How The Art of Asking Feels Like Firewalking

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Catherine Hughes

Director of the 8 Women Dream Project at 8 Women Dream
Catherine’s dream is to make 8 Women Dream the premier online publication for women looking to pursue their dreams. She is a published author, a freelance writer, and a guide for those who want their dreams to come true online. Catherine would someday like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations about her 8WD project inviting women to take a chance on their dreams. Wine was required... Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in dream stories as needed. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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How The Art of Asking Feels Like Firewalking: 8 Women Dream on KickStarter

For the first time in years, I am facing my own dream wall . . .

It’s the art of asking.

It’s time to move 8 Women Dream to the next level. And when I say the next level, I mean offer more to our readers and offer more to the world. I’ve got some incredible women dreamers writing here now, and finally, everything is clicking into place. After four years and burning through more than 12 dreamers — dreamers as crazy as me are now completely “in” with me on my dream journey.

They are one very committed bunch.

So my heart now whispers, “Catherine, it’s time to do the ‘asking’.”

By now you are probably wondering, asking for what?

I have no problem asking companies for products to offer 8WD readers, or asking other popular bloggers for endorsements, or asking bloggers to come write with me on 8 Women Dream, but the kind of asking to which I am referring to scares me from my very Irish widow’s peak to the tip of my oddly-shaped baby toes.

The need to begin “asking” presses daily against my heart and hits me like a cold breeze sneaking up under one ear and flying quickly by — each and every single day.

“Start asking Catherine…” It shouts. “It’s time.”

My 85-year-old mother almost left us at the beginning of this year, and although she is better, my brother and I can see her time coming to a close. It’s been unexpected and has turned a big part of my life upside down.  Yet, at the same time it’s brought even more into focus.

She wanted to see this 8 Women Dream publishing dream of mine come true.  Her sudden illness has slapped me hard across the face and reminded me that time is a precious gift indeed.

Start asking for what you want.

Start asking for what YOU need.

To understand what I am about to very personally share with you in this post, I implore you to watch this amazing video by Alternative rocker, Amanda Palmer, so that what I write below makes sense. I promise you that this is possibly one of the best TED talks and videos you will ever watch, and if you are on a device that has trouble with the video, click here to go to (If you have to leave to go watch the video on, please come back after you’re done ’cause I need to ask your advice…)

Amanda Palmer on The Art of Asking



There it is.

Why do we fear asking for what we need? Amanda says that it’s because asking makes you vulnerable.

My dream dilemma is the fact that asking makes me fear being vulnerable to the world, and that fear is getting in the way of asking for what I need. It’s getting in the way of making 8 Women Dream into more.

Asking has become my firewalk.

The fear and vulnerability – my hot coals.

My next step on 8 Women Dream is to ask people about funding sources for 8 Women Dream to allow us to expand the site and create an online magazine. I need to look at creating start-up capital and talk with an attorney I’ve worked with in the past at another start-up. I need to create greater income opportunities for the dreamers who write here because, well frankly, they need the income.

They deserve it.

They’ve sacrificed their own security to help empower women of the world to go for their dreams.

The quandary I’ve had with more traditional money-raising ideas is that I don’t like a lot of the Internet Marketing campaigns out there that everyone online does and tells you that they will make you this big online success. I don’t want to treat our readers that way. SO much of it seems cold and superficial.  After a while don’t you get tired of receiving emails with marketing double-speak like, “That’s right – exclusively for you, we’re providing a DOUBLE-your-money-back guarantee with this…”?

I want something more “real” that offers a greater connection to our readers.  I want something that touches our readers in a very real way.

I want our readers to feel that what we offer is of such value to them that we don’t need to send them 6 weeks worth of scripted emails pretending to be their best friend to get to a place of asking.

There’s got to be another way. There’s got to be a better way to ask.

The Internet has driven down the cost of content and changed publishing the same way it has changed the music industry.  I started 8 Women Dream with the idea that, like Facebook, we would share our dream stories for free and work hard each week to make this the best dream story site on the Internet — something that adds immense value to reader’s lives.

Now I am at the place of how to ask for money, how to create money for 8 Women Dream, and how to do it in a way that adds value to our readers while helping to change their lives.

I am at the place of asking.

And I am searching for answers.

What would you do?  How would you do it?

I’ve set 8 Women Dream up On KickStarter… but what project do we pitch… what do we offer… in what time-frame…would a dreamer’s magazine be enough?  Would exclusive access to pre-screening the magazine as we develop it be enough for people to invest $25.00 … would people do this from around the world… would people help us translate it into other languages…?…

Would strangers want to fund that?

See… I’m asking.

That’s right.  I’m asking you.


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  • Alexis McGhee

    To answer your question. I would give my money to funds that supported women in sciences.

    That being said, you choose a very powerful video. When everyone distrusts each other only causes more problems. Its scary and freeing when you can trust and its rewarded. And that person you choose to trust is the better person b/c they were allowed to show they too are trustworthy.

  • Can I start my happy dance now? This is so the time to start the asking. I love that you are here and we get to be here with you. I’m thinking the ebook, articles gathered based on topics… we only have close to 2000 to choose from! So many amazing options that we’ve talked about over the last 5 years, and frankly if some of the ideas on Kickstarter find their funding, we can too.

    You get a big gold start for asking Cath – “asking makes you vulnerable” and we are all here to be vulnerable with you.

  • Wow. I’m still reeling from this video. I so so so so needed to hear it. You see I feel guilty when I take money for what I do. There, I said it. I feel like I should give it to them. It’s my gift to share. How dare I charge for it? So there are many cases where I do give it away. But this video is making me ask myself why the guilt? It makes me wonder if in feeling guilty for taking money, I am somehow telling myself that my art is not of value to these people. I have had mentors in the past tell me to see what I am giving them for the gift that it is – for the value it holds. And, so, Catherine, I ask you to do the same. No, it’s not easy. Perhaps this is one of those moments where you remember that feelings follow thoughts. You may not feel brave – but act brave anyway. And you will feel it later. You may not feel happy – but choose it anyway – and you will feel it later. Feelings follow thoughts. Feelings follow actions. So perhaps this is a case where you ask before you feel like asking. And the worst thing someone can do is say no. And then you dust yourself off and ask again.

  • Mike

    I see approaching this as similar to approaching a new Dr. per sè. It IS important. What 8 women does for the bloggers and readers IS medicine. Possibly ‘Walking the Coals’ is like being sick and unsure how to treat it yourself. That is the time to put trust and intuition to work. You already posses so many of those qualities and approaching private funding can be a tool used from learning how to say, go to a brand new doctor, go through new treatments, and take charge of your OWN health. It makes me vulnerable as it gets to lay out my concerns and feelings to a new person. In effect, a Dr is a ‘new person’ knowledgeable and looked at a little differently, but really a PERSON!
    I would maybe list your concerns, dilemmas, and fears, much the way you would a list of symptoms. Lay em out there, give them this site and blogs as ‘The Person’ and ask, “What can you do to make us better?” Oh yeah, always get second and third opinions too. You can do it. You have support. Asking for more or different support is tough, I know, yet you obviously know what direction you need to go. Start heading that way. 8 women has come this far and can go the distance.

    • Wow Mike what great advice. Thank you so much! You are such a great help to us.

  • ImanWoods

    Every time I have opened myself up to the vulnerable place, the universe has brought me what I needed to get to the next step. I’m very excited to see what brings us to the next place! Beautiful post touching on so many things. I’m happy you have this time with your mom. Love you!

    • Thank you Iman. You sure are an inspiration. I am hoping you are right!