Are you asking for what you want?

Are you asking for what you want?

You would think that asking for what you want would be the easiest thing in the world to do. But it isn’t! I see so many people struggling with this.

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 when 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 realise they really don’t know what they want.

When people work on articulating their personal collective objectives they often say things like, “We should do this” or “We have to do that.” But, saying “We/I should” is not the same as “We/I want.”  In fact, it is much easier and less powerful to say “We/I should” than “We/I want.” “We/I want” is a declaration. “We/I should” is a description. When we say “We/I want,” we are staking ourselves to the outcome. We are putting our desire at stake. We are making it personal.

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. They refrain from explicitly and directly 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 worth it” to ask. Some people were brought up 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 will suffer quietly and won’t say anything about it. Some may even have deeper demons. They feel they are not good enough or worthy of having what they really want. So, they stop dreaming altogether.

Some people feel that what they really aspire for and desire is 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 heart break?” So, they make sure to set their desires and expectations low enough in order to not risk failure.

There is also a spiritual aspect to this. The law of attraction, which became popular through Oprah’s show says that people who explicitly express and ask for what they want would become more effective at achieving their desires.

In one of my previous blogs “3 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 it. It takes courage to declare what we want, ask for it and pursue it. Yes, we may fail or fall short and that could be disappointing and perhaps upsetting.

Unfortunately, I have seen too many people fail to achieve their goals even in basic areas such as getting a dream job, a promotion or relationship simply because they held back and avoided directly expressing what they want. In my experience, people who repeatedly declared what they want eventually achieved their desired results, or at least a similar, satisfactory result.

Which way would you rather live?



Founder and President of Quantum Performance Inc., a management consulting firm specializing in generating total alignment and engagement in organizations.

His work has encompassed a broad range of industries including banking, telecommunications, manufacturing, entertainment, real estate, retail, startups and non-profits.

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