How to Get What You Want


By Kiley Peters. Now, let’s not get greedy. This post isn’t about becoming the most fabulously wealthy human to walk the earth or rubbing a genie out of a magic lamp (although, that would be nice - and somewhat terrifying). This post is about understanding what you do and do not have control over and how to use your resources to your advantage, because most of the time, if you’re focused and driven enough, you actually can get what you want.

No, I have not gotten everything I’ve ever wanted. That would make me a spoiled brat. I didn’t get a boyfriend at age 5 nor did I get a new car at 16 nor the first or 65th job I applied for. However, I’m a firm believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason, so it’s probably good those things didn’t happen. But I did learn something from each of those non-existent events. My dad is usually right. Humility is a great life lesson. (I drove a hunter green '94 Plymouth Voyager.) Hard work and determination pays off. So let’s focus on that last one.

One of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me was, “Kiley, the difference between you and a lot of other people is that you actually do the things you say you’re going to do. You don't just talk about them.” After almost three decades of dreaming big, trying to prove myself and many sleep deprived nights to get to where I am, it was one of, if not the most, validating statements I have ever received.

So how does one get what they want and do what they say? By understanding their resources, options and staying focused. I like options. I like getting creative with options, just ask my MBA advisor (sorry Scott). Once you know what tools you are working with, you can start creating your game plan and putting it into action.

I've always found the hardest part about getting what you want is first figuring out what it is you want. Once you figure that out, it’s all about delicate and dedicated strategy. Deliberate and strategically timed moves are the key to making your way to the finish line. Here are a few tools to lay out before you start putting together your game plan.

  1. Rally the troops. Know who you have on your side. The saying "don't burn bridges" is so true. Take advantage of every opportunity you get to broaden your network and embrace diversity in the types of people you know in all facets of life.
  2. Be kind, genuine and grateful. People don't necessarily remember every conversation, but they do remember the way you make them feel. Being kind goes a long way and will come in handy when you're putting together your plan. And don't forget to say "thank you." Make your mother proud.
  3. Know what you have control over. You do not have control over everything and you do not have control over other people. This is the biggest caveat to this "get what you want" mentality. This has to be on you, you have to be the driver, other people might be able to help, but it's only because you made that push happen. You have to do the heavy lifting.
  4. Focus but be open minded. You don't know what you don't know. Keep your goal in mind, but know there are numerous ways to achieve it. Don't limit yourself by shutting too many doors too early on.
  5. Work hard. There's nothing fluffy here. Some people get lucky and end up in the right place at the right time. But most people who get what they want have worked really hard to make that happen. It doesn't happen overnight and it doesn't happen by sitting back and doing the bare minimum. If you want to learn something, teach yourself. If you want to build something, do it. Make your own opportunities. Given the internet and almost anything at your fingertips, you have no excuse.
  6. Practice patience and perserverance. This is difficult for me. Patience is a virtue I am constantly working on. Perserverance can be daunting, but it does gets easier with practice. Stick with it.
  7. Believe in yourself. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "a woman is like a tea bag, you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." Believe in and challenge yourself; you're stronger than you give yourself credit for. I've always been my own harshest critic and while it's difficult at times, by expecting more from yourself, you create a mentality that you can do just about anything. Except watch scary movies. That, I can't do.

So in summary, use your network to help get what you want, but you have to be the ringleader. Get creative with your resources, don't be afraid to try something new and don't be afraid of failure. You learn more from failure than you do from success. Practice humility and perserverance and above all, you have to believe in you before anyone else will. No one is going to give you what you want. So in the words of Steve Martin, "Be so good they can't ignore you."

Now, go get'em.