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Dare to Ask for What You Want

gratefulforlife Dare to Ask for What You Want

My first mentor, W. Clement Stone, the author of “The Success System That Never Fails,” taught me many things, but one of the most important being able to ask for what you want.

He would repeatedly remind me, “If there is something to gain by asking and nothing to lose by asking, by all means ask.” This one principle has reaped great rewards in my life, and it can do the same for you.

That’s why today, I want to discuss the importance of asking for what you want in order to reach your full potential.

How to Ask For What You Want

Unfortunately, many of us are not great at asking for what we want. For any number of reasons stemming from childhood conditioning to traumatic rejections later in life, we have become afraid of the word “no.”

To be successful, you have to be willing to ask and keep asking for what you want until you get a “yes.”

Rejection is just part of the journey to finally getting to a “yes.” And it only takes one “yes” to radically change your life forever.

Personal Example

When Mark Victor Hansen and I finished the first “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book, we flew to New York with our literary agent Jeff Herman.

We met with about 20 publishers over the course of three days, and none of them were interested in publishing our book.

“Collections of short stories don’t sell,” we were told.

“The title doesn’t work.”

“The stories are too Pollyanna—too nicey-nice.”

Later we submitted the manuscript by mail to 20 more publishers. They also rejected us! At that point, our agent gave us the book back and said he couldn’t sell it.

Of course we were disappointed, but we never got discouraged. When the world said “no,” we said “next!”

We continued to reach out to publishers on our own. We also asked every member of our speaking and training audiences to fill out a “Commitment to Buy” form we created, indicating how many copies they would commit to buy when the book was finally published.

Eventually, we had promises to buy more than 20,000 books!

Armed with copies of these forms and a backpack full of spiral-bound copies of our best 30 stories, we headed off to the American Booksellers Convention in Anaheim, California, where we walked the floor of the exhibit hall for two days talking to one publisher after another about publishing our book.

Again, we heard “no, no, no!” And hour after hour, booth after endless booth, we said “next! next! next!”

At the end of the second very long day, a small publisher from Deerfield Beach, Florida, agreed to read the manuscript when they got back home.

Later that week they read it, loved it, and decided to publish it.

After more than 140 rejections, the book was finally published and went on to sell more than 10 million copies in 47 languages, launched a series of more than 300 books that has gone on to sell more than 500 million books worldwide, and created a brand now worth more than $100 million!

Those hundreds of “nexts” have really paid off!

I love this quote from Barbara Kingsolver, the author of The Poisonwood Bible.

“This manuscript of yours that has just come back from another editor is a precious package. Don’t consider it rejected. Consider that you’ve just addressed it ‘to the editor who can appreciate my work and it has just come back stamped ‘not at this address.’ Just keep looking for the right address.”

In order to be successful, you have to ask for what you want, and reject rejection.

Rejection doesn’t mean “no!” It simply means “not yet.”

It took us almost two years to get our book published and another 14 months before it got on the New York Times bestseller list. But once it did, it stayed in the number-one position for more than three years!

Don’t get discouraged when you get rejected. Just keep asking for what you want!

You have to accept that you may get a lot of “no’s” on the way to a “yes.”

Practice Asking

Now, here’s your homework to complete after watching this video. Make a list of three things you could ask for that would help you achieve one of your major goals. Then commit to a time when you will ask them.

If you found this blog helpful, make sure you like it and share it with a friend who may need it.

And for some additional resources on how to ask for what you want others, visit my website at Thank you for reading! And remember, nothing will change for the better until you do.

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