Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Opposite of Being Nice....

....is not being mean, it's asking for what you want. Asking in a way that shows you mean business and in a way that's drama free.

I'm not sure why it's so hard for some of us to ask for what we want.

I work with this client, Michelle, who is sooooo nice. Everyone loves Michelle.

Unfortunately, Michelle has always had a hard time asking for what she wants. She knows and expects certain things to come forth, and gets angry and/or frustrated when they don't appear. After all, she is a very nice woman. She goes beyond the call of duty consistently and her students adore her.

That's part of the reason she loves teaching. In the classroom, she is the authority figure. Everyone has to play by her rules. Once she leaves the classroom however, it's often a different story.

Part of her problem comes from taking everything personally. So, we're working on her seeing situations as impersonal business deals. In business, you always ask for more than what you expect, and you don't expect to win every concession.

The real deal for Michelle is getting clear on what she wants. So many times, she's given a "whatever" sort of answer to people that they're not used to her having preferences. She's so easy going, easy to please, easy to deal with.

Not anymore. Michelle has come so far in a very short time and I'm extremely proud of her.

She's constantly writing down in her journal lists of things she wants. She asks for all kinds of things.

She asked her landlord to lower her rent (one did not, the next one did), she asked her boss for more money (she got some of what she asked for), she's asking her ex for more money (in process), she's asked for refunds when the policy is no refunds (gotten partial and complete refunds), she asks the cashier at the bakery to cut the huge brownies in half (no problem), she asks to pay in installments without paying interest (no problem), she asks for charges to be reversed (no problem), she's asking asking, and asking.

She's asking with a quiet determination these days. Finances have been a huge issue for her and she's learning, quite frankly, to ask for more. She doesn't do it perfectly and sometimes the people she asks get all angry with her for acting out of character. But she's winning a lot more these days.

Before you can get what you want, you have to know what you want. Then you ask.