Could you be making bigger, better and BOLDER requests?
As you read the title of this post perhaps you were thinking “umm… I don’t know… could I?”. If that was the case for you then I want you to begin by thinking about something in your life that is not how you would like it to be right now: a person who is annoying you, a situation which is causing you to feel overwhelmed or frustrated or unappreciated, something you would like but aren’t getting. It doesn’t have to be something huge… but it might be! The only criterion is that it’s something that isn’t the way you would ideally like it to be.
Now think about what specifically it is in regard to this “issue” that you would need to be different for you to feel better about it; or put another way, for there to be no issue at all.
Finally, ask yourself whether or not you have made a clear request to have this need fulfilled?
My experience is that often when people find themselves feeling overloaded, dissatisfied, stressed out or resentful there are requests they could be making – to resolve the issue, solve the problem or fulfill the need – that they aren’t. To hear what i had to say about this when i was on the Today Show with Kathy Lee and Hoda click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG4xA2pFxuk
Take Jane for example. Jane recently shared with me how she gets sick of how little notice her husband gives her when he invites business clients over for dinner. When I asked her if she had asked her beloved to give her more notice she said “No. But I’ve dropped enough hints so he should have!”
“Hints” – what good is that?
Pete’s boss asked him to move forward with executing a project without giving him the resources he needed to get the job done to meet the delivery deadline. When I asked Pete whether or not he had asked his boss for more resources he said “No, because there’s none available”.
Or Mel who works for a large investment bank on Wall Street. When we began working together Mel was working such long hours that she hardly saw her young son all week. Needless to say, she wasn’t very happy about the situation. When I asked her whether she had asked her boss if she could cut back hours or work fewer days per week she said “No. My boss would never agree to that. It’s out of the question Margie”.
Four months and one bold request later Mel was taking Wednesdays off.
The more requests being made of you, the more you need to make of others!
Closer to home, I recently found myself feeling overwhelmed with the amount of administrative work I had to do with my business. Knowing when there’s overload it generally indicates there is a request or two going unmade, I asked myself “What request could I be making now that I’m not?”
The answer – making a request of someone else to do some of this work admin work for me. Of course the next question that came up was “But who?” and the next answer that came up was “I don’t know. But I can make a request of a few friends and colleagues to let me know if they can refer anyone”. Within the month I had wonderful Cindy helping with admin, Monica doing my book keeping and Diane managing my website, leaving me unburdened to get on with the stuff I like (and add value to)!
Ahhh…. the power of a request.
Two Ingredients of a Powerful Request:
For a request to hold any water it needs to specify not just a “what” you’d like, but also a “when”. For Jane, it ended up being “Could you please give me at very least 48 hours notice when you are having people over but preferably a week.” For Pete it was, “If I am to meet this deadline I need an extra two analysts on board within the month for the next 3 months. Otherwise we will have to put the deadline back.” Asking for something to be done “soon” or “sometime” or “when you have time” leaves the door wide open for unmet expectations, frustration and sometimes even hurt.
Of course there is always the possibility that what you ask for will not be what you are given. Geez, if we all got what we asked for then we’d have all won lotto many moons ago. But that’s not the point. Unless you find the courage to make the request in the first place you will have Buckley’s chance (Aussie for no-chance) of having that need fulfilled.
You Get What You Tolerate! Where are you ‘settling’?
It’s a rule of life that you get what you tolerate in the world. Making requests will go a long way to eliminating the ‘tolerations’ in your life. Whether it be having a colleague stop communicating only via email, your husband take out the rubbish, your mother refrain from giving parenting advice, hiring a cleaner to keep your house from looking like a war zone, asking your boss to give you a new challenge/pay rise or your friend/colleague to stop turning up late every time you meet. Complaining about your problems never solves them; whining about unmet needs never fulfills them. People aren’t mind readers and assuming others should automatically know what you need is a surefire recipe for resentment.
Be Bold: Dare to Ask For What You Really Want
So as you get on with the rest of your day, week and year, I invite you to think about where you could be making more plentiful, more effective and more courageous requests. Don’t water down what you really want in order to minimize the possibility of being turned down (“Honey, if you could put the kids to bed yourself once a month that would be super” is not what you really want and “Hey boss, if you could just tell me I’m doing an okay job a bit more often than never” is also not what you really want). Rather be bold and ask for what you would ideally absolutely really and truly looooooove to have happen. At a minimum you create a new context in the ensuing conversation. Even if it’s an outright “no, I can’t do that” that comes back your way, at least now you know where things stand and can move on, plan and make changes accordingly.
Asking less from yourself, from others and from life than you really want doesn’t serve anyone. Take responsibility for your experience of life and make the decision starting right now not to let another day pass by settling for your needs going unmet, your frustrations running unfetted and your life passing uncherished. You are capable of more than you think you are – including making bigger and bolder requests than you’ve made up ’til now. Don’t believe me? Then allow me to request you that you try… today!
Go on… I DARE YOU!