Article written by Caroline Elisabeth
Is there something you want but don’t know how to go about asking for it? As female entrepreneurs, we’re often in positions where asking for what we want means the difference between reaching professional and personal goals, or walking away from true desires in favour of more comfortable things.
For example, you’re a stay-at-home mom who wants to pursue a business idea. Pursuing that business means shifting schedules and household obligations to find the time to focus on your business goals. And that means asking others like your partner, a caregiver, and even your kids to work with you as you carve out a new routine.
Or you’re already in business and you want to get more referrals. This means partnering with complementary businesses, asking friends and family, and asking clients to get those referrals.
In both examples (and many more than just these), to get the results you want you must be able to ask for them. But, for many of us, asking can feel uncomfortable! Especially if we decide what we’re asking could put someone else out or place us in a position of potential rejection or ridicule. It can feel like we’re putting ourselves at personal risk which means it takes quite a bit of courage to do such a thing.
Having what you want often means having to ask for support to get it. And the mere asking for support can feel like a challenge sometimes. But the reason why so many of us women have a difficult time having what we truly want isn’t so cut and dry.
There are a variety of reasons why having what we want can feel like an uphill climb for women. Some of them include:
The “women should put others first” stereotype
It’s this notion that women are selfless, nurturing, and caring that can make it difficult for us to prioritize our wants and needs. Society reinforces the idea that women should put others first which can lead to feelings of guilt and shame when we decide to go after our own goals.
Feelings of self-doubt
Because we tend to feel guilt and shame when we decide to go after our own goals, we can easily fall into patterns of self-doubt. Some typical thoughts might sound like “who am I to deserve what I want?” or if you want to pursue a business idea that’s not very well represented by women, you might think “I don’t belong here.”
Believing it’s one or another
Many women tend to believe that it’s either what they want or something else (like being happily married or being a successful businesswoman). These feelings of “either-or” often stem from societal pressures to conform to certain standards of success, motherhood, romantic love, beauty, etc.
Of course, there are many reasons why women have a hard time receiving what they want (and asking for it). But, let’s instead learn to receive what we want despite the reasons why it might be difficult!
If this sounds like you, what can you do to shift that internal battle with yourself and pursue your goals without any feelings of guilt, shame, or self-doubt?
Clearly define what you want and why.
It’s one thing to have a goal, it’s another to have a goal with a deep motivation attached to it. What will it mean to you, others in your life, and your life as a whole when you do reach your goal or receive what you want? Take time to write this down and then anchor in that deeper reason with reminders of it.
For example, you want to grow your business from a freelance writing model to a full-fledged agency. You realize why you want this is because you feel ready to be someone else’s boss. You want that feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment while growing the type of business you were told in the past you couldn’t do! To remind you why you want to grow an agency, you put a meaningful quote in your phone that alerts you every single morning and night.
Trust your intuition
Learn to trust your decisions and your ability to navigate them to a place of greatness! A great way to begin doing this is to get clear on what you value in life. When you think back to your proudest moments, painful times, fun memories, and so on, what words stick out to you? How do those moments relate to your everyday life now? Use those examples to make a list of the things that will either raise alarm bells as indicators that it’s not for you or that it is!
For example, when you think about your last vacation, what moments were most enjoyable and why? Maybe you valued the good food, laughter, and alone time reading a good book. What moments were the least enjoyable? Maybe it was waiting at the airport for the plane to take off or a rude remark you overheard someone make at dinner. Now lean into those various feelings and recognize when they come up in your daily life and decisions.
Surround yourself with positive people
Negative influences are breeding grounds for self-doubt and fear. Surround yourself with other women who are receiving what they want in ways that feel good for you! And cultivate relationships with people who support you and cheer you on.
It’s not about whether or not we fail but about how we handle it when we do. Failure can offer the best opportunity to learn and grow. So, what could you learn if you fail at receiving what you want? Or if you do ask something of someone and they reject it?
Whether it’s from mentors, coaches, or friends, be sure to surround yourself with people who can provide you with guidance and encouragement. When we have support, we don’t feel so alone in our journey to receiving the life and things we truly want. Feeling a part of a community helps increase confidence and shines a light on what we’re truly capable of!
Celebrate your successes (including the small ones!)
Another way to build confidence and work ourselves up to asking and receiving what you want is to begin celebrating every success, including the small ones. Recognizing how far you’ve come will help you embrace the person you desire to be, reinforcing the idea that success is achievable.
Having what you want doesn’t have to be something “other people achieve”. By understanding where your hesitations may be coming from and shifting your beliefs and approach to goals, you will be able to not only learn to receive what you want but embrace the fact that you are a woman who deserves it – and a life you truly want in the process.
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Caroline is a certified health and life coach who helps women strengthen their intuition, increase confidence, and make better decisions to improve their careers and life.
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