Like any person who combines a healthy level of ambition with manageable levels of neuroticism, I spend a fair amount of time obsessing about my goals – and how to achieve them without being a pushy jerk.The problem is, I fundamentally like people, so I’m built to lean towards people-pleasing; I also hate asking for anything I can define as a “favor”; this sometimes makes me very twitchy and nervous about pursuing that big job, that promotion, that raise.When I’m setting my eyes on a big prize, I’m often plagued with anxiety about being “too” anything in my attempt: too pushy! too compliant! too helpful! too independent! too chirpy! too formal! Given the opportunity, I can endlessly spin my mental wheels: trying to strike the perfect tone, and worrying too much about what people might think.There’s one piece of advice that has helped me push through some of this self-conscious circular thinking:Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.Is that the simplest, most seemingly-obvious advice you’ve ever heard?That’s why it’s so effective. For those of us who are excellent at creating elaborate disaster scenarios in our heads, don’t be afraid to ask is a nice, clean way to cut through all the sweaty internal debate.All too often, we expect other people to intrinsically know what we want, to notice us in the corner, to call on us in class before we raise our hands. In the meantime, the people who AREN’T afraid to clarify what their goals are surging ahead.Asking for exactly what you want, in the clearest language possible, is the best way to actually… get it.Even as I write these words, I find myself wincing – there’s something that seems very cutthroat about them. But the truth is, that’s MY hang-up; one that I’m working to overcome. The language of self-realization has too often been co-opted by corporate sharks who use it to justify trampling over others on their climb to the top – but there’s nothing fundamentally competitive or aggressive about asking for what you want. Asking is just that – an inquiry, an indication of interest. It is not fundamentally humiliating, nor is it obnoxious; it is a signal to people that you know what your goals are.Try to remove your emotional stakes from the matter at hand. Calmly write down what exactly you would like to achieve, if there were no obstacles, and clarify how you would like to get it. Make sure that you’re asking the right person; is this person able to help you? Is this a do-able step towards your ultimate goal?Then just ask.Since I started very simply and directly asking for what I wanted, I’ve gotten a MUCH higher rate of return on professional and personal goals. I’ll confess, I’m often desperately nervous beforehand – but I’ve never encountered a situation where asking did much harm; rather, it tends to do an incredible amount of good. Asking is how I got my first play on the road to production. It’s how I began writing at all. It’s how I’ve gotten acting roles I wanted. It’s how I got the gig blogging for Freelancers Union.Nobody, thus far, has laughed in my face or banished me forever from their sight. Instead, they’ve, uh… listened. And considered. And sometimes given me what I asked for. And even when I DIDN’T get my heart’s desire right away, it’s often led to me getting it down the road – because people actually knew what I wanted.If this tip can help me, Captain Anticipatory Dread, it can help you.Save yourself the angst.Just ask.
Australia sport Rugby league Opinion is divided between those who believe these rules turn the tournament into a gimmick, and those who believe they are essential to grow the game internationally. Many of the nations that have qualified for this year’s tournament are filled with Australians. When the Kangaroos play Lebanon in Sydney, for example, it will almost be like Australia “A” versus Australia “B” as NRL stars such as Farah, Mitchell Moses and Tim Mannah line up for the Cedars.“There’s a fair bit of pride in those players for their upbringing and their parents, and some of the hardships that their families went through in the early years when they migrated to this country,” said Tas Baitieri, a development officer for the Rugby League International Federation. “A lot do it out of respect. And you know, having a bit of respect isn’t a bad thing for young people today.” Share on Pinterest features Facebook Share on Messenger Share on LinkedIn Safi points to the most famous Lebanese player, former Bulldogs winger Hazem El Masri, who is the all-time leading points scorer in the NRL and a former captain of the Cedars. He is also a devout Muslim. As a supporter of both the Bulldogs and the Lebanese national team, Tannous loves El Masri regardless of their religious differences.“I don’t believe in Ramadan, but he used to play during that time, and never drank a drop of water,” he said. “That takes a lot and says a lot about his character. You look at someone like Hazem and you can’t help admire him.”Multiculturalism arrived late to rugby league, and has not always been well received. Twenty years ago, when the Bulldogs hosted a multicultural day, the match ended in the so-called “Battle of Belmore” crowd riot. “The element of the brawl that may have worrying long-term implications,” editorialised the Sydney Morning Herald, “is the waving of the Lebanese flag.”On 29 October, Lebanon begin their World Cup campaign against France at Canberra Stadium, before two blockbuster matches against England and Australia in Sydney. The final group game against the Kangaroos will be the first time since the Cronulla riots that Lebanon and Australia have played one another in a major competitive match in Sydney. “I will sit on the fence with a kebab and a meat pie,” says Shehadie. “I’ve played for both – I’ve been part of the Lebanese squad 20 years ago with Hazem El-Masri, and also represented Australia [in schoolboys rugby union]. Both were great experiences. Our parents were born in Lebanon, and growing up they’d tell you about the old country, but I was born here. I don’t think this World Cup should divide communities.”Many of the Lebanese players are acutely aware of the negative perceptions of Lebanese people, as well as the internal divisions within their community. They understand that Lebanon’s first World Cup on Australian soil is about more than simply rugby league. For Saab and Farah, best friends since 2002, this as a historic opportunity to represent the country of their parents in their country of origin. And of course, to play together again one last time. Farah describes it as coming “full circle”.“I can’t speak highly enough of the impact Lebanese rugby league has had on my career as an 18 year-old,” he says. “They gave me a chance to go overseas and play in a full international, which did wonders for my development and really made me the player I am today.”When this World Cup is over, Saab can finally hang up his boots and get on with the next chapter of his life. “The pinnacle of my career has been playing for Lebanon,” he said. “This would be the perfect way for me to walk away from the game.” Every rugby league season for the past few years, Chris Saab has worked long hours at his earthmoving business during the day, trained three nights a week, and given up weekends to play in Sydney’s Ron Massey Cup. At 35 years of age, he is physically and mentally ready to retire. In fact he was ready to call it a day back in 2015, after helping the Lebanese national team qualify for their second Rugby League World Cup. But the lure of playing with his best friend, Robbie Farah, convinced him otherwise.“He’s getting on in his career,” explains Farah. “I know at times he’s thought about giving the game away, but in the back of his mind has been wanting to be a part of this World Cup. It’s going to be one of the highlights of my career to play alongside him. I made my debut for Lebanon as an 18-year-old, as did he, and we’ve been best mates ever since. Our careers since then have gone down different paths, and we haven’t been able to play alongside each other since that first game.”While Farah went on to win a NRL premiership and play State of Origin for New South Wales, Saab lived out a journeyman career in Sydney’s lower grades. He gave up on his dream of playing in the NRL years ago. He only continued playing at all, he said, “because I want to play for Lebanon and I wanted to qualify for the World Cup”. Rugby league’s flexible eligibility rules have been a major talking point of the 2017 World Cup. The rules allow players such as Farah, who has previously represented Australia, to switch to a tier two nation such as Lebanon. Already Andrew Fifita has controversially defected to Tonga after being selected for the Kangaroos. Share on Facebook Rugby League World Cup 2017 Twitter Share on WhatsApp Hazem El Masri during his Bulldogs playing career. Photograph: Robb Cox/AAP Support The Guardian Topics The story of Saab is just one example. His father, Joe, migrated to Australia with just a couple of dollars in his pocket and a suitcase full of clothes. He never wanted his son to play rugby league. “I started playing footy when I was seven,” explains Saab. “I think it was an Under-10s or Under-12s game, my father came to watch and I got a massive cork in my leg. I was on the floor crying, and my dad jumped the fence. He was a massive guy – six foot seven – and he actually put me on his shoulder, pushed the trainer out of the way and carried me off the field. Since then he wasn’t real keen on the footy thing.”Still, when Saab debuted for Lebanon in a Test match against France in 2002, his father travelled to Tripoli to watch him play. The Cedars won 36-6 and Joe was converted. “That was the first time he’d been back to see his sister and his family in 33 years,” says Saab.When Joe passed away on 31 October 2010, Saab placed the jersey from his debut in his father’s coffin. Exactly five years later to the date, Lebanon beat South Africa in Pretoria to qualify for their first World Cup since 2000. After the wild celebrations, Saab, who was the captain, had a quiet moment to himself to remember his late father.After three failed World Cup qualifying attempts and a career in the lower grades, Saab might not be a household name but he is a crucial member of the Lebanese national side. Farah calls him “the heart and soul” of the team. The chief executive of the Lebanese Rugby League (LRL), Remond Safi, describes him as “the backbone”. Team-mate Adnan “Eddy” El-Zbaidieh refers to him simply as “boss”.In 2015, just weeks before the World Cup qualifiers, El-Zbaideh, 25, suffered a shoulder injury and lapsed into serious depression. He is Muslim and Saab is Maronite Catholic, but their friendship was vital to his recovery. After the Cedars qualified they travelled to Lebanon for a holiday, and Saab was constantly encouraging El-Zbaideh to rise for his early morning prayers with the other Muslims in the group. And even though El-Zbaideh was recently ruled out of the World Cup with a career-threatening injury, he’s still included in all the squad activities. “We don’t discuss who’s Muslim, who’s Christian, who’s Catholic, who’s Orthodox – we’re all just Lebanese,” says El-Zbaideh. “Our parents are from the same country, they all came here for the same goal, which was to give us a better life and follow our footy dreams.” Read more Share on Twitter Share via Email Since you’re here… Meet the USA Rugby League World Cup captain … and organic food entrepreneur Twitter Pinterest Facebook Pinterest … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Chris Saab and Robbie Farah in the sheds after a Lebanon game. Photograph: Chris Saab Lebanon has always been divided along political and sectarian lines, and as thousands of Lebanese migrants poured into Australia, some of those divisions arrived with them. Then new tensions developed over anxieties among elements of the wider Australian community about Lebanese migration. The worst incident came in 2005, when Australians of Lebanese descent were targeted during the Cronulla riots. Critics of Australian multiculturalism have been known to say, “we don’t want to end up like Lebanon”, and in 2016 immigration minister Peter Dutton said it had been a “mistake” to invite Lebanese people into the country.According to the latest census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 71% of the nearly 79,000 Lebanese-Australians live in Sydney. Around 20,000 Lebanese live in a small patch of suburbs in south-west Sydney bordered by the M7 Motorway, Parramatta Road, Canterbury Road and the M5 Motorway. Greenacre, with 3,389 Lebanese residents, is officially “Little Lebanon”. Between Greenacre and neighbouring Punchbowl, Australia’s second most populous Lebanese suburb, there is the Maronite St Charbel’s Church, the Alnoori Muslim School and the St Nicholas Orthodox Church.“The community is so diverse and there are so many different religious backgrounds in there,” says Neville Tannous, a 42 year-old resident of Greenacre. “It got worse with time. In the early days, you didn’t really notice it, but the older you get, yeah, it does affect you. The communities are so divided. I’ve got Christian neighbours, I’ve got Maronite, Orthodox, Sunni, Shi’a. My neighbours are awesome, it doesn’t matter what background they are. But there have been times when, being Christian, we have had issues with Muslim guys.”Yet rugby league has been a unifying force for Lebanese people of all religions. Like many in his community, Tannous supports the Canterbury Bulldogs, but Lebanese-Australians can also be found supporting Parramatta Eels, St George-Illawarra Dragons, Wests Tigers and South Sydney Rabbitohs. This World Cup will be the first opportunity for Lebanese-Australians to unite behind one national team at a major tournament.“We’ve never really had a team to cheer for,” says Rob Shehadie, a former Lebanon international and one of the creators of Channel 9’s hit show, Here Come The Habibs. “The Lebanese community are probably the biggest supporters of rugby league outside mainstream Australia.”Indeed much of the infrastructure of Lebanese rugby league was established by Australians. Remond Safi, the chief executive officer of the Jounieh-based Lebanese Rugby League, was born in Sydney and grew up in the Canterbury district. Australian culture, he says, “is embedded in rugby league in Lebanon”.There are currently six clubs participating in the Lebanese Rugby League Championship, 10 colligate teams in two divisions, and schools programs. The LRL has not been immune from political strife, however. According to Safi, conflict and instability in the region has caused the LRL to lose 50% of its membership as people fled the country. Still, he believes that the influence of “western-minded” administrators have kept rugby league a secular affair in Lebanon.“Our current sporting systems are all politically based,” he said. “In soccer, all the teams are linked to political groups and sects, whereas Lebanese rugby league isn’t. We are 100% sport – we don’t care what politics or religion you come from. Our president is a Muslim, our general secretary is an Armenian. All our players are mixed. Our motto is basically the best players should represent our country, regardless of what their background is. We want the strongest possible team out there to play for us.” Reuse this content