Do you know how to ask for what you want in life? Are you able to confidently talk about your desires without guilt and fear? Do you know how to be effective as you freely go after your dreams?
Fact: the more you ask for what you want, the more you will get what you want.
Asking for what you want is one of life’s trickiest essentials. Sure, simply asking for what you want in life seems obvious enough, but most of us don’t operate as if that’s the case. We tiptoe through life believing that asking for what we want is greedy or shameful; we trudge around feeling bad for wanting more; we float hopelessly along feeling secretly resentful that our desires didn’t materialize on their own.
Without having the skills to ask for what you want, you have no way of going out and actively creating the life you deserve. So, let’s take a look at how to get out there and grab ahold of the life we should be living.
If you’re stuck in the discomfort of not even knowing what you want, then I suggest that you check out my previous discussion, “Are You Afraid to Ask for What You Want.” Assuming you’ve already moved past that hang-up, though, you may suddenly be feeling some apprehension at the idea of having to actually go out and ask for what you want.
Fear not, friends—we’ll be breaking down the essential components of going after what you want in the very simplest of terms today.
One: you have to be bold enough to go after what you want; two: you have to have enough skill to know how to ask for it.
Firstly, if you’re looking for ways to boost your boldness, you’ve come to the right channel . . . but not the right article. I’ve spent years working to distill the keys to developing greater confidence for my clients, and it’s something about which I am very passionate. I’ve also spent those years breaking down the skills necessary to build that confidence in several other blog posts, videos, major publications, and live events, so there is no reason to take up your time doing so here. If you feel that you need some guidance on that front, however, please check out my website, DrAziz.com, where you can access my free eBook, find links to other articles and videos, and even score information on my ultra-intensive upcoming programs, like Confidence University.
In the meantime, let’s use our time here to focus on the skill factor: what to say and how to say it.
When it comes to asking for the things you want most in life, there are three words you need to remember: short, simple, and clear.
The pitfall that most of us run into when assertively going after something—even something that is super important to us—is that we start to feel guilt or shame. We lose a bit of our control and begin to feel anxious. And what happens when we get anxious? We lose sight of the point and we begin to ramble . . . and, as we all know, rambling is long, complicated, and confusing.
Take a moment now and think back to a time when you caught yourself rambling. What situation were you in? I’d be willing to bet that, even if you weren’t outwardly asking for something, it was a situation in which there was something that you desperately wanted.
Whether you’re asking someone on a date, pitching a new product, inviting a friend to a gathering, or asking a family member for a favor, there is a simple way to do it . . . and a NOT so simple way.
Now, take a moment and think of something you’d like to ask for right now in your life, and keep that desire in your mind as you consider this example from real life:
Cathy is about to approach Jim about a project they’re both working on. Her body language is diminutive, and her voice is apologetic.
“Hey, Jim, I wanted to ask you about something. So, last week we were in that meeting and we talked about some of the things that we were going to have by Monday of this week . . . and on Monday, you sent me an email that told me that you hadn’t gotten to the deliverables and why, and that definitely made sense—why you didn’t do it, I mean. And, so then, you told me you’d have them done on Wednesday, but now it’s Thursday and I haven’t seen them, so I just got a bit worried. And I know that you said that there was that other issue that was getting in the way. So, I assume that was probably the reason, but I just wanted to check with you and find out when you think that maybe you’d be able to tell me more about when you’ll have those done. . . .”
Holy moly, that was a lot. And poor Jim probably knew why she was approaching him in the first place—he didn’t need all of the “niceties.” Alternatively, Cathy could have stood up straight, put on her most genuine smile, and approached Jim this way:
“Hey, Jim! Just checking in: when we spoke on Monday, you said you’d have the deliverables to me by Wednesday, and I still haven’t seen them. What’s up?”
There you go. Direct; clear; as short as possible.
Now, this isn’t rocket science, folks. You don’t need me here to tell you that the second approach is better for several reasons. So, why do we belabor the point so often when option two is a much more effective way of talking to other people?
It all comes down to one thing: fear. We’re so afraid of calling someone else out or making someone else uncomfortable or being rejected or even just expressing what we really want, that we subconsciously try to add a layer of protection—we “pad” our involvement and intentions with words.
This is just an irrational pattern that we’re running because we’re scared.
Fact: adding a lot of extra words doesn’t make you sound nice—it makes you sound small.
When someone feels weak or scared, they either blabber on and on and reveal too much information, or they clam up and avoid any connection at all.
If you want to appear strong, competent, and deserving, then you must learn to be short, simple, and clear in what you ask for.
Now, this isn’t something that you have to learn overnight—and it’s certainly not something you have to do on the fly. The next time you feel those nerves creeping up, just take a moment to consider what it is you’re really asking for. Write it down if you have to. You can even take a moment to unload your rambling request on a couch pillow or stuffed animal. Say it in the mirror if you have to! Then you can collect your thoughts, compose a short/simple/clear request, and go make it.
It’s that simple.
These patterns you’re running are ineffective, and it’s time for an upgrade! If you’ve been reading these posts for a while and thinking that they’re working out pretty well for you, then let me assure you: you’re only scratching the surface of what’s possible. If you want to take a really deep dive, then I will encourage you one more time to visit my website, DrAziz.com, where you can access personal coaching and several other immersive confidence development resources that will inspire radical transformation in your life.
The toughest work is all about accountability, and that is what we supply through my coaching and online programs, along with the support necessary to reach even the loftiest confidence goals. You have every tool at your disposal—you just have to be ready to take the leap.
Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments below, and until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.