Updated: Oct 5, 2022
In previous tips we talked about practicing needs awareness: recognizing the unmet needs and core values in each of us that triggers feelings.
So what? What if we know what we need?
While sometimes the self-connection of needs awareness brings relief, it can also help to make requests to feed those needs. Why don't we just ask for what we need?
Sometimes we know what we need, but aren't quite sure how to ask for it. It's like we have a kind of crisis of imagination, a paralysis that keeps us silent and unfulfilled. Hopefully this article will help you through your crisis of imagination so that you can enjoy the fulfillment on the other side.
Sometimes we don't ask for what we want because we fear we’ll be misinterpreted as overbearing or pushy. In other words, we're not sure how to ask for what we need in ways we imagine will also maintain our connection and harmony with others. But you absolutely can ask directly for what you want and stay connected. You can have both. A+B.
Sometimes we know what we need, but we have stories about why we can't get it. We belief ourselves omniscient, that we "know" reality, we believe the stories we tell ourselves about what is or is not possible. While your very well-reasoned perspectives may be true, or feel very true, there are always ways that we can feed our needs without subscribing to a victim mentality. If we are ruled by fear and self-defeating reasons not to simply ask for what we want, we are 100% guaranteed to not get it. When we live a cycle of making requests, we at least create at least some remote chance that we might eventually generate a, "yes".
Many people may even want to help us, but not know how. Many couples suffer in silence, or divorce, over not knowing how to meet each other in the middle. Sincere politicians find themselves in apparently unsurmountable arguments, despite authentically wanting win-win solutions. Sometimes, explicit, direct, doable requests can be a real gift to those around us.
You can also be of service to others by asking questions to help them to uncover requests that feed their needs.
In short, requests can help generate resolution and fulfillment.
What kinds of requests are powerful enough to generate solutions? What kinds of requests create win-win scenarios even when people disagree about beliefs?
Firstly, generative requests are both doable and resolving - in other words, they can be completed in 10 minutes or less, and they help feed a need right now. Yes, right this minute. Not next week (it might get forgotten), not tomorrow (something might come up), but right in this moment.
You can choose from at least 3 kinds of generative requests:
Action requests feed an underlying need right now in the moment. They tell the other person what you would like, how much, and by when:
- Remind me again, what time does your call end today?
- Could you please text me the address?
- Please pass me two glasses of water?
Connection requests help us maintain harmony or emotional connection, right now, in the midst of the conversation.
- Could you tell me if you like this idea or not?
- What thoughts and feelings do you have about this?
- Would you be up for working out a win-win solution with me?
Help requests are useful when we don’t know what to ask for, we can just ask for help.
- I'm not sure what to do that would work for you too, do you have any ideas?
- Could you tell me who I could talk to who might be able to help me with this?
- I'm at a loss here. What do you think might help?
Requests can be directed
- to others - to ourselves - to God/the universe/Source.
For example, you may ask yourself to consider a new way of thinking about the situation. You might ask the universe for strength. You might ask your partner what they would most like in this moment. You might ask yourself to go ahead and make a request even if you’re feeling nervous about it.
Feed a Need
Requests that are most likely to generate relief, are requests we realize directly feed the need or core value that wants care.
For example, let's say you’re feeling frustrated wanting to be understood. In this case, you might try one of these:
Action request – I would like confidence in our mutual understanding, could you please tell me back the concern you are hearing from me?
Connection request – Could you tell me one thing about my concern that you value or appreciate?
Help request – I’m not sure how to tell you my concerns in a way that you can appreciate. Could you give me some ideas about how we can meet each other in the middle? Let's try another core value. Let's say you want companionship:
Action request – If you are game, I’d like us to hang out. Could you tell me a time when you might be free to go to dinner with me this week?
Connection request – I would like to invite you out, but I don’t want to offend you. Could you tell me how you would feel about me inviting you on a date?
Help request – I’ve been feeling lonely lately, and not sure how to meet new people. Do you have ideas or recommendations that could help me?
If you need support:
Action request – It would ease my mind tremendously to get the house clean. Would you be willing to help put the trash outside?
Connection request – The last time you promised to take out the trash, it didn’t happen. Could you tell me what you need that would help you get it done today?
Help request – I really need help with the house, but I know you don’t like taking out the garbage. Could you help me find ways to get the house clean that work for you?
9 Tips for Mastering Generative Requests
Requests that are powerful enough to generate resolution include these 8 traits:
Can be completed right now (for example: instead of, “I hope we can see each other soon,” try, “ Can you tell me when you’re free for lunch this week?”)
Consciously and immediately feed a core value or need
Tell the other person what you do want rather than what you don't want (for example, instead of, “don’t eat the cookie,” try, “please put the cookie down, you can have it after dinner.”)
Are specific, not general. They tell the other person specifically what to physically do, how much, and by when (for example, instead of, “you’re not listening,” try, “could you tell me something I said that you can relate to?”)
Include multiple choice (while avoiding yes/no). For example, if you ask someone "would you like to go to dinner with me", you may get a 'no'. Instead try this, "I'd like to take you out for sushi or Italian food or Indian food. Do you have a particular favorite?" This opens the conversation to negotiate a win-win solution.
Come with back up requests already in mind. Before you make a request, come up with 3 more possible requests. That way, if request A doesn't work, you can still try B or C or D. Backup options might include asking, "do you have a better idea?" Or if one person says 'no', try asking three other people. A practice of having backup requests builds resiliency.
Come from calm curiosity, ready to negotiate, without any demand. We can usually sense when someone is unwavering, and it can trigger fear and resistance. Hold on loosely.
Remember that there are other people, other moments, other times today, other days when this may work better. There are always 10K strategies to meet a need. Where a 3-year old may freak out and throw a tantrum when they don't get what they want, part of emotional maturity is being able to tolerate some delays in getting what we want, and choosing other strategies if it's not working.
Bring playfulness, even if we think the request is "unreasonable". In other words, it helps if we can notice when we're afraid to ask for what we want, and find a way to playfully replace fear with a willingness to make win-win requests.
By asking for what we want and making generative requests, we help generate win-win solutions, feed needs for ourself and others and provide clear direction to people who sincerely want to help.
While the explicit, direct communication style of Generative Requests is not the only effective way to communicate, sometimes it can be useful when other forms of communication fail.
We can even support others by asking question to help them find solutions: Who might you ask for help about this? Who else? What could you ask for that might help you experience what you want? What else? If you had your ideal scenario, what would it look like? Is there a way you can make that into a request? How might you ask the other person to help you come up with win-win ideas?
By cultivating a practice of generative requests, we can reduce tension, feed our own needs, help others to feed their own needs, and support people who want direction and don't know how to help. We can build bridges, create win-win scenarios, and provide hope to people who feel hopeless.
Can you find 2 or 3 ways to translate these into generative requests?
- I hope we can talk sometime. - I’d like to get to know you better. - Don't eat that cookie. - You should stop drinking. - Do it now or else. - Not now. - Don't talk to me that way! - I don't follow. I don't get you. - I'm cold.
Walking the Talk
How can you benefit from this Tip for Sanity?
What is the tip described here? Describe when and how it could be applied.
What are some pros and cons of using this tip?
Compare this tip to other alternatives. How might this practice be better or worse? What are some benefits of doing it differently?
Where might you apply this practice to increase sanity in your life? In your relationships? At work? In your community or groups you enjoy?
How can using this method reduce frustration for yourself and others?
For more help with this tip, or if you’d like a free phone consultation toward an ongoing coaching relationship, call Maya toll-free +1 (800) 889-3829 Tue-Sat 1-4pmET or click here to book an appointment.
Maya Gail Taylor's work with more than 10K clients as a consultant, coach certification school owner, wellness coach, tech developer, author and human evolution trainer has earned her more than 500 LinkedIn endorsements. She trained extensively with Marshall Rosenburg, David Deida, Ken Wilber, Newfield Network, BayNVC, Integral Institute and many others, while delivering her own body of work called "The Integrated Approach" (TIA), a meta-catalogue of skills and technology supporting the evolution of human consciousness through psychographic awareness, balancing, empathy and a 10-point integrated emotional intelligence informed by needs-consciousness and the transpersonal. To learn more about this method, follow LIFTnibbles on YouTube, Instagram or Facebook.
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