How to Get Better at Asking for What You Want

For a lot of people, asking for what they want can be challenging. Luckily there's a simple way to get better at it. Let's explore it!

In my article last week I talked about speaking up in social situations – and got some amazing responses from you guys.

One of the questions that came up was “will the same strategy work to get better at asking for things?”

The simple answer is yes. However, there’s a little more to it, as I explain in my course Authentic Assertiveness.

We certainly will get better at asking for things by... well, asking for things more often.

But one of the things that tend to hold people back is that they feel like they don’t really need the thing they’re thinking about. At least that's how they feel in that moment.

Or even worse, in the moment they can’t even think of anything they want or need.

This is true for any type of request they have. Whether it's getting someone’s help for something, asking for a glass of water when they're thirsty, asking for information they need, and so on.

Thoughts like "it's not really that important", "I can figure it out on my own", and "I don't want to bother anyone" tend to pop up and stop people.

How to create the habit of asking for what you want.

In order to counteract this problem we have to not just practice speaking up - but also condition our mind to actively seek out the things we want rather than to dismiss them.

And there’s a very easy – and relatively comfortable - way to do this:

We can train our mind to ask itself the question “what do I want right now?” as often as possible.

And at first, we can do this in situations and with people we’re already comfortable with.

That is how we create an habitual thought.

Habitual thoughts are the thoughts that pop up more often than any others, and that are the easiest for us to remember. So if we're in a stressful situation, those are the thoughts that tend to pop up first, over and over again.

So, if we want to remember something in a situation where we usually don't feel too confident - we practice thinking about it in as many situations as we can. We make it a habit.

So ask yourself that question regularly throughout your days. Start in your most comfortable situations, and then practice it in more and more hectic and stressful ones.

Before you know it the question will pop up in your mind in almost any situation you're in. And you'll not just know what you want, but also feel more confident asking for it.

I suggested this exercise to the person who emailed me back last week, and yesterday – only 5 days later – I got an email saying:

“This is amazing! Today at work I asked for someone to do a task for me without even thinking about it. It’s the first time I’ve asked anyone at my new job for help during a morning meeting!”

So if you want to get better at asking for what you want and need, practice asking yourself “what do I want?” in as many situations as possible.

Combine that with the exercise from my last article, and before you know it you’ll be a master of getting what you want, when you want it.

And if you really want to improve your assertiveness, and not just know how to speak your mind and ask for what you want - but become the kind of person people listen to because they want to listen - you should check out my course Authentic Assertiveness: Next level communication skills.

Hi, I'm TJ Guttormsen.

Since 2009 I’ve coached clients ranging from Olympic gold medalists and billionaires, to people who simply want more out life.

I’ve done over 100 national media appearances, published books, and created online courses that have earned several “Highest Rated” titles from their 11 000+ members.

Today I coach clients from all over the world, and teach seminars for business and events from my home in Las Vegas.

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