Don’t Have What You Want? Here’s Why You Need to Ask for It

When I was first embarking on my journey to write Do a Day, people asked me what I was hoping to achieve by writing it. My answer was always the same

“I want to be on stage doing a TED talk about it.

And I want to be sitting across from Oprah in the woods sharing my message.”

I would pause between the two. During the pause, I’d usually get a response like, “OK.” Or, “Wow.” Or, “Oh, I love TED talks!”

As soon as I mentioned Oprah, I’d usually get a chuckle.

As some of you know, the first one came true already. Ok, it was a TEDx event rather than the full-on, big TED stage, but it’s coming together (and I have my second TEDx event coming very soon!). I set an intention, and I worked (my butt off) to make it happen. Boom. Go me (just practicing a bit of self-love here).

The reason for this goal is not about recognition or having my 15 minutes of fame in the self-help world. It is about a sign that my work is resonating enough to warrant me being invited to speak on such an esteemed and recognized stage.

It is a way of knowing that my whole reason for writing my book–that my message is helping people change their lives–is happening.

The thing about what you don’t have…

It is in the second goal where the point of this article comes together. It may sound absurd to some people, but here’s the thing. I’m not on Super Soul Sunday now.

I know. Shocker, right?

So what happens if I say I want to be on her show, and I never got on? That’s right. Absolutely nothing. I have lost precisely nothing.

However, if I don’t say it or take any steps toward it, it will never happen. That is, there is only upside to saying it. If you want to fall into the self-judgment trap, you can say you lose by looking silly, but that’s a choice you get to make. It’s not an objective, definitive loss. That loss is purely about insecurity and being overly-concerned with people judging you (or you judging yourself).

Ask and ye may not receive,
but ye certainly shall not lose

Since stating that Oprah goal the first time, and justifying why I say it–because the only new outcome that could come from it is being on her show (like what happened with TED)–I have found myself repeating the lesson almost daily.
I’ve noticed how often people do not even ask for what they want, even when the downside risk is zero. Just yesterday, someone I work with was struggling with their workload, and knew a peer could show them some tricks in Excel to make it all easier. I had been suggesting they ask this Excel wizard for help for about three months, and each time, I’d get, “Well, they’re really busy. I’m sure they can’t help me.”

Finally, I said, “Are they helping you now?”

The response, was obviously, “No.”

To which I replied, “Then what is the worst thing that happens if you ask and don’t get their help? Nothing. You are no worse off. The only possible new outcome versus today is that they help you.”

The two of them worked together the next day, and the problem is solved.

Stop talking yourself out of possibilities where the only risk you really face is that you do achieve them.


This article is inspired by my book, Do a Day, available in print, ebook and audiobook at or at your favorite book sellers.

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Bryan Falchuk

Bryan Falchuk is a best-selling author, speaker and life coach. He has faced major adversities and learned how to overcome and achieve. From obesity to running marathons, from career struggles to success as a C-level executive, from watching illness threaten his family to finding lasting health, he has been through many lessons he used to develop his unique approach to inspiring others to succeed. Bryan's work has been featured in several top publications like Inc. Magazine, The LA Times, Chicago Tribune and more. He has spoken at multiple TEDx events, and has been a featured guest on over 100 podcasts and radio shows.