“Because I asked” – John Feinstein offers a business and life success lesson

Women don’t ask.  They don’t ask for raises and promotions and better job opportunities.  They don’t ask for recognition for the good work they do.  They don’t ask for more help at home.  In other words, women are much less likely than men to use negotiation to get what they want.

Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, Women Don’t Ask:  Negotiation and the Gender Divide


There are some business and life lessons that are true “basics.”  They are so obvious, so clear, so “common-sense” sensical, that we wonder how in the world we don’t all learn them and practice them.  But, the fact is, many people don’t practice them.

Like this one:

You might get what you ask for.
You will likely never get what you don’t ask for.

That’s it.  Leann to ask.  And then, ask.  And when you do ask, then you might see doors opened, with more opportunity and more success and more relationships, and more…

I heard the truth of this again last week on Fresh Air, the wonderful interview program on NPR.  Guest host Dave Davies was interviewing John Feinstein about his new book, One on One: Behind the Scenes With the Greats in the Game.

In the interview, Feinstein told about the interview he got with John McEnroe, after a 5 set win over Bjorn Bjorg.  From the transcript:

DAVIES: You have some great stories in here about tennis. And one of them I liked was when you followed John McEnroe into the locker room at the U.S. Open, because he wasn’t talking to anybody. And this was an example of you find – just getting access that other people couldn’t get and it paying off. Tell us what happened.

FEINSTEIN: Well, more accurately, I think it was that I knew back in those days that I could go into the locker room. And because Barry Lorge, my colleague from the Washington Post, was writing a lead and I was doing the secondary story, the sidebar, I had a little more time. And John had come in, he’d just won the U.S. Open, he’d beaten Bjorn Borg in five sets. This was a few months after their historic five-set match at Wimbledon. And Borg had come back from two sets down to tie it at two sets apiece. And I’ll never forget sitting there in New York City, John McEnroe grew up less than five miles from the stadium in Flushing, and the entire crowd was on its feet cheering for Borg. And I couldn’t imagine what that felt like for McEnroe.

He goes on to describe this locker room interview – it is a great story!  And here’s the key lines in the interview:

A lot of times people have asked me, well, how did you get Knight to give you the access? How did you get this guy to give you the access? The answer almost always is because I asked. It’s really that simple.

John Feinstein

“Because I asked.  It’s really that simple.”  Yes, it is.


Listen to audio of the program here.
Read the transcript of the interview here.

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