Tell People What You Want

My brother always thinks I have my $hit together because I never ask him for any help. It’s true I never ask him in the general sense, but it’s false I don’t have any problems. I just go about it a different way than straight up asking people for something which I admittedly suck at.

Instead, I tell people what my goals are.

And do you know what happens when you tell people what you’re trying to accomplish? They want to help you out with them! A different way of going about it, with more or less the same outcome.*

Here are two other reasons to tell people what you want:

  1. It makes it a “thing” once it’s out there
  2. It holds you accountable (as do your good friends)

It’s great to want things in your head, but saying them out loud is a whole other ball game. Once people know what you want, it means you now have to *act* on it else you’ll be fielding a lot of questions you’d rather not answer. Your friends naturally want to help you out, and more often than not it will spark THEM to share some of their own goals in return. Which you can then help return the favor. It’s total peer pressure, but in a good way :)

Here are some good goals to tell people:

  • I’m trying to be debt-free (guess what? Your friends probably are too.)
  • I’m trying to sell my yummy cupcakes (would you like to buy one?)
  • I’m looking for a better job (don’t tell your boss!)
  • I’m working on retiring early (you can do that???)
  • I’d like to live on an island in the shape of my ass (Ummm….)

And here are some real-life examples of my own recently:

#1. I wanted to help people with their money one-on-one. I’ve wanted this for years actually, but I’ve never said it out loud. Until the day I blogged about it and now here we are with over half a dozen clients. Sure it helped to have an audience to spill my guts to, but without the act of telling people it wouldn’t have mattered anyways. I’d have exactly the same amount of clients as I did before sharing it: zero. And these days we all have bigger networks with Facebook and Twitter, etc. Not to mention your close real-life friends and family too – the ones who probably want to help you even more!

#2. I wanted to be a coin collector. I started telling all my friends about it, and now I regularly get coins passed over to me either for review, or for keeps. It’s awesome. I had no idea how many people I knew were sitting on stashes of coins they could care less about! I even helped a family member get over $3,000 for a stash that had been sitting in a box for decades collecting dust. And my payment for helping them? Oh, sexy coins :) Not to mention a gain of new skills, prompting of a new coin blog, and an entirely new network of coin collectors & dealers who I was forced to meet in order to help unload this box of goodies. I went straight from Coin Collecting 101 to Coin Collecting 301 in a matter of months, and am now a member (and webmaster – hah!) of our local coin club. All because a family member heard I liked coins.

#3. I wanted to have babies. Okay, this one’s a bad example because there was only two people who could help in this department – my wife and a fertility expert, haha… – but still, I put it out there and now we have a nice little brood going ;) So don’t forget about all the hard work you still have to do to get there too – regardless of who helps or doesn’t in the process. If you want something bad enough you can’t give up. It took us over two years to produce baby #1 and we were definitely worried, scared, frustrated, etc. And then we got pregnant.

Your friends aren’t mind readers

So while asking people for help is certainly an important trait to have, telling people what you want out of life and sharing your goals can be just as beneficial. Your friends aren’t mind readers – they’re all caught up in their own set of problems and goals, so you have to just put it out there and let the world do its charm. And not in The Secret type of way either – you still have to work your tushes off to make it happen, whether you visualize it or not.

I’ll give you one last example that literally happened 30 mins ago in the middle of writing this post. My friend Anne sent me a tweet asking me for something out of the blue: a dollar bill. That’s right, a single dollar bill, haha… Why? Well, she’s taking a course on how to make a $1,000/mo business, and the first task was to ask someone for a dollar until she got it.

Mission accomplished:

boom dollar bill

(See, friends help each other out :))

So this is your mission over the weekend: Tell one person a goal you really want to reach. It could be a money one, a business one, a hobby one, it doesn’t matter. Just let one new person know what you’re shooting for. And if they don’t ask to help you right away, immediately send them over to this post to put them in check ;)

Remember, we’re not mind readers. We don’t know how to help you if we don’t know what you want!

* Directly asking for help will always get you better results since by nature it requires a “yes” or “no” from the other party. Still, it’s important to put your goals out there to increase the likelihood of reaching them. And if you suck like me at asking for help, well, now you have an alternative :) No more excuses!

[Photo up top by EladeManu]

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  1. Jason @ Islands of Investing November 14, 2014 at 6:26 AM

    I think often I’m a little embarrassed to tell people my goals or things I want – either because they will think it’s crazy (e.g. early retirement – prime example!), or I’ll then really have to commit to it, which of course should be a good thing – but I seem to prefer the option to change my mind with no consequences! Way to achieve big things hey! ;)

    I am slowly realising the power of this blogging world though, and the value of putting your goals up there for the world to see. Something I’m currently reflecting on and intend to start sharing more, but in the meantime, I’ll start with one person this weekend :)

    1. Brittany November 14, 2014 at 7:49 AM

      Haha, I’m with you–the commitment to the goal is scary and facing others if you don’t reach it is even worse than just facing yourself. It’s important for growth which I guess is more important to me than what others think,so I’ll accept this weekend mission.

      1. J. Money November 14, 2014 at 12:55 PM

        This works best with things you know deep down you TRULY want to accomplish, but are just too lazy/scared/etc to try it out. So tell someone one of those first, and leave out the goals you kinda sorta want but not definite on yet :) You have to know what you want first before telling others!

        (And oh yeah – blogging about stuff helps immensely. Not only to hold yourself accountable, but just in life in general. You learn a lot more from running a blog than most people realize – I had no idea when I first started!)

  2. Mrs. Frugalwoods November 14, 2014 at 6:51 AM

    I’m so on board with this! It’s amazing the way things come to you when you’re open and accepting. I have a super recent example: this weekend we’re going hiking in Vermont and are staying at a farm Airbnb property. I got the idea to email the owners in advance and let them know that we’re hoping to start a farm Airbnb homestead property in Vermont (in a few years) and would they be willing to let us pick their brains…

    Guess what? Not only are they willing to share their knowledge, they’re taking us on a timber assay of a 150 acre property! This will be an awesome experience and great research for our future homestead, which wouldn’t be happening if I hadn’t just straight up told them what our goals are. So, add that to your list of “J. Money is right and this will work” :)

    1. Kate Horrell November 14, 2014 at 7:56 AM

      That is an awesome example, and I hope it works out beautifully. AND you get a little holiday at the same time!

      1. J. Money November 14, 2014 at 12:56 PM

        YES!!! BAD ASS!!! Way to go – take pix please :)

  3. Sarah November 14, 2014 at 8:18 AM

    Totally agree!! It holds you accountable, keeps you thinking about your goals and allows others to help you if they choose to! My goals are far-fetched, too, but I still talk about them :) I want to become a millionaire, retire early, donate more money or possibly foster children and possibly travel the US in an RV (this one is just a thought as of now…I’ve read a lot about this and it seems the general consensus is to drive a car and stay in hotels…hmmm).

    Hope you enjoy your weekend!! :)

  4. Chenell Tull November 14, 2014 at 8:27 AM

    I completely agree with this one! Even though I do get the crazy look pretty often – “you pay how much towards debt each month?!” Standing out is certainly one way to gather attention from people you converse with :)

    Great tips as always, J. Money!

  5. Brian @ Debt Discipline November 14, 2014 at 8:30 AM

    Putting it out their to family and friend will help keep you accountable too, because I’m sure if they see you off target they will point it out to you. :) or post it online for everyone to see.

  6. Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom November 14, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    Over the years I’ve learned more and more that people aren’t mind readers. I’ve also learned how many people want to help you if you just ask. Sometimes I feel a little timid going straight to the point. Now I’ll ease them into it: hey, this is what I’m trying to do! Yup. Want to help?

  7. Tonya@Budget and the Beach November 14, 2014 at 8:40 AM

    So try about the fact that you have to put it out there. No one can read your mind. I’ve been networking like a boss all month but trying to do so in a way that doesn’t make me look desperate. I just keep throwing things to the wall to see what sticks. Hopefully something eventually does. It’s not without major trying on my part! :)

  8. Cait Flanders November 14, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    Great post, friend. I was just talking to someone last week re: the fact that I don’t think I’d be anywhere close to where I am today if I hadn’t listed all my goals on my blog. And I continue to share goals there, as well as some bigger/scarier ones with just a few close friends. I actually just sent emails to you and Carrie this week where I rambled on about some of my goals for 2015, haha… so am I done now!? Did I do what you’re telling us to? Maybe I’ll tell one more person today. ;)

    1. J. Money November 14, 2014 at 1:03 PM

      HAH! Just responded to that email like 5 mins ago – too funny…

      But yes, does not count :) Tell 1 person today/this weekend!

  9. Even Steven November 14, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    I just recently asked someone for help, it felt great. One answer was yeah just pay me to do it and the other was a positive response/yes so I’m happy with asking, happened yesterday, Boom!

  10. Mrs. Bug November 14, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    I am a firm believer in telling people what you want. Once you put it out there in the world, it makes it so much easier to stay on task and also to get others support. Even a few encouraging words from friends and family are huge when you have a lofty goal to achieve. I tell anyone and everyone about our goals to retire early and travel the world and I’m quite certain some of them think we’re crazy but hopefully good crazy.

    1. J. Money November 14, 2014 at 1:14 PM

      Crazy, or jealous ;) Most people don’t even believe any of those wild dreams are possible so they give up before even trying…

  11. Mom @ Three is Plenty November 14, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    Also – by putting your goals out there, people can offer other help as well – new ideas you hadn’t thought of that can help you towards your goal. You may have never asked for that kind of help because you didn’t know it existed, but your friends did!

  12. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life November 14, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    I love this idea of sharing goals rather than problems. Such a simple shift of reframing a negative as a positive is so powerful- not to mention, people who whine suck, people who want to win, are awesome.

    1. J. Money November 14, 2014 at 1:17 PM

      Yes, exactly. Unfortunately people haven’t mastered the art of asking (positively) for help and it comes across as complaining… But goals/dreams sharing? Usually more upbeat :)

  13. Zee @ Work To Not Work November 14, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    That’s one of the things that I noticed about starting a blog. Even though I don’t tell people in my life about it, I tell the world (or anyone willing to read) about it and it suddenly holds me more accountable for it. I’m definitely more goal oriented these days because of it.

  14. Shannon @ Financially Blonde November 14, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    I think that people make the mistake of thinking that they are burdening others by saying what they want and I say, how does anyone know how they can help you if you don’t say it. Most people actually really want to help you and you are not burdening them but just making it easier for them to help you by saying it. I am psyched that your coaching business is growing!! I knew you would be awesome at it!

    1. J. Money November 14, 2014 at 1:19 PM

      Thanks friend :) I’m quickly learning that it takes wayyyy more time than initially thought, and will have to re-work my rates too, but outside of that it’s even better than I originally thought :) There’s nothing like them emailing or texting you their small wins!! Perhaps I need to mail them a Starbucks gift card to reward them like you do? Hehe…

  15. Kassandra November 14, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    So true J. It’s amazing how help can find its way to you with simply voicing your goals to others. It’s happened to me more than I can count. I also enjoy being able to help others when/how I can. It feels good to help others along in achieving their goals and ambitions.

  16. Connie @ Savvy With Saving November 14, 2014 at 12:58 PM

    Couldn’t agree more! It took me awhile to tell people that I wanted to write. For a while, my blog was a secret. But once I finally put it out there to friends and family, it was a huge relief. And the support from everyone really helped push me forward!

    1. J. Money November 16, 2014 at 4:18 PM

      I bet people you know will come to you for advise too, making it even better :)

  17. Melanie @ Dear Debt November 14, 2014 at 4:02 PM

    Ever since FinCon, my new mantra is BE BOLD. It means asking for what I want/need and being clear about that. You are right, no one is a mind reader. I just got an editing gig and this person didn’t even know I did that. I recently posted something that was completely a shameless plug for work. But you know what? I don’t expect everyone to go to my hire me page, so mind as well mention my services IN my blog occasionally. I am working hard to kick-ass at being freelance and pay off debt. I realize half the battle is asking.

    I think the key is to be bold, be clear about what you want and ASK! “No” literally is the worst thing, but it just means you need to try a different avenue. p.s. I so love that you are a money coach now!

    1. J. Money November 16, 2014 at 4:19 PM

      Love it, friend! Helluva mantra there – BE BOLD.

  18. Mrs. WW November 14, 2014 at 4:26 PM

    Totally! As a general rule, people want to help people and they can’t do it unless they know how they can help you.

    I actually was inspired by another blogger to ask for a raise two weeks ago. But of course I hadn’t read this blog post yet so I actually said that I didn’t have a pressing need, just felt I deserved one. I haven’t heard anything but “we’ll look into it” a few days ago. Maybe if I had been clearer on my goals I would have had a quicker response. : /

  19. Done by Forty November 14, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    Crap…I still have to mail those coins. I suck at networking.

  20. Chris @ Flipping A Dollar November 14, 2014 at 8:25 PM

    This is great.

    I take it for granted that my wife knows when she shouldn’t park in our driveway because she’ll block some activity that I have mentally planned for tomorrow even though I haven’t told her about it. And that’s something really tiny. And I spend a ton of time with her. Now imagine friends, who have many more connections in a network sense. That’s how you can really see big, quick improvements!

    1. J. Money November 16, 2014 at 4:22 PM

      Haha… good thing it’s not hard to move a car when needed ;)

  21. Dr. Sheba November 15, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    I want to be debt free in five years

  22. SavvyMama November 15, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    I completely agree with what you are saying – and trust me I have tried it before – for example wedding registry – getting married, here’s what we need. However there’s a catch. Some people were completely offended – saying things like – I am not getting what you asked for – I am going to get you something I want to get you – and you should appreciate it. Admittedly, this is true – however, not sure how to set up a ‘goal registry’ at Macy’s. Luckily – my friends and family trust me to ask for what I need/want based on my goals.

    1. J. Money November 16, 2014 at 4:25 PM

      Yeah, people get weird with that stuff. I personally LOVE when people tell me what they want/need for weddings or even birthdays/xmases – it’s the worst adding clutter to someone’s lives…

      We tried one of those “honey funds” type things for our wedding where people could help pay for our honeymoon and activities on it. Technically they just gave us cash towards it, but you tied it to something like “help w/ airfare” or “dinner out” “Massage” etc, so it was like giving an experience… Not everyone liked it, but enough did to cover everything which was great :)

  23. Kayla @Everything Finance November 16, 2014 at 10:50 PM

    I’ve had a lot of success by telling people my goals lately. I finally told my BFF about my blog and my goal to pay off my debt (and stop shopping). She’s helped keep me accountable when we are together and that’s awesome! I’m still not perfect and it’s not 100% her job to make sure I don’t spend on something I shouldn’t (obviously), but it sure makes it easier having her support.

    1. J. Money November 19, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      Good! I imagine it’s even better when it’s a good friend helping to hold you accountable :)

  24. How To Save Money November 17, 2014 at 3:39 AM

    Amazing how voicing out your goals can make such a big difference! Can I ask you for a dollar too? LOL! :)

    1. J. Money November 19, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      Hah – you can ask, but you won’t get the same favorable answer ;)

  25. Lisa November 17, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    Usually, talking about a goal is one of the first steps to actually achieving it. I love this!

  26. Christine @ The Pursuit of Green November 18, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    I love sharing and discussing my goals with other people. I haven’t gotten any help from them, but it’s opened up a lot of topics and it feels great to be inspired and inspire others. Talking about what I want to accomplish opens up the conversation about finance a lot easier than any other method I’ve found. It puts myself out there first and then other people feel more comfortable opening up.

  27. SB @ One Cent at a Time November 25, 2014 at 11:58 PM

    This one thing I lack. I never go and ask for help unless it’s really that bad. Perhaps this’s my ego that prevents me. For example I’d have died instead of asking for a dollar bill to someone on internet.

    1. J. Money November 26, 2014 at 8:59 PM

      Perhaps you can try with baby steps :) At Thanksgiving dinner ask someone for a quarter and see what happens! Hehe…