Begin to ask for what you want. Imagine what it would mean for you to know what you want and then ask for it (from yourself or others). It changes everything!
Here’s a simple example of asking for what you want. How often do you choose the same old flavor when you order ice cream? Is it because that’s your favorite flavor? Or is it because it’s become a habit and you’re not sure what other flavor you might want? Next time try something new. Pick a scoop or two or three simply because you like the color or the name. You get to choose a flavor just because you want to. I would love to try all of the flavors in the picture!
Kids are great teachers in the “wanting” department because they are experts. They are focused and determined. Kids know what they want and are single-minded in their quest for getting it. The key is that they know exactly what they want. They aren’t wishy-washy, at all.
A few weeks ago I watched a toddler dump her toys out so she could sit in the bin. It was barely big enough for her to fit in, but she was determined. Her first strategy was to do a summersault into the bin. As you can imagine, headfirst didn’t work. Then she held onto the sides and got one foot in, but couldn’t get the other foot in because her hands were in the way. Her next strategy was to move her hands around to get both legs in. She was delighted!
Next up, how to climb back out without tipping over or hanging onto the sides. After many trials she figured out how to step in, sit down, and then step back out with ease. She was thrilled and so proud of herself! I was fascinated watching her problem solve. She was clear about what she wanted and kept trying different things until she achieved it. We could learn a lot from this little girl.
As a kid, I couldn’t wait for the Sears catalog to arrive. I looked at all of those possibilities and either cut out my favorite pictures or wrote a list. I wanted to make sure Santa knew exactly what I wanted! Who knew that cutting out those pictures was the precursor to creating a vision board? Kids are experts at saying what they want, until they are taught to tone it down.
Why don’t you ask for what you want?
Often you don’t ask for what you want because you don’t even know what that is. You’ve gotten out of the habit of letting yourself know what you really want. Your go-to is to defer to others.
Other times you don’t ask for what you want because you don’t want to over-step your bounds. That’s some really old self-talk! Growing up you heard, “Don’t be so full of yourself!” The subtext of that is, don’t ask for what you want because you shouldn’t be so selfish.
Do you tell yourself that you really don’t care and either choice is ok? I challenge that – it’s a habit! Pay very close attention to your mind chatter. Notice how often you defer to others. You’ll feel it viscerally. It might feel like a pit in your stomach. Or you might feel a sense of “meh” because you really do know what you want, but this isn’t it! Many relationships would improve by simply asking for what you want and allowing the other person to do the same.
Get curious when you notice you have automatically deferred to someone else’s choice. Be clear about what you want. Decide what you want and ask for it. It might be choosing what to order out for dinner. Maybe it’s choosing the movie to watch. It could even be sharing a great new idea at work. Let me know what happens when you ask for what you want.