Turns out you can have it all – with a little help from your network. Do yourself a favour and ace life like a boss, in just five simple steps.
If we told you there’s a sure-fire way to get what you desire – or at least get closer to it – you’d want in on the secret, right? Rhetorical question, we know. But one that deserves some thought. Because even though women can be masterful connectors, some of us bomb when it comes to tapping our relationships for our own benefit. “[There are] women [who] don’t ask for what they want because they assume things are as good as they’re going to get, so why bother,” says Dr Meg Myers Morgan, career expert and author of Everything Is Negotiable, “or because they worry about what people will think.” Unlike others, we don’t want to ‘exploit’ our network, research published in the journal Human Relations says. The study authors concluded it came down to selfimposed feelings of hesitation and modesty. So many of us accept our circumstances and trudge on.
Not anymore! To get whatever you’re pining for in life, follow this easy, five-step road map. And to think, all you had to do was ask!
1 Identify the Pain Point
First, discover what you need. “The motivator will likely start with an emotion, such as resentment, boredom or frustration,” says Morgan. Once you’ve pinpointed the feeling, consider the ways in which you’re working through it, or not (eg, if you feel overwhelmed by your workload, take a second to notice whether you’re always saying yes to new assignments). Figuring out your own role in your problem – and making changes to fix this – will help you recognise how someone else can alleviate it in a way you can’t.
2 Get Specific
Now that you know what’s really bugging you, dissect what could improve the situation. “It’s much easier for people to agree to something concrete than something vague,” Morgan says. If you want more of a challenge career-wise, outline potential responsibilities you can present to your boss. Instead of asking your partner for help with the school run, come up with chores they could do, such as making lunches earlier. Having a few helpful tasks in mind lets you focus on the future and gives them a chance to be proactive, rather than defensive.
3 Reframe Your Attitude
You know what you’re after, but that’s not the hard part. “[Some] women often have trouble convincing themselves that their need is worth putting out there,” Morgan says. “But once you get nitty-gritty with your request, you’ll realise it’s not a lot to ask.” That should remove pressure, but if not, consider this: when someone requests help, do you feel irritated or useful? Probably the latter. “Most people like when others come to them for their assistance or opinion because it’s an ego boost,” she says. Especially if the person you ask is a mentor or loved one, they’ll actually want to help. Don’t forget that.
4 Find the Added Value
Almost anything you’re asking for results in benefits beyond your own advantage. Hoping for a better title and more money? It’ll enable you to manage bigger projects that no one else would be as eager to tackle. Seeking an equal split in apartment chores? Your housemate’s support will nix some stress so you can be a more pleasant person to be around. Craving more foreplay and fewer quickies? The enhanced connection will help both you and your partner feel more appreciated and adored. Pointing out exactly how your request can benefit others is the secret to making people say heck yes, Morgan notes.
5 Let it Sit
You’ve prepped what you need to say, so state it – then stop talking. “We often take away what we said, backtracking or offering alternatives that aren’t really what we want, because we’re afraid of the response,” says Morgan. Instead, embrace silence. It encourages the other party to think and speak, and you appear more confident: you’re showing you stand by your words. “Fake confidence looks the same as real confidence, so if you’re nervous, try to talk slowly and clearly.” And if that’s not working, be authentic. Say, “This is difficult for me to ask, but…” And remember, even if the answer is no or not right now, everyone respects a person who speaks up. “The minute the words leave your mouth, you’re that much closer than you were before.”
Three Requests to Never Ignore
1- FROM YOUR PARTNER: If they ask for something only you can deliver, discuss and try to fulfil it. This may be about intimacy, personal support or quality time – all crucial needs.
2- FROM YOUR COLLEAGUE: Any appeal that comes with a confession of feeling overwhelmed or afraid to fail shows vulnerability – which is difficult for most of us. Giving them a hand will build professional trust, Morgan says.
3- FROM YOUR FRIEND: Acting on the asks you can feel but can’t hear denotes true friendship, says Morgan. Pay attention when she talks – you will likely spot areas for support that she is unable to verbalise.