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How to Get What You Want

Do you have unmet needs, wants, and/or desires? This episode of From Good Girl to Grown Ass Woman has your name written all over it. I outline the ineffective strategies many of us are using to try and get our needs met, as well as methods and practices that actually work. Why? Because you are worthy of having your needs met, your wants satiated, and your desires fulfilled. Listen in, and let me know your biggest takeaways.

How to Get Your Needs Met

For context, today I use the words “want” and “need” and “desire” interchangeably. While there may be some differences worth distinguishing at another time, for now, let’s assume these words all refer to something physically, emotionally, or otherwise pleasing and valuable to you that you would like to have. My belief is that you are worthy of having your needs met, your wants satiated, and your desires fulfilled.

Ineffective Strategies for Getting Your Needs Met

  • Hint around until the other person involved finally figures out what you want
  • Employ various passive aggressive tactics, and punish other people or ourselves when the strategy doesn’t play out the way we hoped it would.
  • Deny you have needs at all.
  • Hope other people read your mind, and then be disappointed or mad when that doesn’t happen, and suffer throughout the process.
  • Make demands, with really high stakes or consequences for those demands not being met.
  • Try to nicely coerce, cajole, convince – which is really just a nicer way of saying that you try to control other people. 
  • Make it your job to meet 100% of your needs on your own, without involving anyone else, ever.
  • My personal favorite: come out swinging. Assume the other person is against you, and that you have to fight to get what you want, creating defensiveness or confusion.
  • Disguise your needs as complaints, and create a posture of “I’m right, you’re wrong.”

Examples of How Not to Get What You Want

I’d like to share a couple of examples to illustrate communication of a need gone off the rails.

When I was in coach training, I had a fairly innocuous request of the leadership team. How I brought this request was so emotional, I was crying, could barely get the words out, and was if I was trying to fight the powers that be, while in reality, there was no fight to be had. I remember the leaders in the room looked at each other with these confused expressions on their faces, like- “what just happened?” It was pointed out to me that I brought this request assuming the response would be “no.” Assuming there was a closed door, versus any number of alternatives, like making a simple ask, or creating a win/win or possibility. I was invited to take a break and try my ask again later, and the same thing. I felt I had to convince someone or prove something, whereas all that was based on stories of “I can’t have what I want. Or I have to fight for what I want.”

Here’s another example. 

A colleague brought something to a group call recently that was a complaint heavily draped in blame and I’m right/you’re wrong, complete with accusatory language and all. This person had been holding on to a want for months, that had been mentioned to no one, and so on their end, resentment had been building, grudges had been accumulating, stories about the other people involved were being invented. All the while, the others involved literally had no idea. So by the time the complaint was presented, there was a lot of energy behind it. On the receiving end of this long-held complaint was the experience of defensiveness, confusion, and feeling shamed. After some digging, a desire was identified, and from clarifying that desire, this person was able to make a request of others. While this person did ultimately get their needs met, it was preceded by so much unnecessary suffering for everyone involved.

Making Requests to Get Our Needs Met

My assertion is that beneath every complaint is a desire. And from desire, there is opportunity for a request. Sometimes, that’s a request of yourself. Sometimes, that’s a request of someone else. 

Here’s the truth about making requests: they may or may not be met. Now, if they’re chronically unmet, everywhere, all the time, there may be something to look at in terms of how you’re bringing the request. We have to decide that receiving either a yes or a no is totally okay. Other people are not actually obligated to acquiesce to your requests, or meet your needs. Because ultimately, your needs are your responsibility- AND – you do not have to do it all on your own.

A distinction I teach my relationship coaching clients, is that when we don’t ask for what we want- from a partner, a team member at work, a family member – the answer is almost certainly “no.”

So the practice for us to engage in is to build up our muscle of asking for what we want, and receiving yeses AND no’s, and not making it mean anything about you, either way. Get to neutral about it. Your worth does not go up or down based on someone else’s response. 

Best Practices for Getting What You Want

  • Notice how you typically get your needs met now. Identify what you’d like to shift or change.
  • Decide that you are worthy of having your needs met.
  • Notice having complaints. Can you identify the desire or need beneath the complaint?
  • Practice making requests.
  • Decide that the outcome of your request doesn’t signify anything about you.

What are your key takeaways? Is there anything I can support you with? Send me a message and let me know!

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5/31/2022

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How to Get What You Want

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