Don’t Sell Yourself Short: You Need These 3 Things!

When it comes to getting what you want, don’t sell yourself short. Far too often people don’t get what they want because they’re missing one of these elements: confidence, skill, and planning.

Confidence in Asking

If you struggle with confidence when it comes to asking for what you want, I have a book suggestion. Vanessa Bohns, PhD, an ​​Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at Cornell University, has a wonderful book called, You Have More Influence Than You Think. The title says it all. She uses research to prove each of us is more likely to get what we want than we might expect. She wrote:

“The last time I officially calculated, my participants had approached more than 14,000 people with these sorts of requests (donations, borrow a phone, give directions, etc.). And across all of these different kinds of requests, what I find remains remarkably consistent: Over and over, people underestimate the number of people who will say “yes.” In fact, people are almost twice as likely to agree to the range of things my participants ask for in these studies as they expect, which is a huge effect.”

Influence Skills

Of course, the more skill you have when making a request, the more likely you are to hear, “Yes!” This is where research around the science of influence comes into play.

There are more than seven decades of research around how to ethically influence people. The most celebrated name when it comes to this topic is Robert Cialdini, PhD. His numerous books, including Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, have sold more than 7 million copies. Cialdini popularized what are known as the “principles of influence” or “principles of persuasion.”

These principles, when tapped into ethically and correctly, will increase your influence abilities because they inform people, consciously and subconsciously, into yes.

Game Plan

Having all the confidence in the world, and the necessary skill, won’t do you much good if you don’t have a plan in place.

I work primarily with salespeople and can tell you, it’s never a good idea to wing it. With enough confidence and skill, you might get what you want now and then but it won’t be an effective approach when it comes to your bigger asks.

Sales guru Brian Tracy, author of The Psychology of Selling, defines selling as, “the process of persuading a person that your product or service is of greater value to him or her than the price you’re asking for it.”

Notice that persuasion is at the core of selling. And, as Tracy notes, it’s a process. Another way of defining process is “a planned approach.”


Luck certainly plays a role in life and success. As the Roman philosopher Seneca said, “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.” With greater confidence, more skill, and a good plan, you can take advantage of the opportunities that come your way and create your own luck.

Bottom line, you can get what you want in life far more often than you may realize so don’t sell yourself short.

Brian Ahearn

Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, he’s one of only a dozen people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by BookAuthority. His follow-up, Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents, was an Amazon new release bestseller. His new book, The Influencer: Secrets to Success and Happiness, is a business parable.

Brian’s LinkedIn courses on persuasive selling and coaching have been viewed by more than 500,000 people around the world!

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