How to Ask For What You Want and Get It

by Karen Keller, Ph.D.

Asking for what you want is the necessary first step in getting what you want. That’s the way it works! If you don’t ask you don’t get – simple.

Simple. Really?

If it was so simple then why are less than 15% of C-level positions in corporate American occupied by women although they comprise 47% of the U.S. labor force? And women only own 1% of the world’s wealth.

Are you not asking for or wanting higher level positions? Are you resisting leadership, decision-making and authority roles? Do you shy away from being in situations of power, wealth and influence?

Doing all of the above translates into passivity, ineffectiveness, and being poor. You aren’t feeling free enough to state what you want, ask for it and demand to get it. Did you cringe at the word “demand?” If so, then this is for you.

Here are the 5 things you need to have in place before you ask for anything, especially what you want.

1. Recognize what you want. You will never get what you want if you aren’t sure of it. Too many women ask for something that they have no idea if it’s for them or not. They listen to what others say they should want. Not a good idea. You only end up with wants that belong to someone else. Rather, think of what will further your growth, your influence and your power.

2. Ask in an optimistic way – Negotiate for you and them. When you appear selfish and self-centered you won’t get what you want. Perception is critical. If you appear timid, doubtful or egotistical then you’ll be seen as unworthy of getting what you are asking for. Everyone who goes to bat for you wants to be certain you are worthy of their time and efforts.

3. Ask the right person. You’ll never get what you want when you chase the wrong person expecting them to open doors, give you opportunities or believe in you. Do your homework and think of your request for the long term. Study who controls the string to what you want. Who is the ultimate decision maker? What are they willing to do for you? Finding the right person may take some time so be patient.

4. Expect to get what you ask for. This is probably the most important factor in getting what you ask for. If you decide that you have a 50-50 chance of getting it then you are already half-beaten. Believe you deserve what you are asking for. If you don’t then no one will. What goes on in the mind is 90% of your reality.

5. Don’t stop asking. This means not fearing the word ‘no.’ Rather, set your sights higher and go back. Find another route if necessary. Approach your situation or what you desire from a different standpoint. But under no circumstances should you surrender what you want because someone told you no. Women who conquer the fear know their value, their skills, and their talent.

When you start asking for and expecting to get what you want you will. It takes practice and more practice. Start with something small. Negotiate with your kids or spouse. Make solid confident requests of friends. Graduate to the bigger things when you are ready. But don’t wait too long. Take charge and strike when it’s hot.

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