You would think that asking for what you want would be the easiest thing in the world to do. But it isn’t!
In my coaching work I often ask people, “So, what do you want?” or “What do you want the outcome to be?” or “What do you want to accomplish?” Many people, when confronted with this direct question, find it hard to spit out a clear answer.
Some say, “I know what I want” but as they attempt to describe it they get caught up in a long-winded conceptual description that is very confusing and vague even to them.
A few simple follow-up questions such as, “What do you mean by that?” or “How would you know that you achieved that?” are often enough to make people realize they really don’t know what they want.
When people work on articulating their personal or collective objectives they often say things like, “I should do this” or “I have to do that.” But, saying “I should” is not the same as “I want.” In fact, it is much easier and less powerful to say “I should”.
“I want” is a declaration. “I should” is a description. When you say: “I want,” you are expressing a commitment, staking yourself to an outcome. You are expressing your commitment out loud and by doing that puts it at stake. You are making it personal.
What are the biggest barriers to expressing what we want?
- Some people suffer from guilt when it comes to declaring what they want. They feel it is arrogant or greedy to want too much or to want certain things. As a result, they refrain from explicitly expressing their dreams and desires.
- Some are so afraid to get a “No!” to their request that they avoid asking altogether. They just convince themselves that “It’s not that important.”
- Some people were brought up to believe that it is impolite to directly ask for what you want. If their meal in a restaurant is not served the way they like it or their hotel room is not what they wanted, they simply suffer quietly and won’t say anything about it.
- Some people have deeper demons. They feel they are not good enough or not worthy of having what they really want. So, they stop dreaming altogether.
- Some people feel that what they really aspire for and desire is simply too big, unrealistic and out of their reach. Their mindset is “What’s the point of going after things that are not realistic”, “Why set myself up for failure, disappointment, and heartbreak?” So, they make sure to set their desires and expectations low enough in order to not risk failure.
Are any of these familiar to you?
There is also a spiritual aspect to this. The Law of Attraction, says that people who explicitly express and ask for what they want have a higher chance of attracting and achieving it.
In one of my past blogs “Three empowering quotes about Courage” I wrote about the power of taking a stand. That is a very powerful way to ask for what you want.
It takes courage to dream and believe that you can achieve it. It takes courage to declare what we want, ask for it and pursue it. Yes, you may fail or fall short and that could be disappointing.
However, would you rather go for it and fall short, or fail from not trying in the first place?! Unfortunately, I see too many people suffer from the latter.
Early in my career, I had a powerful mentor who kept telling me:
“If you take on big dreams and then do the right things for long enough you will always get your desired outcome!”
I took what he taught me to heart and saw just how true and powerful it is.
You can do the same.