If you do this you’ll get what you want.


The other day I left to run a few errands and asked our nanny to give Baby P a bottle while I was out.

I simply said, “a bottle,” without any more specifics.

When I came home I realized that she’d made a bottle for the baby with quite a bit more milk than we usually do, simply because it was all in one container and she grabbed the first one she saw in the fridge.

Every ounce of breastmilk feels like gold. So when I have to throw some away or it otherwise gets “wasted,” I get upset (sometimes unreasonably so, given that there really is plenty more where it came from).

I have a whole theory on my mentality about amassing a breast milk freezer stash, how it relates to my evolving relationship with money, and how we can all use what I’ve learned to up-level our abundance game. (Stay tuned for it in a future post, and make sure you’re on my list so you won’t miss it.)

There were a whole bunch of things that week that didn’t get done the way I wanted them to get done.

Becoming a mother has run a giant fluorescent highlighter over the fact that I’m a control freak. (I honestly didn’t really know the extent of it before.) And my control freakiness was out in full force that week.

Wires had gotten crossed with Mike about a new scheduling software we were using and had created a systems cesspool. I’d asked someone on our team to do something and it didn’t get done the way I’d asked.

I was irritated. I was blaming everyone else. I was bitching and moaning.

And then I realized: it was my fault.

Not my fault in the getting out the flail kind of way. But my fault in the taking responsibility for the results kind of way. (We do have a choice about beating ourselves up or simply learning from our foibles in a more gentle way.)

The reason things weren’t getting done the way I wanted them to be done was because I wasn’t being clear. I wasn’t being specific.

If you ask someone to do something without being specific and it doesn’t get done the way you wanted, that’s your fault, not theirs.

I could complain all day about how the other people in my life weren’t doing what I wanted. Or I could take responsibility for the fact that my communication wasn’t clear.

If you want something done the way you want it, you have to be specific when you ask.

I needed to say, “Please give the baby 4 oz. of milk while I’m out,” instead of, “Please give the baby a bottle.”

I needed to be detailed in my requests to our team.

I needed to spell out what I needed from Mike in order for him to be able to do it. (This one will save relationships, people!)

If we stop expecting people to read our minds and instead tell them specifically what we want, our chances of getting it go up infinitely.

So, whether you’re asking for something from your husband, your business manager, your friend, or the Universe, remember:

Be clear. Be specific. Be direct. Make it easy for others to give you what you want. {Tweet it!}

Be clear. Be specific. Be direct- Tweet



How do you increase the likelihood that you’ll get what you want when you’re communicating with others? What are your communication tips? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!



  • Kate:
    Perfect for today! I was gloomy yesterday after getting a few checks from clients for the EXACT amount I invoiced. Yes, I was expecting more, a tip perhaps, even a note of “Wow, you’re awesome!”
    Then, I saw it in the turnaround, the sideways glance at my Self. Silly me! I got what I asked for instead of what I was expecting..if I truly want more income, I simply have to ASK FOR IT!
    Thanks for the insight, per usual…you ROCK, Sister!

  • I find that the biggest challenge for me is to gain clarity about what I want, the outcome I desire and then work back from that. When I act from a place of confusion or hoping for the best, things often don’t go according to plan. But once I am clear on the desired outcome, it all flows smoothly. I feel Zen, everything happens, serendipity reigns.

  • Thanks Kate, I love this, it’s like precious energy gold <3 Thank you for this post & also for the wonderful Feng Shui for Financial Freedom course, it has brought such wonderful shifts to my life. Thanks!!!

  • Gurl. I’m right there with you on the breastmilk situation!! I always want it stockpiled! I feel very stressed when I get home and more than one bag was used!!! Lol I never made the correlation with money before though. I feel the same stressful feelings when the amount of money in our bank account is low. I’m looking forward to your future post about this. Thank you for sharing your experience!

  • catherine

    This is a great topic! My communication challenge lies in the fact I don’t like conflict. I need to learn how to be assertive ( a life long project!) and say what I want/feel in a diplomatic tone. I’m afraid of being an “upstart” so lots of time do not say what I want to. This leads to my boundaries being stepped on! Thanks for this!

    • Kate Northrup

      I also do not enjoy conflict, but what I’ve found is that when I’m direct and clear there’s less conflict instead of more because others know where I stand. I think you’ll find the same thing!

  • Susy

    Wow this post hit the nail on the head for me today. It is just what I needed to hear. The blame monster took up shop in my mind and I’m kicking him out! Your last words about getting clear and specific inspired me to re-write my goal cards in a much more direct and very specific way. So it can be easy peasy for the Universe to deliver:) Thank you for this reminder today❤️

  • This post is a great reminder for me — thank you! One thing that REALLY helped me jumpstart my ability to communicate clearly was investing in a five one on one sessions with a coach who teaches NVC (non-violent communication). That was a game changer for me. Each session I felt my brain literally rewiring and I use those tools now daily.

  • So true, Kate! We’re moving to a new city in a few months. We’d been making wish lists about the type of house and neighbourhood we want. These were ideas that got shared with real estate agents and friends in the area, as well as the Universe. Things were showing up that were sort of what we’re looking for, but not really. (Who coined the saying, if it’s not a Hell Yes!, it’s a no?)

    Two days ago, I spotted something that was “it”, though much too big and pricy, but it made me realize EXACTLY what I was looking for. Yesterday, I sent an email to my husband and agent stating the simple, yet specific facts. Wouldn’t you know it: today, I got a what-about-this-place email from my sweetie – boom! Hell yes!

  • Laura

    I like this post a lot and I can relate. I read somewhere ” To be specific is terrific and to be vague is the plague”. :) Thanks for your emails and always learn something new.

  • Cathi T

    I’m with Pavandeep on figuring out what it is I want to begin with. That can be the toughest obstacle for me, most times. I know that sounds wishy-washy, but I don’t think I am. It is only on certain, important things that I over think things and lose sight of my goals. That’s when I need to FOCUS! As for my relationship with my husband, I’ve learned to remember that you can not take back words once you have spoken them. Sometimes I have really horrible words bouncing around in my head, mostly when I get frustrated or irritated over a situation, but I always try to think before I speak. Words can hurt someone deeply and they may never be forgotten. There is always a kinder way to discuss what may be bothering me. I wait until I’m calm and address it then.

    • I agree Cathi, that we can’t take back the words once they are spoken. That is the time to take care care of yourself, ask who within me is hurting and why? what does she need to feel better. Often it is a younger version of you, feeling unsafe, unloved or rejected. Once you take the time to take care of her, everything else falls into place. Remember the Universe is your friend, everything is helping for your healing, bringing the pain-points to the surface so you can love and heal them.

  • Michelle McKenzie-Voigt

    I absolutely agree with this. When the Universe gives us contrast, it’s easy to know what you want – when you see what you don’t want, then it’s very clear what you *do* want! But in the absence of sharp contrast, I sometimes struggle with knowing what I really, truly, deeply want. Rather than creating by default, I need to create from a point of intention. Look forward to your post, Kate!

  • Heather Atkison

    I totally agree with the importance of being specific about needs. I just wanted to add these thoughts to your already awesome post:
    I strive for understanding/finding solutions (and avoid blaming since this rarely offers anything good). No matter how clear I am, I cannot control another’s interpretation, only my intention and delivery(very important I think). I’ve also learned to be careful for what I ask for as I often don’t always get to choose HOW or WHEN I get it (my higher power at work)!? Thanks!

  • Patti

    Being specific telling myself and the Universe what I want. That is so simple but I have never done that. I just want things to be better what what is that? I will take some time to really figure that out. Thank you Kate and others for turning on the lightbult!

  • I was LITERALLY just having this discussion about the very same subject! Clarity is power and it comes from the top (or you) I have no idea who said that but it was someone really smart.

    I was complaining that my sons nanny wasn’t listening to me and he started behaving badly and my sweet little angel became intolerable. What I realized is that I was a lousy manager. I too am a total control freak and being a mother has made it appear on hyper drive!

    So I took a step back and looked at what instructions were missing (and English is her 2nd language so there was a lot) and now my sweet baby is getting back to being sweet again.

    Thanks for verbalizing what I was thinking Ms Kate.

  • Vina

    Be specific. .
    Thanks Kate for your never ending brilliant blog~♥♥

  • As a Certified Lactation Counselor, mother of 3 and follower of Kate Northrup – this idea of a correlation between the breastmilk freezer stash and bank account is FASCINATING. I am always counseling mothers to NOT STRESS about a freezer stash. There’s not really a need for a big freezer stash, you can always make more breastmilk and you always will have enough for your baby. It’s fun to see that the same applies to money.

    • Kate Northrup

      I’m glad you like my idea about the connection between the milk and the money. More on this coming soon

  • Sharon

    I find very effective that once you are done making a request or any comment to ask that person to tell you what was that they understood from what you just said, that way you can listen to what they are actually getting. It also works the other way around, when someone tells you something, once they are done you can say what is that you got from what they just said.

  • Oh, the same thing about breastmilk happened to me, I got so stressed I think I stressed the nanny out…
    I totally relate when you compare your relation to breastlmilk and money! Never thought I would have to focus on an abundance mindset about ounces of liquid ;)
    A big hug from Guatemala

  • Janice

    I ask them nicely to repeat to me what they’ve understood from my request in order for me to confirm that the message or request indeed got communicated clearly.

  • Janice

    Also, with regards to stashing breastmilk. We like to think that WE ARE IN CONTROL. Mom’s love planning and thinking that we can plan almost everything. Ha ha, you can loose your stash to a lengthy power outage. We need to acknowledge that faith trumps thinking that we are in control of everything. No such thing.

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