The Most Powerful Request
I have found in my coaching classes that most people have difficulty making powerful requests. They either make half-hearted requests or they avoid making them altogether. Why is this? Are they afraid of rejection? Do they think they will look weak or ineffective?
I think the reason is that they have not gotten clear what they want and who they want it from. In almost all cases the person they need to address is themselves. And the thing they want is some way out of suffering.
I spoke to a 66 year old woman recently. With anguish she said, “I’m a failure. I can’t get the relationships I want. I can’t get the clients I want. I keep beating my head against the wall over and over and over again.” She said, “When I was three years old I cried and cried and my parents did not come to help me. And tonight, in the group, I wanted help, I wanted you to resolve my problems. And it was some help, but after a while you decided it was time to move on. So you did! Here I was making my request. And what did I get? I was left alone with my problems!!” She said she was feeling anguish and what she wanted was peace, love, and connection.
I said, “I’m wondering if you are holding a grudge against your parents and against all the people who don’t help you resolve your problems. Are you holding a grudge?”
She said, “Yes! I am holding a grudge!”
“Would you be willing to make this request of yourself? ‘Would you be willing to let go of your grudge in order to gain peace, love, and connection?”
She said, “No! That would be too easy. It would be letting them off the hook!”
“All those people who have let me down in my life! My parents. My boyfriend. You!”
“Are you thinking that if you hold a grudge it will make all those people who have let you down pay? Are you punishing them for letting you down?”
Laughing, she said, “Yes!!” Now she was smiling, as if to say, “I know this is really stupid!”
“So would you be willing to make this request to yourself: “Would you be willing to let go of your grudge in order to gain peace, love, and connection?”
She said, “But who would I be without my grudge?!!!”
“Would you be willing to see who you would be without your grudge?”
“Are you asking me to do that right now?”
“Of course I am willing. There is no problem with that! It’s just that this little girl inside me doesn’t know who she will be without her grudge.”
“I’m not asking you. I’m asking that little girl. Would she be willing to see who she could be without her grudge?”
There was a long wait. Then, “Yes. She wants to see who she could be without this grudge.”