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Igniting Your Courage to Ask

the-courage-to-ask“I’m having a craving for kayaking (even though I don’t own one.) Would you take me? I’m available Monday.” I wrote in an email to M.

Prior to this e-mail, I had been encouraged by a friend to make a list of dating desires. I chose the one I felt like doing the most and sent it to the gentleman with whom I had gone on a date a few weeks back and who had recently asked me for another but I had been out of town.

Asking for what I wanted with such clarity was a first for me.

I was scared of being too demanding, of being rejected, of being manipulative, of turning him off….

What I got in return from him was, “Would canoeing suffice? I have one of those. Monday would be great.”

I was floored. All I had wanted to do this week-end was to spend it floating on a body of water – and I made it happen!

Having the ability to ask for what you want brings with it the opportunity to have what the world has to offer, if you believe that you can receive what you ask for. Some of you are really good at asking for what you want because you believe you can. The rest of you see getting what you want as sheer luck. I’ve been learning that luck has nothing to do with knowing what you want and asking for it.

Asking for what you want is a self-survival tool.

The first challenge though, for many women, is in not knowing what you want, desire or need in the first place.  (Prior to this experience, when I was asked what I wanted to do, my response had been, “whatever YOU want to do.”  Mostly, because I really didn’t know what I wanted.  Usually, that got me nowhere pleasurable.  I typically ended listening to music I didn’t enjoy, eating food that wasn’t my thing, or hanging out with people I had no interest in.)  Taking the time to make a list of desires allowed me to get clarity on my own wants.

The second challenge showed up in the fear in asking.  Little old me?  Ask for what I wanted?  Isn’t that kind of bossy?  Isn’t that kind of wimpy?  I had been blocked by the perception of looking selfish or, worse, needy.

The truth of the matter is, you can ask for ANYTHING you want: a kiss, a cuddle, sex, attention, time, loyalty, fidelity, a date on a lake – if you can think of it, you can ask for it.

But you may be stuck in the belief that if “so and so” cared for you, knew how hard you worked, understood you better, you shouldn’t HAVE to ask – they would just know. The reality is that expecting others to be mind-readers is unfair to both them and to you. Either way, it is never a good use of time trying to figure out what some other is thinking – it’s best to be direct and ask.

If the fear of feeling silly, foolish and needy makes you recoil from asking, then the fear of rejection makes you fear to ask for what you want.

I TOTALLY get fear of rejection – it held me back for DECADES….  I’m learning now that this death blow of rejection is something you make up and give to yourself. And in believing this, you hold yourself apart from that which you are longing for in the first place. This fear is insidious. It keeps you stuck in “if only’s” and self-deprecating, disenfranchised thoughts such as:

  • If only I was 20 lbs. lighter
  • If only I wasn’t so thin skinned
  • If only my hair were blonde/curly/long/short…
  • If only I were taller
  • If only I were smarter
  • If only I had a better car
  • If only I had another degree/certificate

This disenfranchisement can go on forever, and force you into a life where you never ask another person out again. The fear of rejection is the obsession you make up and tell yourself before you ask a question, and the ‘no’ just provides you with the evidence of what you believed about yourself in the first place.

The truth of the matter is that the feeling of rejection occurs way before you asked the question. Because you did not believe in yourself enough by believing that you are good enough as you are. When you want something, you need to believe you are good enough to receive it instead of assuming that you are not going to get it. You have to be willing to take a risk and ask for what you want or need. So what if the person you ask says no. What have you lost? Nothing. Besides, I’m learning “no” doesn’t always mean no anyway… (but that’s for another post)

I had to believe, in putting myself out by asking to go kayaking, that I was worth spending the day with.

You have to be willing to ask for what you want, whether it is a raise, a day off, longer lunch break, a discount, a date, a contract, a deal. Whatever it is you want, start by asking and expect that you will get it. Also, be willing to ask again if you do not get it.

Asking is a release. To receive anything that we want we have to ask for it. The power is in the asking, and in the expectation that you will receive what it is you’re asking for. Asking affects everything else. It affects your body posture, eye contact, voice and tone and even your choice of words. When you ask with expectation that you will get that which you’re asking for, your way of being gets into alignment with the expectation.

Sit in these three questions….

If I were getting what I want:

  • How would I be being?
  • What would I be feeling?
  • What would I be doing?

This week, I encourage you to get clear on what you want, to believe that you can get it, to ask and wait to receive.  This is a seriously huge practice in fearlessness and I KNOW you are up to the challenge.  Share with us your “research.”  Tell us what you saw, what you noticed, what you got from doing it and report back.  We all benefit from your transparency and your wisdom!

In love, service and pleasure,

Joelle Lydon




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