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It’s all a load of bull!

october 2022

A few weeks ago I took my daughter to Birmingham City Centre. As hosts of the Commonwealth games, the city had added some nice little events, decorations and features. Including the bull.

Not heard of the bull? Let me explain.

The bull was a whopping 10m high, mechanical sculpture that debuted in the opening ceremony for the games.

It took 5 months to build, and takes 6 people to operate. After the ceremony, the bull was placed in Centenary Square, where thousands of people gathered to see it in action and take a selfie or two.

Now, as a proud Brummie, I like to get involved in iconic things that happen in my city, so Keeley and I took a trip down there to check him out and spend a day touring our hometown and checking out some of the sights. I must have a friendly face because as we were wandering around, a little old lady approached me.

“Can you tell me where the coach station is?” she said.

 “Sure” I replied. “It’s 5 minutes down that road there.” 

 “Can you call me a taxi?” She said.

 “Sorry love, but a taxi can’t come here. It’s all one-way roads and it’s too short a distance for them to bother coming out.” I replied.

 “Can you walk me there then and carry my suitcase?” She answered.

So I picked it up and trotted her down to the coach station. Refused the twenty quid she tried to push into my hand and waved her off on her journey.

Now, I do like to do a good deed or two. I’d already done one that morning when a baby dropped her toy and I had to run after the parents to hand it back (and believe me, running is not something I choose to do often!) But it got me thinking… That little old lady was quite something. Not only did she have the balls to approach a big, 6ft Brummie man and ask for directions, she then didn’t hesitate to ask for what she wanted – even though it was a fairly big ask and one that was likely to get rejected.

We can learn a lot from this old granny – let’s call her Ethel. How many times as a business owner have you shied away from asking for what you really want because you’re afraid you might get rejected? How many sales have you failed to pitch for because you didn’t think you were really in with a chance?

I think we could all take a leaf out of Ethel’s book. Let’s start asking for more. Even when it seems unlikely. Even when we think it will be a “no” – just ask. I bet you’ll be surprised at how many yesses you get.


PS – This topic reminds me of a TED Talk I saw a few years ago. It’s called What I Learnt From 100 Days of Rejection. It’s worth a watch.