Are you good enough? Smart enough? Do people like you?

If you’ve attended one of my live workshops, you’ve probably heard me explain research showing that:  people are six — count’em six — times more likely to do for you, than we are willing to ask for. 

I’ll bet you can think of someone that’s gotten something or done something you should have gotten or done — all because they were pushy — unashamedly willing to ask and keep asking for whatever was on their mind.  If we could just summon up the courage to ask ourselves, we’d be able to lay claim to other people’s willingness to help!

But it’s more than that.  It’s more than simply having the nerve to ask.

For many, it’s all a symptom of social anxiety disorder (SAD).

Lots of us have SAD to some degree or another. While it’s my job to speak before large stadium-sized crowds or handfuls of folks that barely fill a conference room, I don’t recall ever being nervous. But, put me in social setting with people I don’t know and I’ll feel awkward and out of place till the ice breaks (then watch out dance floor!).

New research from Washington University in St. Louis suggests that SAD not only affects what you get but lessens your perception of the strength of your relationships.


  1. 112 people were paired in a study with a non-romantic friend.
  2. Each pair completed an evaluation of the strength of their relationships.
  3. People with social anxiety had a strong tendency to report that their friendships were not as strong as their friends saw it.


It’s estimated that 13% of the U.S. and European populations have been diagnosed with some form of social anxiety disorder and lots more probably have SAD to some degree but haven’t been diagnosed.

When you think about what you should be doing to advance your career or deepen your personal relationships, you probably think about developing a new skill, reading a book or getting in better shape.

However, real advancement of our goals may be as simple as forcing ourselves to ask for what we want and believing that people care about us as much as we care about them.

Reminds me of that old Saturday Night Live skit when the character Stuart Smiley offers his mirror his daily affirmation, “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me.”


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