There is only one true way to get what you want: Ask.

It sounds simple, but the act of asking is actually very difficult for many of us.

The fear of rejection, uncomfortableness, and embarrassment stops our requests from ever leaving the safety of our mind. The funny thing is that many times we shoot ourselves down before anyone else even has a chance.

The bad news is that these behaviors are learned. Anyone with children will be able to relate to what I am saying. Kids ask all day long! “Mom, can I have this, go there, or stay up late, please, please, please?” They can be relentless.

But if you grew up in a family like mine, where “children were meant to be seen and not heard,” asking became harder and harder to do. By the time we’re adults, we’ve forgotten how to ask or are too ashamed to share what it is we really want.

The good news is that these patterns can be re-learned and overcome. The truth is that even if your request results in a “no,” you are actually no worse than you were before you started. If you are declined for a dinner date with a possible new love interest or declined for a promotion or new business opportunity, you didn’t have them before, and you don’t have them now, so you’re back to baseline. It is not the end of the world. In fact, now, not only do they know where you stand, but the universe has heard your request and begins to shift in that direction.

However, mustering the courage to ask is only the first step. The more specific you can be in your request the better. 

Here are a few examples of what I mean:

Don’t say: “Hi, I would like to take you out sometime.”
Say: “Hi, I have an extra ticket to a concert this Friday at 8:00, and I’d love it if you joined me.”

Don’t say: “I’d like a discount.”
Say: “I’d like free shipping on my order.”

Don’t say: “I want you to pick up the house.”
Say: “I want you to pick up your clothes off the bathroom floor, bathe the children, and take out the trash on Tuesdays.”

So just ask. Ask with confidence. Ask as if you expect to get it. Imagine the possibilities!

As the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, Jack Canfield fostered the emergence of inspirational anthologies as a genre—and watched it grow to a billion dollar market. As the driving force behind the development and delivery of over 100 million books sold through the Chicken Soup for the Soul® franchise, Jack Canfield is uniquely qualified to talk about success. Jack is America’s #1 Success Coach and wrote the life-changing book The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be and speaks around the world on this subject. Follow Jack at and sign up for his free resources today!

*Photo by maxgiani.