Last night I visited several homes in town that had amazing outdoor Christmas decorations. At one of the houses I discovered this mailbox that encouraged children to deposit their lists for presents from Santa. It got me thinking about the tradition of encouraging kids to think about what they want to receive from Santa and sending him their requests. Even though we outgrow this once we no longer believe in Santa, perhaps there is something we can learn as adults from this tradition.
I have often found myself irritated because I did not get what I wanted or needed. Recently I was talking with my coach about dropping two pieces of client work because they were no longer working for me. When she asked me if I had thought about what would be the ideal outcome of this work, I admitted I had not really thought about it. She urged me to think about what I did want, what would work for me, and how I could express that to the clients.
I followed her advice and had conversations with both of the clients. Because I was ready to totally walk away from the work, I found myself feeling braver about asking for what would work for me. Figuring the worst case was they would say no and I would end our work together, I found the courage to explain what I needed to make things work for me. Well, both clients listened to me and agreed to what I requested. In fact, they both really liked my ideas and thanked me for speaking up. Hmm, could it really be this easy?
It certainly has made me more aware of situations in my business and my personal life where I have been holding back or not clear on what I want. I realize the process of writing a wish list to Santa does involve two critical steps for getting what we need and want to be happy and satisfied. We must take the time to get clear on what would work best for us. This involves listening to our hearts and noticing where resistance and unhappiness is showing up. Then, we need to communicate our wants and needs.
As kids we do this by writing to Santa and having our parents, the real Santas, review the list. As adults, we need to get more comfortable having conversations where we explain and ask for what works for us. We won’t get everything we ask for, but we have no chance of ever getting our needs and wants met if we fail to express them. Instead, we build up resentment and complain about what we do not have.
If this is an area where you are challenged, I would love to talk with you about how we could do a few coaching sessions to help you identify what you want and develop a plan for asking for it. Don’t assume the people in your life know what you need. They are not mind-readers. Help them out by letting them know. If it works for Santa, it will work for you!