You create the life you have by the choices you make – what you choose to do and choose not to do. It’s true that life sends some stuff your way that you don’t choose, but you control what you get.
One choice I encourage you to make is to ask for what you want.
I remember being in a relationship with a woman who brought home pair after pair of new shoes, and bragged that they were all leather and she didn’t pay a dime for them. When I asked her how she got them, she replied, “I asked for them.”
She was fortunate to wear the same size as the samples, and she was intentional in asking for what she wanted – free, all leather shoes! It was amazing how many salespeople would give away those sample sizes. If I had not learned how valuable it was to ask for what you want before then, I learned it from her. By the way, her name was not Imelda Marcos!
Many people struggle to ask for what they want. They also have a hard time saying no to others and yes to themselves. A consequence of not asking for things is you don’t get all you deserve. I want you to get everything you deserve in life, so let’s examine how to ask.
First, you need to move past the barriers that keep you from asking. Listed below are some of them, and my responses.
Reason: I shouldn’t have to ask, they should already know what I want.
Counter: Sometimes people don’t know. Sometimes they do know but expect you to ask for what you want. If I were a car salesman and knew you wanted a discounted price, I wouldn’t give it to you unless you ask!
Reason: I fear conflict, and do my best to avoid it.
Counter: There is no way to avoid conflict – you are simply choosing the location of the conflict. You are choosing between a potential conflict with someone else when you ask OR a guaranteed conflict with yourself when you don’t muster the strength to ask. Beating yourself up lasts longer and does more damage to your self-esteem. It can also become a vicious cycle: You don’t ask, you don’t receive, you internalize that you don’t deserve, which discourages you from asking—repeat the cycle.
Reason: I’ve had negative experiences in the past when asking for things.
Counter: Don’t let past disappointments stand in the way of future successes. Learn how to control the factors that influence results – then start asking again. Learn about making requests and using the proper body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, eye contact, volume and inflections, and presentation of information.
Reason: I’m a people pleaser and tend to put others’ needs ahead of mine.
Counter: The more you take care of others, the more important it is that you maintain good health. You need to be self-oriented and say yes to taking care of yourself and no to others’ requests. When reenergized, you can go back to taking care of others.
Reason: Asking shows weakness.
Counter: Asking for what you want shows strength – strength that you can take care of yourself. Find a successful person, and you will find an assertive person who asks for what they want.
What is the best way to ask?
- the easier it is for you to ask, the easier it is for them to say no or deny your request
- the harder it is for you to ask, the harder it is for them to say no or deny your request
Method: written – text, email, letter
Difficulty: easiest to do – easiest to ignore or reject
Method: verbally from a distance – phone, skype, facetime, teleconference
Difficulty: harder to do, harder to ignore or reject
Method: verbally in person – face to face
Difficulty: hardest to do, hardest to ignore or reject
I always make it hardest on myself, because I want to make it hardest on them to say no.
Asking for what you want will change your life. You won’t always get what you want, but it’s your best chance to do so. The biggest reward is internal; even if they deny your request, you will feel good about yourself for asking!
One last tip, if you haven’t asked much in the past, you will not feel comfortable asking now. Don’t wait till you are comfortable; you will only get more comfortable with practice and some positive results.
Ask more of yourself and get out of your comfort zone. You may find the results appealing enough to make it a new habit. Who knows, you may end up with a closet full of shoes – or more of what YOU want from life!