When was the last time you wanted something, but didn’t ask for it? Are you the type of person who will sit back and wait for things to happen such as a promotion, a compliment, an invitation, help or support?
Being willing to ask for what we want from others takes courage. Sometimes we aren’t even aware that we need something, but we are feeling frustrated, drained, left out, angry or exhausted. That would be your first clue! We can take a hint from our feelings that our needs are not being satisfied. Getting our needs met and asking for what we want is important if we want to be happy. It builds our self-confidence and brings contentment to our soul. It also allows us to share ourselves with others without being depleted in the process.
When we aren’t willing to ask for what we want and need, we have probably been a “people pleaser" for most of our life, and are afraid of rejection or appearing bossy. There might also be an unconscious feeling of not being worthy of the effort.
But, the truth is, we are each very worthy of the effort and others do want to help! Imagine how you feel when you can help someone out. Doesn’t it feel great when you can make a difference in someone else’s life? When you tell someone what you want, you give them that same gift.
One client, Anne (not her real name) worked in a busy chiropractic office as a receptionist and was routinely expected to stay after regular working hours to finish up paper work and close the office while everyone else went home. Because of this she often had to miss her daughters after school volleyball games. She felt taken advantage of since no one seemed to appreciate that because she stayed later, every one else got to leave work on time. She wanted to ask for help so she could be there for her daughter on the days she had a game or when she needed her for something else, but Anne was afraid they would just replace her with someone else who was willing to always stay late.
The key to asking for what you want is to first be very clear about it yourself. The more specific you can be, the more your wants and needs will be met. If you aren’t specific, you may not get what you want. Suppose you call someone and ask them to pick you up something great for lunch, but you don’t tell them what you want, and they bring back something you don’t like. Whose fault is it? They are doing you a favor and did the best they could with the information you gave them. If you want something from someone, you have to help them, help you. You do this not by giving hints and clues about what you want, but by being specific about how they can help you. Yes, when you do this, you are putting yourself at risk for rejection, and they can say no. But if that happens, you can move forward, knowing that you at least asked and you can then explore other options for getting that particular need met and continue being true to yourself.
After helping Anne get specific with her request, Anne decided to take a risk and get her need met by asking her boss if someone else could stay late and close up the office when she needed to leave on time to be there for her daughter. Anne was pleasantly surprised when her boss said she appreciated her asking and made arrangements with the other office staff to pitch in on those days so Anne could leave on time. She even took it a step further and asked Anne to put together a list of all the things Anne would like to see changed that would make her job more enjoyable! That gesture made Anne feel very much appreciated and subsequently she enjoyed her job even more and worked even harder to be the best at what she did.
Take a risk, get what you want, and watch your life improve!
Debra Betterly, Ph. D. is a Life Coach whose specialty is midlife mastery. This article is derived from her eNewsletter, “Second Acts", a spirit-mind-body approach for women re-inventing the second half of life. Please visit http://www.amazingjouneycoach.com where you can receive her free eCourse, “Eight Steps to Creating Positive Life Changes in Midlife" http://www.amazingjourneycoach.com/eightsteps.html , subscribe to her free monthly eNewsletter, learn more about her “Midlife Mastery Club" membership along with other transformational programs.