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How to Ask for What You Want

Photo by Winona Grey
Excellence can be obtained if you care more than others think is wise, risk more than others think is safe, dream more than others think is practical, expect more than others think is possible. ~Unknown

In my quest to actively create a personal and professional life that offers me all the things and experiences I desire, I’ve begun to notice the discrepancy between what I believe I deserve and what I actually ask for.

My conscious mind is in tune with my greatest attributes and I feel as if I’ve always had some degree of appreciation for what I am capable of contributing to a relationship or a job. I believe that I am monetarily worth a significant amount.

Yet, when it comes to asking for what I believe I deserve, I state my bare minimum and offer it up for negotiation. Then, I brood over being completely unappreciated.

Part of the disconnect comes from my knee-jerk reaction to subscribe to what others are saying is possible, using their past experiences or current reality as an indication of what is possible for mine.

After a long string of gigs that offered only enough to survive, I decided to turn a switch and use experience as a jumping board to ask for more instead of simply offering up what I was making and allowing someone else to use that as a clear indicator of what I was worth.

I shared with others in my field what I would be asking for as I headed out on another job hunt, and was promptly shut down by those who said finding anything with my specifications wasn’t possible and I should adjust my expectations.

Despite my greatest intentions to think larger and visualize something more satisfying for my life, I found myself listening to what was being said and adjusting my beliefs of what was possible. And then I thought about how long it would be before I could actually ask for what I believed I deserved.

At that rate, the two would never line up.

From the time we are young, we are often told that progress is gradual, and we must work hard to move our way up in the world. Yes, miracles happen, but they are rare and shouldn’t be counted on.

So we subscribe to the belief that we will only become prosperous with the passage of time and we must put in our dues before asking for what it is we actually want.

A friend of mine was once hired for a job in which she was asked what she would like to make in order to not resent the work she was doing. The number they settled on was far greater than the amount she would have expected and greater than the amount she was prepared to ask for.

In truth, not receiving compensation that’s indicative of our worth does breed resentment and causes a steady chipping away of our motivation and desire to do and be better.

But it’s up to us to tell and show the world what we’re worth, and share our expectations with those who have a hand in shaping our experience. If we don’t ask, we’ll never receive.

For me, this is a long journey I’m still in the process of navigating, but in my attempt to stand in my truth and actively create a space for my best life to unfold, here are a few tips I’m following. Faith tells me I am capable of asking for what I am worthy of.

Tip #1 – Don’t expect the world to defend your worth.

I believe that others determine my worth by the actions I do and do not take. In turn, the actions I do and do not take are simply a reflection of the worth I am able to recognize in myself.

Therefore, it is up to me to let others know what I expect, and chances are, if I see my worth as low, I will attract people into my life that validate this sentiment for me. It is far easier to come from a positive place and expect the world to react to me in a similar way, then operate from negativity and expect something different in return.

Tip #2 – Recognize the power of thought and the reality it created for others.

People tend to share beliefs and thoughts based off of their own experience, but their experience most likely stemmed from those beliefs.

I know that the majority of the people I shared my intentions with were speaking from a place of lack based off of their own experience. If I subscribe to those same beliefs, my reality will look the same as theirs.

I have become extremely cognizant of who in my life I share certain things with — if, for instance, I am seeking monetary abundance, I will reach out to those in pursuit or in possession of the same thing. I don’t need to determine the possibilities for my life off of someone else’s.

Tip #3 – Be clear about what it is you want.

I know that if I am not crystal clear about what I am seeking from a person or a situation, the chances of me getting it are slim to none. After all, if I don’t know what I want, how is someone else supposed to?

I recognize the importance of tuning in to the larger picture I have for my life, and checking in often to note any changes that have occurred as I grow and experience new things.

Only I can be responsible for guiding my life in the desired direction and making adjustments along the way.

Tip #4 – Know that the larger the risk, the larger the reward.

I have spent a great deal of my life playing it safe, seeking massive changes from only minor risks. Unfortunately, I can’t expect a significant payback when I am only willing to take one small step out of my comfort zone.

If I am only willing to ask for two percent more than what I’m making now, simply because I’m afraid of appearing selfish, ungrateful, etc., etc., then that is the meager return I (might) get. If I am willing to step out on a limb and ask for 40 percent, they might meet me in the middle — either way, it’s more in line with what I want.

I know that I must be willing to be vulnerable, to expose myself in order to live a greater life.

What is it in your life that you need to ask for?

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About the author

Kayla Albert is freelance writer intent on living life deliberately. You can follow her at Confessions of a Perfectionist. If there's a writing project you'd like for her to tackle, visit her website at

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6 thoughts on How to Ask for What You Want

  1. Great article and such a powerful subject matter! It’s great that belief in being able to have what you want and ASKING for what you want are so interconnected with GETTING what you want. It seems like such a simple equation yet we have all had experiences which seem to suggest we don’t deserve what we want. Becoming okay with either outcome makes it easier for us to ask confidently for what we want, and who knows, chances are we might just get it! Why not? :)


  2. “I shared with others in my field what I would be asking for as I headed out on another job hunt, and was promptly shut down by those who said finding anything with my specifications wasn’t possible and I should adjust my expectations.”

    No offense, but I would not have shared my plans with people; I would have kept things to myself. The only people I would have confided in were those who are successful in the field and/or a business coach or mentor.

    People, however well meaning, have their own issues. Plus, if you tell them you want to make a certain amount of money, this could trigger them. They could think to themselves, “If she makes big money, where does that leave me? What does that say about me?” I’m speaking from my own experience.

    The only people I share my plans with are my business coach and a few others. Otherwise, I keep my mouth shut until everything is signed, sealed, and delivered.

  3. Meg

    Lovely article- this resonates with me a lot. So often do we let the limiting beliefs of ours (and others!) hold us back.

    I think the key here is to accept that others aren’t going to just hand us what we want if we do not make it clear what we want. Tough, sure, but it’s each of our responsibilities to reach out of our comfort zones and really go after what it is we know we deserve!

  4. Just ask! I’m sure that if you ask yourself and the others around you, the cosmos will reply to your question one way or another!

  5. I like this: “It is far easier to come from a positive place and expect the world to react to me in a similar way, then operate from negativity and expect something different in return.”

    Yes, I find it helps to be willing to be pleasantly surprised!

  6. Valerie

    I love tip #4. I have to remember this. “You can choose comfort or you can have courage, but you cannot have both” – Brene Brown

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