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Do You Ever Dare?
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Ask "DARE I" before asking "MAY I"

People trained in sales and communication skills develop mastery of the art of asking. Sometimes that's done at the expense of the art of listening.


In professional sales training programs the point of asking is to gain permission and attention from the prospective customer or client. The script reads "May I ask you this question?" and that's coupled with silence from the one asking and non-verbal compliance from the one answering. 

When answers are eventually given...active listening should kick in.
A simple principle but one that is incredibly difficult for many trainees to practice. It's only three words, "May I Ask" followed by a well-rehearsed or spontaneous question. What gets in the way? For myself the answer is a lifelong learned habit/mindset of telling more than asking. 
How's Your Self Image - Dr Al Is In
It's a mindset that obeys the "ABMAPHD," rule in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf":
You start out learning things to get a Bachelor's Degree (BA) in college, then go on to learn more stuff to earn a Master's Degree (MA) and finally by the time you earn your PhD you've learned more and more about less and less so that you know everything about absolutely nothing (and you are self-conditioned to tell everything in classroom lectures.)

Of course, after 50 years of being an observer of business I am finding that I do know quite a bit more than the "nothing" I began with as a young PhD college professor. For example, I know that "May I" won't come out of one's mouth if he or she hasn't resolved the "Dilemma of Dare I."

A dictionary definition connects "dare" with "having enough courage or confidence to do something; to not be too afraid to do something."

Simply put, people are afraid to ask questions, and they have a thousand learned ways to avoid or deny the issue.  Here's how avoidance  conditioning repeatedly appears in everyone's language experiences:

  • "I dare you!" And at the highest level, "I double-dog dare you!"
  • "Try it if you dare!"
  • "We wanted to (run, laugh, hide, or disagree) but didn't dare.
  • "I didn't dare stop for fear of (some catastrophe)."
  • "She dared to question my authority!"
  • "Dare to Soar (if you think you have the wings to fly)
  • "It was better than I had ever dared hope for."
  • "Don't you dare do that!"

The point of this brief list is that people have heard these statements throughout their lives and have become subconsciously conditioned by them. For some that conditioning has taken an identity called "Don't Dare, Don't Take Risks, Stay Safe." And as a consequence these wonderful people change as little as possible throughout their lives. Think of Garrison Keillor's residents in "Lake Wobegon" if a compelling auditory example will help you visualize an image.

But what do a few born-and-raised residents of any small town or city feel they have to do no matter what?  They permit themselves to move away because the conditioning process worked differently on them. They allow themselves to dare, and to take risks because daring to do is in their DNA.

It was left there by their ancestors who took the extraordinarily daring risk of leaving their country of birth to make a better life in America.

For many that "better life in America" became so comfortable that it slowly dissolved the "Will to Dare More."
If you want people to move back to a community, challenge them to dare take up the opportunities, to take a risk and to grow. Of course the permanent residents will need the ability to listen to what the returnees are telling them. And those efforts will make a huge difference in the community mindset because they enhance rather than stifle motivation.

Finally, I love the question Sheryl Sandberg anchored her book with, Lean In:  "What would you do if you weren't afraid?"  What would you dare to try if you weren't afraid of trying? What would you dare to do if you could tolerate the risk of failing? 

To dare is to risk...to take a chance...to embrace the uncertainty of the dare so that it motivates, changes and grows the "You" in you!


Don't Lose That Thought, 
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Allen M. "Dr. Al" Raffetto, Ph.D.
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