Get What You Want: 6 Tips To Make Bold Requests

Get What You Want: 6 Tips To Make Bold Requests

Think of a situation that’s causing you to feel resentful, frustrated, unappreciated or overwhelmed. We all experience them but often we don’t have the courage to do what it takes to change them. Maybe it’s a boss who has unreasonable expectations; a neighbor or co-worker who’s become a pest; or a spouse who seems to be taking us for granted.

If you aren’t getting something you really want then it may be because you just aren’t asking for it. Complaining about your problems never solves them; whining about unmet needs never fulfills them. When you get clear about what you want, and are willing to ask for it, you will experience not only a lot less stress in your life, but greater success in your relationships, your career and your life over all. Here are six tips to help you on your way.

Here are six tips to help you on your way.

1. Don’t assume others are mind readers. We often assume our spouses, bosses, work colleagues and even our good friends can read our minds. So when don’t act as we’d like, we wind up hurt and upset. Of course, for any relationship to thrive, both parties have to take responsibility for communicating their needs. Hints just don’t cut it. Whether it’s how you’d like, your colleague to communicate with you about a work project, or how you’d like your partner to engage in foreplay, it’s crucial to be assertive in conveying what you want.

2. Be bold in your requests. When it comes to asking for what you really want, the Latin proverb “Fortes fortuna adiuvat” sums it up perfectly: “Fortune favors the bold”. The reality is you will rarely, if ever, be given more than what you have the courage to ask for. So don’t dilute your requests in order to minimize the possibility of being turned down. Think about what your ideal outcome would be and then confidently, courageously, ask for it. While you may not always get as much as you asked for (whether it be a pay rise or the corner office) you are going to get a lot more than what you would have otherwise received. 

3. Be specific about what you want and when you want it. In the workplace, the biggest reason for unmet expectations is a lack of understanding of exactly what was expected. And the same often applies on the home front too. Asking someone to do something “soon” can be interpreted in all sorts of way. For a request to hold any water it needs to specify not just “what” you’d like, but also the time frame you want them to do it in. That is, both a clear and unambiguous “what” and a “when.”   For example, “Could you please get the monthly sales report to me by midday Friday?” or “Could you please give me at 48 hours notice if you plan to bring clients home for dinner?” From the boardroom to the bedroom, it’s unreasonable to expect to get what you want if those who can give it to you aren’t clear about what that is!

4. You get what you tolerate. It’s a rule of life that you get what you tolerate. Making requests will go a long way to eliminating the ‘tolerations’ in your life. Whether it be asking your mother-in-law to refrain from giving unsolicited parenting advice, asking your friend to show up on time, asking your colleage to stop making sexist jokes in your presence, or asking your husband to take his turn to change the toilet paper roll. Every day, through what you say and do, you teach others how to treat you. If you allow others to take you for granted, to overstep the line of your personal boundaries, or to be outright disrespectful, then you are complicit in it. Letting others know what you will (and will not) tolerate and what you expect from them, is crucial to your well being and success – at home and work. You get what you tolerate. What are you no longer willing to tolerate? Therein lays the boundary that you alone must set and the powerful requests you alone must make.

5. Skip the guilt and ditch the martyr act. The more requests being made of you, the more you need to be making of others. But if you are like so many women I know, myself included, you may sometimes wrestle with needless guilt when it comes to prioritizing your own needs ahead of others (which includes family pets). As a big sister of seven, mother of four and girlfriend of many more, I believe we women can sometimes sell ourselves short and martyr ourselves to the needs of those around us (metaphorically speaking at least). Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful to come to the aid of those who need it and be generous with our colleagues and community, friends and family. But if, in being all things to all people, we fail to take care of our own needs, we end up overwhelmed, resentful, or more often, both. Who’s that serving?! Putting your own needs ahead of everyone else’s is not a selfish act, it’s the most loving thing you can do for everyone. So enough of the guilt driven martyr act. Your needs matter too. So when there’s something you need, ask!

6. Don’t make a ‘no’ mean more than it does. The reality is that you won’t always get what you ask for. Your boss won’t always give you the promotion you’d like and your parents may not agree to mind your three kids every second weekend. Such is life. When people say no, you can take it really personally, get yourself in a big huff, and decide never to speak to them again – or you can accept it graciously and move on. At least now you know where you stand and can plan accordingly.

Asking for less than you really want – from yourself, from others and from life – doesn’t serve anyone. Take responsibility for your experience of life and make the decision starting right now: Do not 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. Remember that fortune favors the bold. So make bigger, better, bolder requests, and ask for what you really want. Who knows… you might just get it! Now wouldn’t that be nice.

Margie Warrell, best-selling author of “Find Your Courage: 12 Acts for Becoming Fearless in Work & Life” (McGraw-Hill Professional), is an executive life coach and Keynote Speaker who is passionate about empowering women to think bigger, expand their vision of what’s possible, and to live and lead more courageously.  With her down to earth Australian humor and working mother-of-four pragmatism, Margie draws on her background in psychology and Fortune 500 business to show others how to leverage adversity and take their lives to new levels of success and fulfillment.  The “Resident Coach” on Let’s Talk Live (Washington, D.C.’s daily talk show), Margie also shares her expertise regularly on national media including The TODAY Show, CNBC and Fox News. To get her free Live Boldly! newsletter or other great resources please visit