Closed Mouths Don’t Get Fed…

In recent days I’ve decided to take a different approach to this blog. Obviously, I haven’t posted anything in months, and I know it’s because I began to make something that could be relatively simple, very complex. So instead of feeling like I need to develop a post so perfectly written that it can be a chapter of a book, I’ve decided to just write when it feels “right.”

That said, I just had one of those moments. It was a moment that reminded me of a quote shared with me by one of my brothers, the poet, author, artist, Kenneth Zakee.  Once I was debating on whether or not to ask a question of someone. An affirmative response to this question would’ve surely made a positive difference in my life. Conversely, I made the denial of my question ‘the end of the world’ . In fact, I’d  built a mental monster associated with the “no.” I ended up not asking the question.  When I shared this with Zakee, his response was summed up in a simple quote, “closed mounts don’t get fed.”

That quote, in that moment, changed my life, and my approach to making requests. I decided on that day that I would develop an awareness of the power of asking. I decided that I would no longer disqualify myself from any opportunities because I feared asking the question. I had another one of those moments this morning. I stared at the e-mail that I’d written to make this request.The challenge for me was that I could rationalize five different reasons why my request would be denied.  At the same time I hear that little voice telling me, “Closed mouths don’t get fed.” And then I hit ‘send.’ Whew! As of this posting, I have not received a response, though I anxiously await the reply. Also, I’m still alive (I know some of the mental horrors we conjure up when talking ourselves out of taking action)! At the same time, I’m proud of myself for being willing to take this step, make myself vulnerable, and asked the question. Each time that I break through in this way, I’m emboldened to do it again next time.

Having built this “asking” muscle, I’m not afraid to tell you that it is paid unbelievable dividends in my life. So many doors that looked close on the surface have been opened due to me asking. This is especially true in situations where everything points to not asking the question, and yet, I still ask.  And I would encourage you to do the same. You should never disqualify you. The only “no” that you can be certain of is the one in your head. It doesn’t matter how slim the odds are, you have to push yourself to make the request. Let  them disqualify you.

Breakthrough Action Steps – Take Action NOW!

The next time you find yourself at a crossroads,  wondering whether or not to ask the question,  take yourself through the following steps:

  1. Repeat your new mantra, “Closed mouths don’t get fed.”
  2. Visualize all of the benefits of an affirmative response to your request.
  3. Ask yourself, “What is the  absolute worst thing that can happen if I asked this question?” ( most of the time it’s “he/she will say no.”)
  4. Ask the question. Make the request.
  5. Feel GREAT about asking the question, even before you receive the answer.
  6. Post your breakthrough on this blog so you can encourage others to do the same.

I’m confident that I’m not alone in working through this type of dilemma.  I invite you to share some of your moments and breakthroughs. The power of asking is one of those subtle shifts, that will yield seismic results.  So what question have you put off asking? I challenge you to follow the steps above, and ask the question today.



Ken Williams is a speaker, trainer, and author. He is a contributing author to The Collaborative Administrator, and the Chief Visionary Officer of Unfold The Soul, a company dedicated to helping individuals make the life they have, the life they want. Unfold The Soul also supports team collaboration and helps organizations function at peak performance.  Click Here to subscribe to The Breakthrough Blog.



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5 responses to “Closed Mouths Don’t Get Fed…

  1. Gina Llamas

    Wow! Thank you! As always you motivate me to confront my fears! Your right “Closed mouths don’t get fed.” I am always afraid of what the response will be so I never ask the question. Interestingly enough I tend to do it by email if i even have the nerve to so the reaction won’t be so hurtful. Thank you for the advice and I will keep you updated on my new approach! Gracias!

    • Ken

      Thanks for leaving a comment Gina…to go from ‘never’ asking the question to sending the question by email is progress…and consistent progress is what matters in this life…continue to build momentum…step by step…

  2. Out of desperation, I asked God for insight to replace my physical vision.

  3. I was searching for the author of this quote “closed mouths don’t get fed” and came across your blog. You hit it on the head! This quote stuck with me so much when I heard it. Now every time I hesitate about something I think about it! Great post!

    • Ken

      This makes my day, Derrick, thank you…The man from whom I first heard the quote is Kenneth Zakee, by brother, poet, artist and community activist. He shared it and lived it. Continue to be a model for it and pay it forward! Thanks for sharing!

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