Get What You Want



It is MY job to make it as easy as possible 
for another person to give me what I want.

Please repeat that statement between three and thirty times: It is MY job to make it as easy as possible for another person to give me what I want.

It is MY job…(maybe you should keep a hand mirror next to you-and look into it as you say it again-or video yourself saying it, and play it back as you say it)
It is MY job too... and again. It is my job to…. Whose job is it?


1. Get in touch with what I feel.

2. Get clear about what I want from this person in this situation.

3. Make a direct statement of feeling.

4. Ask for what I want.

THE FIRST STEP is particularly hard for most men. We are taught from our earliest years to ignore most of our feelings. Anger is acceptable. Excitement is acceptable, but we have little experience allowing ourselves to stay with our hurt, or fear, or feelings of abandonment, or really gushy elation. Believe me, this training gets in the way of getting what you really want or need.
While women struggle less with getting in touch with feelings, it still can be a problem 
acknowledging them because you are taught that your feelings are just not that important or silly. 

Nevertheless, it’s important to know what you’re feeling if you’re going to get what you actually want.  So, once you’ve clarified for yourself what you feel, you must move to 

THE SECOND STEP  There’s a simple logic at work here.  We can’t ask for what we want if we don’t know what it is. For instance, you’re dependent on a co-worker’s input to complete a project today. You wait for her to show up. She comes in an hour late. In step 
one you get in touch with your feelings (anxiety, frustration, fear…..).  Now, what do you want from her?  Acknowledgement that she was late?  An apology?  A commitment never to do it again? A commitment to put in extra time to finish the project?  Assurance that she will take responsibility if the project doesn’t get completed on time?  There are lots of possibilities, so you have to decide which you want from her.

THE THIRD STEP is difficult because we are just not used to making direct statements of our feelings. Both men and women feel vulnerable (there’s a feeling word) when we put our inner selves out there. Since men are trained against it (what are you--a little girl?), it’s particularly scary for us.  

Nevertheless, research has shown that people are much more receptive to our requests when we have given them a glimpse of our feelings.  So what is a direct statement of feelings? Sheila, I am very anxious about getting our project done, and I am hurt that you have come in so late, knowing what I might be going through.  This sentence has the two key ingredients. The speaker takes ownership of her/his feelings (I) and the speaker names feelings: anxious, hurt.
How about this one? Sheila, I feel that you are really inconsiderate and irresponsible for keeping me waiting.  Does that sound direct to you? It might, but it is not direct.  Why?  Where are the feelings?  Inconsiderate is not a feeling.  Irresponsible is not a feeling.  Besides, the speaker is 
labeling Sheila with these words, not expressing anything about her/himself.  The speaker is also committing a common and serious sin against assertive communications. S/he is using the word feel when s/he is actually stating a belief or a judgment. I feel you’re a disgusting, moldy, pompous creep with no consideration for anybody. 

After the listener sets your car on fire, maybe you’ll figure out what the problem was.

I was only expressing my feelings.

THE FOURTH STEP is usually the scariest for most of us. It is scarier for many women because you’ve usually been taught not to directly ask for what you want.  This step is really based on a very simple concept. If I want something from you, asking for it is the most efficient way to increase the likelihood I‘m going to get it. Picture yourself walking into a fast food restaurant. You would like to be served a soda.  Rather than asking the person behind the cash register for a soda, you stand there.  How quickly do you think she or he will figure out what you want and give it to you?  Now you can attempt to get the message across indirectly by perhaps licking your lips. You could say something to the person who’s just picked up a drink at the counter, loud enough that the employee will hear. Boy, I bet that soda tastes really good.  It certainly is possible that over a period of time you could come up with enough indirect actions that the 
employee, if she or he had the time and patience, would come to understand what you wanted from them.  It seems to me, however, that it would be a lot easier and quicker to say directly, I’d like a large soda, please.

I’m sure you see how difficult it would be for the employee to figure out what you want.  That employee even has the advantage of working from a limited list of choices (whatever’s on the menu) S/he does not even have to consider any of the 
of options that humans have in normal intercourse with each other.  It certainly can often be much more difficult to figure out what your friend/brother/mother/ sister/partner might want in any given situation, without them telling you directly.  Unfortunately, we spend a lot of time guessing or assuming because we don’t know.
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