Ask For It

iStock_000018596624Small“If only I were free enough/ rich enough/ young enough/ supported enough to do what I want, my life would be perfect.” 

I’ve heard some version of this sentiment from literally thousands of people. I’ve also noticed that what these people lack is almost never the freedom, money, youth, or support they think they need. What’s really holding them back is simply that they don’t know what they want.

This is how most of my coaching conversations start out:

ME: So, what do you want to experience during your life?
CLIENT: Yeah, that’s the question, isn’t it?
ME: Yes, and I’m asking it. What do you want?
CLIENT: Mm, I don’t know. I’ll have to think about that.
ME: Please think about it now. What do you want in this moment?
CLIENT: Well, what’s supposed to happen to me?

And so on.

At least I know what ­I want in these moments: I want to stab myself in the head with a crab fork. There’s nothing I can do to help someone who won’t look inside and identify a clear desire. My hunch is there’s nothing The Force can do in these situations, either. It’s like going into a restaurant and saying, “Bring me the food I love best!” without identifying the food.

My experience is that there’s almost always a way to get what you want, but (stay with me here) you have to ask for it. Specifically. Here’s a helpful hint: Right now, think of something that sounds fun, something you could do today. If nothing sounds fun, think of something that would be a comfort, or just a relief. Got it? Good! Now you can take steps to make it happen. And as you take one step toward the thing you want, it really does take a hundred steps toward you. 

18 replies
  1. Suzan
    Suzan says:

    Whenever I think about what will make me happy, I come up with wanting something for my child. As the saying goes, “you’re only as happy as your least happy child”. Can I ask for something for someone else and expect it to happen.

    • Tom
      Tom says:

      It seems to me that within each thing we want for someone else is something we want for ourselves. In this case perhaps the thing you want is a happy child? That’s something you want for you.

    • Stacey becker
      Stacey becker says:

      Absolutly! If you were religious ,you would call it the power of prayer. Which, to me ,is asking and wanting a thing to happen.

  2. Gina
    Gina says:

    I agree completely, but how do you figure out what you truly want? I seem to have relationship, job, life ADD. Help!

  3. Satish Satpute
    Satish Satpute says:

    I bought “Follow your North Star”, i am listening and it’s very nice. i want to get more things like work book … etc.
    What would you recommend me to buy?
    Thank you for your help!
    Martha is Awesome!

  4. Nancille
    Nancille says:

    I’m reading “North Star” and trying to redefine my “everybody”. The good news is only half of my responses were negative, but I’m feeling depressed because the people on the Left in the exercise on page 86 are mostly Me. How does one eliminate the icky people if the icky people are oneself?


  5. Robert
    Robert says:

    I hear on this matter of defining what it is we want or like, but I must say, when I have travelled overseas in the past, I have often stood still and said, God you know what I like, them walked in one direction, only to find I am having a most wonderful moment very shortly afterwards. For example, in Salzburg I said this, and then 5 mins later I was listening to a 400 year old pipe organ. It was one of my dreams to do this, but I hadn’t identified it at that moment. However, God new, and there I was. This has happened numerous times for me. Sometimes maybe it does require faith, that God knows us better than we know ourselves.

  6. Ward
    Ward says:

    I see the common theme running through the many specialties. One specialty not mentioned that has a crying need is “retirement.” I am retired and recall the search I underwent trying to sort out what I wanted my retirement to be like. There is really little out there that provides millions of us any guidance toward a major part of our life. We define what we think we want and on e we get there find it totally missed the mark and sometimes in a very expensive blind alley.

    • Wendy
      Wendy says:

      Couldn't agree more. Retirement is dire, especially if you have the basic State Pension and really can't afford to do anything you would like. I don't have any difficulty identifying things that I would like to do, but they are pipedreams without the money to follow them up.

      I had to sell my business in my mid-fifties because every shop started selling greetings cards, from Next to Mothercare. I applied for over 2000 jobs between then an my retirement, by which time I had spent every penny of my considerable savings just on living.

      Spending a lifetime planning and being sensible is a waste of time. Do what you like: that is what life will do to you.

  7. patricia roman
    patricia roman says:

    I know you say it’s so easy it but worth me it can be hard expecially since I hate to ask for for help. But I am 61 years old and still have not for filled my life satisfaction. I dream of a lifetime partner to share my life and to open a bed and breakfast

  8. Sherry
    Sherry says:

    I wish to be free from believing I am guilty, bad, wrong, deserving of less than, fear. I wish to embrace the truth of who I am which is good, deserving, loving, free to move from those who do not support these beliefs for me, free to RECEIVE everything that I deserve.

  9. Ann
    Ann says:

    I wished for time and energy.
    Time to wake early and listen to the birds.
    Time to walk.
    Time to go to the beach, and look at the turtles.
    Time to go to the flower market and buy Anthyriums.
    Time to appreciate……

  10. Tarja Wiest
    Tarja Wiest says:

    Thank you for your encouraging words! I just sent today’s inspiration to my sister across the Atlantic. It will make her day. It made mine.

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  1. […] one of the things you want. Figure out the smallest possible step that would move you toward it. As Martha Beck says, “Got it? Good! Now you can take steps to make it happen. And as you take one step […]

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