The Secret To Getting What You Want Is Asking For It (Here’s How)

Not sure how to ask for what you want? Looking for goal-setting advice or tips for chasing your dreams? Read on for self-development tips you won't read elsewhere! #goalsetting #motivation #productivity #getwhatyouwant #growthmindset #inspiring #motivation #motivational #personaldevelopment #getoutofyourcomfortzone #styleyourlife
When Jen’s email pings into my inbox, my first reaction is to lean back and squint.

I’ve asked Jen for feedback on the course she just took and I’m expecting/hoping for a few kind words, some constructive criticism, and maybe some hard numbers if she’s willing to share them. Some numbers in the low four figures.

That’s what I was expecting.

Instead, Jen told me that my course had given her the courage to negotiate a 12,000 raise. That’s almost $14,000 for us Yanks! Whaaaaaaaat?!

And while I am, of course, happy that Bank Boost nudged Jen to negotiate for a bigger salary, the truth is this: Jen got what she wanted because she asked for it.

There are a million blog posts bouncing around the internet that tell us how to reach goals, manifest our dreams, and change our habits. (I know this because I write a lot of those blog posts.)

Many of these blog posts walk us through the art of getting clear on what we want, breaking our goals into teeny, tiny steps, and working towards what we want on a consistent basis. And these are all important parts of getting what we want.

But. None of that means anything if we’re not willing to ask for it. Let's say you want to get into an amazing party. Breaking goals into little pieces is walking up the sidewalk, asking for what you want is knocking on the door. Share on X

How to ask for what you want

Start talking by about what you want

We can’t help you get what you want if we don’t know you want it. How would I know that you’re trying to adopt a pair of chow chows unless you told me so? Am I supposed to guess that you’re job searching when you haven’t said anything about it?

Every time we talk about what we want, we’re planting a seed for our future self. The person I’m talking to is more likely to remember that I wanted to do more sponsored travel and pass along that Amtrak promotion she saw or introduce me to her friend who works for Enterprise rental car.

When we talk about what we want, we’re also creating unofficial accountability partners. When I mention, in passing, that I want to do more public speaking, my friends are more likely to ask me about it next time I see them. And it’s embarrassing to tell them I dropped the ball and gave up!

How do you talk about what you want in a way that doesn’t feel pushy or weird? Here’s a basic script:

Friend: “Hey! It’s been a minute! What have you been up to?”

You: “Oh, pretty much the usual. We just got back from a week in Florida so this weather is a rude awakening. Other than that, we’re still looking for a house in Mac-Groveland or Highland Park. We’re growing out of our little bungalow!”

That’s it! Not weird! Not pushy! You’re just mentioning the thing that you want to someone who knows you and wants you to be happy.

Share why you want something

When we tell people the story behind why we want something, we’re a lot more likely to get it.

If I tell you I want more Instagram followers, your knee jerk reaction might be, “Ugh, who doesn’t, Von Bargen?”

But if I tell you that I want more Instagram followers so I can get the ‘swipe up’ option and make it easier for my followers to access my writing – you might think “Yeah, I wish you had the swipe up option, too. I hate clicking around with that ‘link in bio’ nonsense.”

If you hear me shouting about how I want to partner with tourism boards, you might narrow your eyes and wonder why I think I should get free travel.

But if I tell you I want to partner with tourism boards so I can travel to underappreciated + affordable travel destinations, tell you about it, and send tourism dollars to towns and small businesses that need it – you might think “I should really introduce Sarah to my cousin who works for Nebraska’s tourism board.”

Actually, uh, ask for it

We can get surprisingly far by simply talking about what we want. Just by acknowledging to ourselves what we want + saying it out loud in the company of others, we’re more likely to get it.

But when we actually ask for it? That’s where the magic happens.

When we work up the courage to say “Could you reduce my internet bill to match your competitor’s rate?” or “Will you introduce me to any cute single friends you have?” or “Would you tell me if any of your neighbors are thinking about selling?” we’re exponentially more likely to get what we want.

Is it wildly uncomfortable to directly ask for what we want? You bet it is. But our success is directly correlated to how uncomfortable we’re willing to be.

With that in mind, even though this makes me so uncomfortable I could turn inside out, here are four things I want

I want 10,000 Instagram followers so I can get that dang swipe up option

Let’s be real: nobody wants to ‘click the link in the bio.’ I’m a professional blogger and a devoted IG user and even I am reluctant to click 13 different things to get to a blog post.

If we’re not friends on Instagram, could you do me a solid and follow me there? And if we are friends and I’ve written something you liked, would you be willing to share it or tag a friend? This post and this post were particularly popular.

I want to partner with ethical, U.S.-based food companies to create awesome, No Grocery Challenge-related content

I want to talk about how to use parmesan rinds, how to keep your herbs from wilting after two days, how to bread vegetables, tofu, or meat with, well, just about any processed carbohydrate. (If you’ve never had eggplant breaded in crushed Ritz crackers YOU HAVE NOT LIVED.)

If you’re reading this and you work for an ethical, United States-based food company, will you email me at [email protected]?

I want to do more public speaking, more lunch-and-learns, and more IRL workshops

Last year, I gave the keynote at The Blog Connect conference and this year I’ve got a few speaking gigs on the books, but I’d love to do more. I was a classroom teachers for seven years and I love in-real-life, in-real-time learning and connection.

If you book speakers and you’d like someone to speak about habits, money, or happiness to your people, will you drop me a line?

I want to partner with tourism boards, hotels, and car rental agencies to spread the gospel of road travel

Road travel is sooooo much better for the environment than flying and I want to introduce y’all to underappreciated travel destinations + the fantastic independent businesses at those destinations.

We all know NYC is great and that Hilton hotels are nice. But did you know that Bloomington, Indiana is legit lovely? And so is Decorah, Iowa? And did you know that Red Roof Inn lets you bring your dog for no extra cost? These are the things I want to talk about!

Do you work in tourism for an underappreciated destination? Or a car rental company? Email me please!

Now that I feel slightly nauseous with vulnerability, I want to hear from you! Tell us what you want and how we can help you get it! Let’s turn this comment section into a big ol’ want-sharing party!

P.S. Stop choosing goals you don’t have control over

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

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  1. Space Station Mir

    Thanks for being brave! I followed you on Instagram! 🙂

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Thanks so much! <3

  2. Marie

    Hah I love this post and I love you! I would really like someone to bring me some icecream in the bath.. J’ll ask my husband!

  3. Fanny

    I wnt the Instagram thing too, so boring to not have swipe up !

  4. instagram page manager

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thank you, However I am encountering troubles with your RSS.

    I don’t understand the reason why I am unable to subscribe
    to it. Is there anybody getting the same RSS issues?

    Anyone who knows the answer can you kindly respond?

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