Chuck Fields
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Don’t hold back! Ask for what you want.

Chuck Fields at LucasFilmHave you ever held yourself back just because you didn’t ask for what you want? I know I have. If you don’t ask the answer is always “No”, but if you do ask, there is “Always” a chance of a "Yes".

The last few months have been an amazing ride for me, personally and professionally, because of the simple advice of asking for what I want. Ironically, I’ve taught my youngest son this for years and he does it well, but sometimes I forget to take my own advice. I’ve only realized recently how easy it can be to fall into the old trap of holding myself back because either I didn’t think asking was worth it or possibly because of some hidden “fear of failure”. Enough!

I put this to the test recently when I decided to take my oldest stepson Matt to Silicon Valley to celebrate his Bachelor’s degree in computer science. It was my hope to really get him even more excited about the tech field before he begins working on his Master’s degree.

When planning the trip initially I had one contact at a startup who I thought Matt would enjoy meeting and gain some valuable knowledge. Somehow deep inside me I thought, “Am I holding back from greater opportunities?” I started reaching out to contacts I had, or contacts I wanted, at the top players in the field, including Apple, Facebook, LucasFilm and Google. I thought it could be a fantastic opportunity to meet with them to get a real feel for Silicon Valley. On the flip side I have an amazing nephew, Sean, who practically lives in Silicon Valley and agreed to reach out to several successful startups. Why not? Again, if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.

To my amazement, several offers to meet came our way--nearly a "Yes" in every case. First there was a tour of the Facebook campus, coffee at LucasFilm, and lunch at Apple. Gracious invitations by amazing professionals who volunteered their advice and wisdom to help a young college grad plan his future. In no time our schedule for the week was booked.

The week turned out fantastic! We thoroughly enjoyed meetings with professionals all over Silicon Valley. Yes, I even got to tag along on a few. The tour of Apple’s HQ and lunch was simply over the top. And meeting by the Yoda fountain at LucasFilm brought out the kid in me for sure. But I think I hit the goal for the trip. Matt and I now have wonderful memories of some really cool people and places, and he has made some great contacts—all because we didn’t hold back and simply asked.

So whenever I really think about something that I want, and as long as it’s reasonable, I remind myself not to hold back. Just ask.

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