One of my favorite quotes is this one from Tony Robbins: “The answer is always ‘no’ if you don’t ask.” Isn’t that the truth?! So often we know exactly what we want, but for a myriad of reasons we are unwilling to ask for it. Usually we’re scared we’ll get rejected or we’re worried about what others will think of us. We let these concerns (and others) stop us from asking for what we really want. Erroneously, we think that if we work hard enough or are a “good” enough person, people will reward us by giving us exactly what we want. Unfortunately, as most of us know, this often leads to disappointment and frustration.

We can’t expect other people to read our minds and know what we want if we don’t tell them. One of the best things we can do to appreciate ourselves and get what we want in life, while at the same time empower the people around us, is to make specific requests. Many of us, however, aren’t all that good at making requests. Because of our insecurity about all of this, we either don’t make requests at all or the ones we do make are actually demands. A true request can be accepted, declined, or negotiated - without any consequence. When we ask for something, don’t get it, and then get upset about it, chances are it was not really a true request to begin with; it was a demand disguised as a request or simply a manipulation.

Asking for what we want does take courage. Many of us have been taught not to make too many requests. Requesting exactly what we want is not arrogant, self-absorbed, pushy, or any of the other negative things people have told us. When we remember the difference between a request and a demand, we can give ourselves permission to simply ask for the things that we want in life. As simple as it may seem, people who have an ability to ask for what they want are more likely to get what they want.

By asking for exactly what you want you are setting yourself up for success and reminding yourself that you deserve whatever you desire. In addition, making specific requests empowers you to take responsibility for your life and it gives people around you the opportunity to support you and contribute to your happiness. When we have the courage to ask for what we want in life, without attachment, we create a sense of freedom, peace, and gratitude within us that can transform our lives and help us create anything.

ACTION: What you can do

Take out a piece of paper and write down at least five things you really want but have been unwilling or too scared to ask for. With each item, figure out exactly who you can ask and what you can ask them for. Challenge yourself to make these specific requests in the next three days. Remember, “The answer is always ‘no’ if you don’t ask.”

Author's Bio: 

Personal development expert Mike Robbins is a sought-after keynote speaker, workshop leader, and author who empowers people to appreciate themselves, others, and life. He is a former professional baseball player turned speaker, author, and life coach who works with individuals and organizations of all kinds. He is the author of the audio program, “The Power of Appreciation” and the new book FOCUS ON THE GOOD STUFF (Jossey-Bass/Wiley). Feel free to visit his websites at or, or contact him at