How To Overcome Fear And Ask For What You Want

How to overcome fear and ask for what you want introduces a three-stage process.  Break up your ‘asks’ into

  • Small
  • Medium
  • Big,

Start at the small end to build your confidence.  When you feel comfortable, move to the next level and start asking for the bigger things.  Because practice really does make things easier.

 Before you know it, you’ll be comfortable asking for whatever you want.


If you’ve lived your life unable or unwilling to ask for what you want or need, it can feel like speaking a foreign language. Your tongue can’t seem to form the words “Would you, could you, will you”? Let alone, “I’ll have, I’d like, I’ll take…” It’s going to take some practice to get you ready to ask for bigger things.

Staying silent is not an option.  If you want something, you will have to ask for it – people are not mind readers.  For more insight into this, look at my article Why You Don’t Ask For Help, And Others Don’t Offer.

Here are some suggestions of how to start small and work your way up to asking for bigger things:

Woman juggling can't do it all so need to know how to overcome fear and ask for what you want by way of help

Work alone can feel like your constantly juggling different priorities - add in all the responsibilities you have at home and it can be overwhelming

How To Overcome Fear And Ask For What You Want - Small Asks

Pick A Restaurant.

When someone asks, “Where should we eat?” be ready with your answer. Pick your favourite place and look forward to Tagliatelle Tuesday or French Fry Friday!

Pick a film.

Hate horror films and love a great rom-com? The next time you go to the cinema, ask to see a film you want to see - and grab some popcorn with extra butter.

Delegate one chore.

Passing on responsibility can be difficult for many reasons.  But getting the help you need is more important than any reason you may have for hesitating. Try to delegate one chore to someone else and create some chill time for yourself.  You’ll be a lot easier to live with as a result!

2 women laughing together, friends help you learn how to overcome fear and ask for what you want

A trusted friend will support you. Don't be afraid to ask them for help especially if they have a skill you need

How To Overcome Fear And Ask For What You Want - Medium Asks

Ask a friend for help

Admitting to a friend that you need some help can make you feel vulnerable. A good-sized medium ask means exposing a need to a friend and getting their support.

Need help tackling an out of control closet? Ask a friend who loves to organise for their help getting your space in order. You might be pleasantly surprised to learn they want to help.

Besides, you can make it into a social occasion – a glass of vino at the ready.

Outsource help at home.

One of the places we feel overwhelmed and in need of help is at home.  Women tend to get the rough end of the stick. 

You work full-time outside the house, and it’s only when you come home after a long day that your second job starts.  There’s:

  • Laundry
  • Housework
  • Cooking

Not to mention

  • Remembering people’s birthdays
  • Buying presents
  • Organising the social diary

Seriously, it’s a full-time job in itself.

If you find most of the responsibility falls on your shoulders, then it might be time to call a family meeting.

If your finances allow for it, consider getting some outside help.  Outsourcing some tasks at home can free up both your time and energy. Highlight the benefit to the family, the what’s in it for them e.g.

You’ll be:

  • Less of a stress-head
  • Have more quality time to spend with the family
  • More energy to do fun things

Share a secret desire with your spouse.

Whilst this may feel like a big ask, it really is a medium-sized ask. Approach your spouse with a long-held wish for your relationship that will make it healthier and happier.

Consider what you’d love to be, do, or have in your relationship and ask your spouse to come on board with your plan.

When they see the benefits they get from your happiness; they will be glad to help out.

If you are unsure how to approach your spouse, then a good website to look at is Laura Doyle, who wrote the book The Empowered Wife.  I’ve not read it myself, but judging by the reviews on Amazon; it’s certainly worth considering.

women at a meeting pointing out something on a chart

Do your homework and then ask your boss for what you want: the support you need, the job or even the promotion

How To Overcome Fear And Ask For What You Want - Big Asks

Ask for support from your boss.

Okay, I know that this is taking a big step.  Admitting that you need help at work might feel like career suicide, but it needn’t be the end of the world.  Asking for help due to workload or asking for a change to working practises is not a sign that you are not up to the job.

Part of a manager’s role is to guide and advise others to ensure the work’s completed and the department runs as efficiently as possible.

If you feel overworked and stressed, your boss will want to know about it.  If you ignore it, you could end up with performance issues that are hard to recover from.  Perhaps a system isn’t working, and you believe there is a better way to do something.

The key to this big ask is to prepare in advance.  If you go into a meeting with your boss, demonstrate that you have looked at several options first.  Or, you may even have a solution in mind already.

When you approach your boss with options, you can discuss them, and it becomes a collaborative experience.  And, if you have a solution to a problem, the answer is usually Y.E.S.

Ask for the job.

Do you keep waiting to be noticed? Are you putting in the effort, hoping that the right person will take action and promote you?

Fortune favours the bold is a common translation of a Latin proverb. If you want the customer, the contract, or the job - ask for it.

Do your homework first.  Explore what the job involves and then match your competencies against it.  Be prepared to demonstrate your capability by having examples of your work and why you believe you should have the opportunity. 

It’s not easy to blow your own trumpet.  If you can show that you’ve done your due diligence, highlight the successes you’ve achieved, you stand a better chance of being considered.

Don’t be afraid to make a physical list of your successes to hand. If you lose momentum, you have a prompt readily available.

Renegotiate a contract.

Contracts are meant to be binding, but sometimes there are windows of opportunity to make changes.

If you are unhappy with a service or a contract, don’t suffer in silence.  You will begin to feel resentful, and that’s not healthy, especially if it continually gnaws away at you.

Be bold and ask for change. The worst that can happen is that nothing changes. The best thing that can happen is renewed confidence and a new, more beneficial contract.

Just as learning a new language takes time and practice, learning how to overcome fear and ask for what you want is the same. Developing the confidence to ask for what you want is easier if you take it in small steps, slowly making the requests bigger.

Start with small asks, gain a bit of confidence and allow the momentum to carry you forward as you ask for bigger things.

If you don’t ask, you will never get what you want.

Final Thoughts

When you ask for what you want, you are taking control of your life.  Usually, the things we ask for are reasonable requests.  Consider how you would feel if someone was direct with you and asked for what they want – would you feel offended? 

You might feel relieved.  Because when someone knows what they want and ask for it, they are taking the pressure of you trying to second guess them.  Believe me that is stressful.

You could be suffering needlessly.  In my article Good Things Happen When You Ask For What You Want, I cover the setbacks and undesired behaviours as well as the benefits of being direct.  If you have any doubts about why you should ask for what you want, I recommend reading it.

Don’t let fear stand in your way.

Next steps when read good things happen when you ask for what you want

How to overcome fear and ask for what you want starts with making a list of all the things you want in life. 

If you struggle to create your list, try asking out loud – my article Ask Yourself Out Loud To Clarify What You Want might give you some pointers.

Then on a piece of paper, draw three columns headed:

  • Small
  • Medium
  • Big 

Decide what level of difficulty your ‘ask’ is and place it in the appropriate column.

Remember, start small and build yourself up.

When you have successfully asked for what you want, reward yourself.  You have taken a step towards building your self-confidence, and that is cause for celebration

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Discover your very own blueprint for life … without spending hours navel gazing or getting confused! 

About the author Alison

A qualified UK based coach with 30 years of experience in personal development.

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