One March morning in 1993, I called my chairman and told him I wanted to buy a football club. “Football” he said “is very male dominated and you’ll have to be twice as good as the men to be thought of as even only half as good”. “Luckily” I replied, “that won’t be difficult”.
The following Monday we owned a football club. I had no experience of running a business, absolutely no knowledge of football and I was 23 years old.
But I had vision. I knew that no one was going to build a career for me this was something I had to do myself. And so I did. It was the boldest decision of my life. And when at the end of my first year the business made a profit for the first time in its modern history I know it was the best decision I had made and probably the bravest. I spent the next 16 years of my life building that business and I gave it everything I had. And when I sold it in 2009 (for £82million) I knew that I could look back and know, really deeply know, that I had given it my all and achieved something to be very proud of.
But that life journey started because I wasn’t afraid to ask for what I wanted in the first place. They say that you must ‘ask for what you want and be prepared to get it’ and I agree one hundred per cent. In reality the distance between what you want and what you get, is only what you do.
Having the ability to say out loud ‘This is who I am, and this is what I want’ wakes-up your ambition and your desire to achieve something for yourself. It doesn’t matter what it is that you want, a football club or a discount on a set of saucepans, it just matters that you are not afraid to ask for it, because often people say yes and the worse that can happen is they say no and you are no worse off.
I accept that sometimes asking for what you want is difficult. Because to be able to ask you have to have first worked out what it is you actually want. And once you have done that you have to have the confidence to believe you are worthy to get it.
And before you ask me, there is no right way of asking for what you want. Sometimes you have to be frank and bold, and sometimes you have to be charming or strategic. But the bottom line is you just have to take the step and just ask out loud.
So as this year starts and we look forward to new resolutions, new versions of ourselves or even a new start remember never to be afraid to ask for what you want.
This is the only way to be a stronger happier version of yourself.