The Powerful Act of Asking for What You Want

Two womenAsking for what you want is a powerful, empowering act that can send strong ripples through your life. While it may seem simple enough, these four things need to be in place first:

1. Clarity about what you want.
2. Belief that you deserve it.
3. Willingness to accept the answer “No.”
4. Courage to ask.

What Do You Want?
Wants emerge from needs you are experiencing, for example: the need to be heard, the need for respect, expedience, beauty, and intimacy. If you know what you need, it makes it easier for you to articulate it to others. You should also know the motivation behind your desire. It’s helpful to distinguish between needs that move us towards well being and those that never really bring happiness, such as the desire for approval or to be right.

Believe You Deserve It
If you think you can’t have what you want, take time to examine your limiting beliefs. Make a list of all the things you want, then write all the reasons why you can’t have them. Are these reasons really true? Have you made decisions about “reality” or made assumptions about others that keep you from even asking for what you want? When you ask people for what you want, you offer them the opportunity to contribute, something we all wish to do.

Prepare for No
Asking for what you truly want honors your experience and brings you into deeper alignment with the essence of who you are. You connect with your own humanness and know where you stand. Having asked, it may no longer be so important that you get exactly what you want; the act of asking is also very empowering.

Effective Communication
Tony Robbins says, “The answer is always ‘no’ if you don’t ask.” True! But asking is more effective when you follow these guidelines for effective communication:

1. State your need clearly, followed by your request.
2. Ask for what you want in the present (not “I wanted you to help me with the kids yesterday.”)
3. Ask for what you do want, not what you don’t want. (“I want you to spend time with me,” not “I don’t want you to be at work so much.”)
4. Ask in the form of a request, rather than a demand.
5. Detach from the outcome.

Remember that empowerment comes in the asking. When you ask for what you want, you have planted not only the seeds of better communication, but of more clearly knowing who you are, which is present in what you want.

 

Author’s content used under license, © 2013 Claire Communications

Speaking Your Truth

Man and woman“There’s only one thing harder than speaking your truth and that’s not speaking it.”
—Naomi Wolf

Heather, a baker for a catering company, began having issues with one of her co-workers after he bulldozed over her experience and capability in the kitchen. After her resentment had built up to a nearly unmanageable level, she called for a meeting, during which she explained to him how she was feeling.

“I made sure to speak my truth,” says Heather. “By that I mean that I spoke with him in a completely honest way about my discomfort, without trying to minimize or play down the fact that I felt disrespected. I used “I” statements, but was also clear about why the work environment had become unbearable.”

Although the lead up to the talk was terrifying—Heather cried in her car on the way to work and nearly turned around—since the meeting, things have been much better at work. The caterer was able to listen to Heather’s statements without attacking her and, on the whole, her work environment has become significantly more pleasant.

Heather’s experience is perfectly normal, especially in regards to the fear she felt before expressing her dissatisfaction. Most people have a difficult time saying what’s true for them when issues come up in family and work life.

They fear the pain of being rejected, writes Mike Robbins in Be Yourself: Everyone Else Is Already Taken, so they alter their words and actions and may even manipulate situations and people to get what they want without having to speak honestly. In a recent article, Kimberly Key, author of Ten Keys to Staying Empowered in a Power Struggle, quoted the familiar verse from the bible “The truth shall set you free” (John 38:2). She believed that this particular verse captures the power that freedom of speech can have from a spiritual perspective. Key also, suggested that when we get to freely speak our truth, we are able to grow in emotional intelligence and improve our physiological health.

However, speaking your truth is not only beneficial psychologically, it can be beneficial to your physical health. “When we let our true self be seen, when we let our inner pilot light radiate, we heal,” says Rankin, the author of the book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself. Holding in emotions and resentments can lead to stress, which can be taxing on the body. Releasing stressful tension is just one of the benefits of speaking truthfully.

But how does one actually do this without alienating others?

  1. Aim for being real, not right. Speak from the heart, and focus on expressing your thoughts without attacking the other person.
  2. Get to know your own truth through introspective exercises. Think about what you value, what inspires you, what makes you feel grounded, what gives you purpose in life.
  3. Practice. Speaking your truth becomes easier with time and repetition. Always pay attention to that inner pilot light. And when something seems off in your outer world, don’t be afraid to let your voice be heard.

As difficult as it may feel to start speaking up, ultimately it’s easier to be truthful than it is to evade the issue. It takes courage to speak up, to risk another’s displeasure, but in the end the physical and mental rewards of doing so are endless.

 

Author’s content used under license, © 2013 Claire Communications

 

When Bad Is Good: Finding Meaning in “Negative” Events

There’s a Taoist story of an old farmer whose horse inexplicably ran away. Woman looking through tube His neighbors said, “What bad luck!” to which he replied, “Perhaps.”

The next day, the horse returned, bringing with it a wild horse. The farmer’s son tried to ride it, fell, and broke his leg. Once again, the neighbors sent their sympathy: “How terrible this is.” “Perhaps,” the farmer said.

The following day, military officials came to the village to draft every young man into the army. With his leg broken, the farmer’s son was spared from service.

There’s always more than one way to look at what life brings you, and for every event that seems negative there is a way to reframe it so that you can see the positive. And that can be a very good thing: your experiences become more meaningful, purposeful and valuable when you are able to recognize the gift contained in adversity.

The trouble is that, during the time you are experiencing adversity it’s often challenging, if not impossible, to see the proverbial silver lining.

So, how do you find the silver lining when troubles arrive at your doorstep?”

See the opposite.

Every day may not be good, but there is good to be found in every day—and a hidden gift in all our experiences. Search for the positive interpretation of the event.

Doing this might seem, at first, alien to you, but thinking outside of your initial interpretation of the event, and learning to be proficient at finding meaning in the challenges that come your way, is an excellent exercise in expanding your view of what’s possible.

Ask yourself lots of questions.

Adversity can serve you in positive ways, and one of the best ways to open yourself up and leverage negative experiences is by asking questions like:

  • How can I use this experience to learn (and change) something about myself? Positive or negative, our experiences are our guides and teachers, and can help us, if we pay attention to the lessons, to improve the quality of our lives.
  • How could this negative experience affect me in a positive way? This can be a challenging question to ask when you feel stuck in the middle of an uncomfortable situation. But being a partner with your pain allows you to open up to the beneficent possibilities instead of merely wallowing in the negativity.
  • How will this make me a stronger person? It’s not about handling difficult circumstances better than others (a mere ego boost), but how an expanded perspective empowers you to be a more capable and resilient spouse, parent, employee, entrepreneur, etc.
  • How does this negative event (and your reaction to it) reflect your life purpose? Sometimes, what we initially perceive as being an obstacle is actually a guide changing our course and steering us to our true path.
  • What’s the opportunity in the negative experience? Personal/professional growth? Developing a thicker skin? Service to others? Connection? A call to adventure? A mindset shift? Reassessing negative situations means converting them into something productive.

Be grateful.

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes. —William James

If not for the negative event itself, be grateful for the insight or lesson learned.

Being present in the moment and appreciating all aspects of your life can act as a calming salve when times get rough.

And remember: finding the silver lining in every cloud doesn’t mean ignoring feelings associated with the event—quite the opposite. It means acknowledging and experiencing those feelings fully AND leveraging them to your advantage.

Giving meaning to events, both positive and negative ones, is empowering. A positive life skill is gained when we realize that for every single thing that happens in our lives, we get to choose whether it’s good or bad, whether it will weaken or strengthen us.

Author’s content used under license, © 2013 Claire Communications