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HoCoPro: A Story about asking for what you want.

"Asking for what you need with clarity and courage can be transformational for you, for your work, and for the relationships that hold it all."


Until this week, the last time I used markers to make block letters was in high school, when I doodled in algebra class. But there I was, in my dining room at 9:00pm with my 14-year-old son, outlining letters on a volleyball. After I finished, he colored in the words to form the question: “Will you ‘hit’ up HoCo with me?” He would take the decorated ball and a bag of candy to his girlfriend's game the next day, poised to extend the invitation.

This is part of a trend, called prom-posal or HoCoPro, which is a way for kids to create witty, meaningful gestures as invitations. Here are some examples.

I scoffed at the practice before I participated in it. Now, I am beginning to think it might hold a pretty good lesson for the grown-ups.

At the heart of many workplace culture issues is that we substitute avoiding, complaining, and pretending for asking for what we want and need. And when we do ask, we sometimes default to quiet, indirect, tail-tucked requests that do not honor their importance.

“I hate how so-and-so is always…”

“I wish so-and-so would just…”

"It's all good..."

"Hey, do you think maybe, possibly, would it be OK if..."

This keeps us and our work stuck. A good way to get un-stuck is to ask some questions:

  • How can you get clear on what you want?

  • What do you need in order to make that happen?

  • Who can help you?

  • What invitation can you courageously extend?

  • If you’re the boss: In what ways does your workplace encourage and reward asking for help? How can you learn more about what your staff want and need to be most successful?

Asking for what you need with clarity and courage can be transformational for you, for your work, and for the relationships that hold it all.

By the way, she said yes.

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