m still here, tomorrow we will try again.”


Do you want to go into a new industry – then do it.  Oh sure, easy enough to use the Nike phrase, but really, that is all it comes down to.


Research it, figure out everything you can about that industry: how it works, who works in it, how did they get there, what do they do, what is important for the future of the industry and how can you make a single connection.


With that one single connection you can start moving mountains one spoonful at a time.


Do you want to go further in your career?  Then what do you need to do to get there?  What steps do you need to take, what processes do you need to master, what skills do you need to learn?  Take the bold steps in figuring them out and then going after then.


It is up to you to nurture that dream and it is not easy.  I learned a long time ago that the things that matter the most, the things we want the most and mean the most are the ones that make us go through the most difficult situations in the possibility of looking like a damn fool.


So go out – be a fool and reap those rewards!



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.


Oh, So You Are THAT One In The Family….

My father passed away several years ago, but before he did he told me he thought I should be a Forest Ranger.


My mom and I still go back and revisit this odd moment in history and remiss, “What the hell was he thinking?!”

I have come to the conclusion that he was thinking that he could get into any State Park for free to go fishing, go on the lakes to practice celestial navigation and go camping whenever he wanted.

But had he seen the hats?  Seriously.

He had long passed when I decided to start my own business.  I know he would have never told me, “What the hell are you thinking?” even if he might have thought it.  He was incredibly supportive.

My entire family was supportive when I jumped on the crazy train and started my own business.  I am very, very blessed with such a wonderfully supportive family – even if I did have to explain it a few times.

Some people are not so lucky.  They may decide to take a new direction in their career, take a step down or abandon 10, 15, 20 or 30 years of a career path for something completely new or different.  When this announcement is made they may not receive all or any of the support that they need.  Then what?

It is difficult to say the least.  It is not like making these types of decisions are easy.  To compound your own fear, anxiety or worry your family beats you up or belittles you about it.  Not fair – I call foul.

Not that it can stop it.  I wish I were that good.

That is when you have to do one thing that could be the hardest thing you have ever had to do: have complete faith in yourself and shut out the naysayers.

Support and encouragement are important and sometimes you just get screwed because the only one in your corner is you.  It stinks, but it is not impossible to continue with your dream.

It is your decision, your life.  If it affects others than I hope that you had the good sense to discuss it with them; however at the end of the day it is your decision.  The bottom line is you are going after something that makes you happy, a dream, a desire, a wish, a goal – however you define it if you have the passion to pursue it then I assume you have the passion to “defend” it.

I say “defend” because if you are in a collaborative relationship and this is going to really affect someone else then you may need to “defend” your decision.  Explain to them why it is important and also what steps you are taking to mitigate any negative affect to them.  Be responsible  now, if others are depending on you then you do need to take them into consideration and not be completely selfish.

If all plans are in place that allows you to pursue this goal then go for it.

If your friends or extended family do not appreciate your passion or respect your decisions then perhaps it best they not included in your planning or execution.  Something along the lines of lead, follow or get out of the way.

Now, I am all about serving as devil’s advocate – however, there is a difference in making sure your sibling or friend is making a huge mistake and dissuading them based on your own issues.  Don’t assume that everyone is not being supportive; perhaps some are just making sure you have seen something from all sides.  That is supportive.

If you feel like you are constantly defending yourself or even – heaven forbid – apologizing for your actions then stop.  Do not let them trample on your dreams.  They do not live your life, they do not make your decisions and they do not wake up and face you in the mirror every morning.

If they don’t like it fine; then they can respectfully keep their opinions to themselves.  If they are unable to do so then you may have to make another hard decision: to not communicate with them during the building of your dream.

Sometimes we cut people out of our life; it is an unfortunate occurrence; however sometimes it is necessary.  Unpleasant, sad, but necessary.

I once made a decision that some of my family did NOT support; in no way, shape or form.  They were not happy with me at all.  We could not agree to disagree so I cut them out for a while.  It was a painful time and very hurtful; however I knew I needed to do what I was doing and they were making it worse for me by being negative so I eliminated the negativity.

After some time they realized that I was not going to give in and change my ways and we were able to slowly come around to civil discussion and ultimately build a mutual respect for each other.  It was a hard lesson to learn but a very valuable one.

So if you are “that one” in the family that they all think is crazy for pursuing some odd or misunderstood dream – good for you!  Welcome to the black sheep of the family club.  You are in great company.   The dream may not work out, you may fail miserably but when all is said and done you did it.  You stood on your own, pursued your passion and you went for it.  Now that is my kinda sheep!

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

I Would Like At Least Two Please

When I was about five or six one morning my mom took me to her work and introduced me to the girls in the office. One woman had a candy dish on her desk and asked if I would like a piece of candy, to which I replied, “No – thank you; I would like two please.”

At that time my mother did not correct me or tell me that I was being rude for asking for more than what I was offered, she was too busy blushing from the laughter of the ladies in saying how very polite and forward I was. At the time I did not see how this was a societal error because in my young mind I answered the question honestly and I said please.

My grandmother worked for a company eons ago that at one point moved to another location. She told her boss that she would be changing her working hours because she did not want to deal with the rush hour traffic. Any clue where I get my personality? Anyway, I remember hearing my mom talk about how she couldn’t believe my grandmother was so forward in making this statement. Again, being young, I did not understand why it was a bad thing – it made sense to me.

So often we grow up with very well intended people in our life that continually tell us to be grateful for what we have, don’t ask for more than we deserve, and how millions of kids are starving in a third world country. These messages are meant in a positive way I believe; however they really do us some major harm as adults.

I never used the starving kid’s line to get my son to eat anything – honestly he didn’t care about anyone but himself as a child so some obscure guilt trip was not going to work. Instead I got creative, like when he didn’t want to try brussels sprouts – he was very little and just learned he could control and create certain body noises/functions. So I told him that they made him fart and he ate them all up.

I do believe we should be thankful for what we have – absolutely. I am blessed with so much in my life and everyday I give a tremendous amount of gratitude for the here and now, and for that which I am striving for. If only our parents had modified those statements just a bit just imagine the difference. “Be thankful for what you have and what you are going to achieve next.” It would have formed the opinion to accept that we want more and to develop the courage to go for it.

So often I talk to clients who, after coaching, it is uncovered that they really want more than where they are; but they were embarrassed to admit it. The first reason why they have such hesitancy is they think it is beyond their reach. Once we break it down to show that they have the skills, abilities and tools to accomplish that goal the real reason comes out – they don’t think they deserve it. In one way or another there is an overwhelming sense of not deserving better for ourselves.

Whether it be because we feel if we want more than we are not being appreciative of what we have, which is in no way a direct correlation; or that we have always been discouraged from giving ourselves the freedom to think big. But if it is going to make you happy and it does not cause harm to anyone else then how on earth can it be a bad thing?

It isn’t, we just psych ourselves out.

This happens across the board in personal and business arenas. “I’m just a (insert title here) I don’t have the experience/education/skills… to be a (insert dream title here).” Well, you have to start somewhere. If you don’t have the education, go get it. Maybe you do have the skills you just haven’t looked at it from the dream job perspective to see that you have been using them all along.

“Oh, I could never (talk to/ask out/be with) that guy, he’s way out of my league.” According to whom? My family is such a mixed bag of personalities and professions that I was blessed to know them as family, not as titles. Whether it be the top level executives of a powerful company to the front line employee – I love each member of my family unconditionally and thus learned to get to know people for who they are, not what they do.

Years ago I went to Keeneland for the races and was given the box passes – you know, passes for the so-called hoity-toity section. I struck up a conversation with an elderly gentleman with whom I had the pleasure of spending the entire day. We discussed the races, the weather and did a lot of people watching. At the end of the afternoon when he gave me his card and told me that the next time I was in town to let him know and he would secure our places in the boxes. When he handed me his card it was only then that I learned of his title – the president of a very prestigious bank.

Over the next few years I made several trips to the area and the races and we spent many lovely afternoons watching the races and talking. Turns out that the bank presidency was a slowing down position for him, he had served on the SEC, been an advisor to some of the foremost experts in the financial industry – he was a living legend; but to me, he was my friend Gene.

The first time I introduced my son to Gene I did not tell him about his great successes, I wanted him to know him as Gene. After getting to know him, I did tell my son of Gene’s background and he was quite impressed, but fortunately, he just saw him as that neat old guy that got us in the place with the good food.

Allow yourself the opportunity to want more for yourself – to allow yourself to accomplish your goals, be happy and have that which you want in your life. Whether it be a better job, the person who makes you smile without effort or a material item. If these are the things in life that make your life better than don’t just take the one offered, go for at least two please.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Career Coach-Strategist
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.