Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: Why It Pays to At Least Ask for What You Want

Katie Corbett holds the book "Shoe Dog"

By Katie Corbett

 

Going out on a limb and asking for what you want can be scary. It can also get you some of the biggest opportunities of your life.

 

In “Shoe Dog,” by Phil Knight, it is very clear that Nike wouldn’t exist if he hadn’t positioned himself as a shoe distributor and had the courage to meet with people in Japan and ask for shoes. (Read the book; the story is awesome.) Here are some ways I like to boost my courage and support success before making a big ask. The next time you have to make an ask that feels big to you, see if you could give something on this list a try.

 

  • Hold a “power pose” for two minutes before the conversation.
  • Organize my thoughts, in writing, if possible.
  • Get plenty of sleep the night before.
  • Bring a waterbottle.
  • Ask at the right time.
  • Focus on what I can give or bring to the table.
  • Leave plenty of space for silence.
  • Make sure all of their questions are answered.
  • Prepare answers to questions I think they might have.
  • Take a deep breath.

 

When I knew I was going to be leaving my first full-time job, I had to find another one. On a Thursday afternoon, I sent a quick text message to a former internship boss simply asking, “Do you have need of an intern?” She responded with, “Yes, send me your dream job.” Asking what she needed, rather than asking for what I wanted, made it more likely that I would get a positive answer.

 

What big asks have you made throughout your career? Leave a comment and let me know how it turned out.

 

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When Working with Others, Ignore Distracting Chatter But Recognize Initiative

Katie Corbett holds the book "Shoe Dog"

By Katie Corbett

 

It can be easy for people to give ideas about how to fix or accomplish something, especially if they are not in positions of leadership to make it happen. They might not understand everything it takes to run an organization, project, or event.

 

Nike founder Phil Knight says in “Shoe Dog” that one of the people he brought on to sell shoes for him wrote with lots of ideas, complaints, and things that weren’t working well. Here are some steps to try if you have such a person in your life.

 

  • Ask them what they think could be done to fix it.
  • Encourage them to take a leading role in fixing the problem.
  • Give them more responsibility.
  • Ask them what they can commit to in terms of finding solutions.
  • Encourage them to implement those solutions.
  • Ask them to write down all of their ideas and bring them to a brainstorming session.
  • Invite them to a planning meeting.
  • Ask them to list all of the ways they could help.
  • Help them evaluate their ideas based on larger goals.
  • Put them in charge of a project or initiative so they can see what it takes to do the work.

 

To solve the issue of his prolifically complaining employee, Phil Knight ignored many of his letters, recognized that he had initiative, and kept him busy by putting him in charge of a branch of Nike as soon as he could. This gave the man the ability to make change and solve problems, as well as the understanding of all of the complexities it takes to run a shoe business.

 

Do you have someone in your life who likes to find solutions to problems? Have you given them autonomy to solve those problems? Let me know how it went in the comments.

 

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Stay Ahead of the Game: Notice Trends Around You

Katie Corbett holds the book "Shoe Dog"

By Katie Corbett

 

Keeping an eye on what is going on around you can help you take advantage of opportunities. It can even help you create new ones.

 

Phil Knight, who shares his founder’s story of Nike in “Shoe Dog,” created such a successful company because he paid attention to things that were in vogue around him and figured out how to meet previously unmet needs in the footwear industry. Here are some questions I ask myself so that I continue to observe and recognize trends.

 

  • What needs are people expressing around me?
  • What do people want?
  • Have I seen, come across, or heard about an unmet need more than once?
  • Have multiple people expressed this need to me?
  • How do my skillset, personality, and experience put me in a position to meet this need?
  • WHAT is the need?
  • How can I help?
  • How do I want to help?
  • What would I need to do to meet this need?
  • What is the first step to getting started?

 

My garment project stemmed from seeing a need around me. I asked others if they had the same need I felt, and they answered with a resounding “Yes!” From there, a product idea was born. Even though I put that project on hold for the time being, the need definitely still exists. I might come back to it again someday.

 

My story illustrates that it is important to keep in mind that you could have a need that intersects with the needs of others. Keep paying attention to your own needs as well as those of others. You might be surprised about what opportunities come your way as a result of your vigilance.

 

Do you have a story about how paying attention to trends helped you find a new job, volunteer role, or other opportunity? Let me know in the comments.

 

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Avoiding the Comparison Trap

Katie Corbett holds the book "You are a Badass"

By Katie Corbett

 

Comparing yourself to others is a fruitless exercise that can leave you feeling discouraged. It can remind you that you aren’t where you want to be, make you feel like you aren’t good at the things you are trying to do, and lessen the sense of accomplishment you feel about the things that are going well in your life. I’m guilty of comparing myself to others, and I decided that I wanted to make a change so that I could be happier about my life and more confident in doing the things I wanted to achieve.

 

In “You Are A Badass,” Jen Sincero calls it the Comparison Trap. Thinking of comparison as something bad to avoid, rather than as a character flaw, is helping me change my mindset. Here are some ways I avoid comparing myself to others.

 

  • I think about what I’m grateful for rather than focusing on what I don’t have.
  • I plan fun things to do to take my mind off any lack of success I might be experiencing.
  • I contemplate what it is that I want when I’m comparing myself to others, because the need to compare might be coming out of a sense of desiring a specific trait or outcome.
  • I focus on my own goals, growth and development, rather than thinking about what others are achieving.
  • When I do catch myself comparing, I think about how glad I am that this person is in my life so that I know what is possible.

 

Remember that changing your mindset takes time. It can’t be done overnight, and it happens one thought at a time. Be patient with yourself and give yourself grace for the times you slip up and find yourself comparing.

 

Do you fall into the comparison trap? What helps you avoid comparing yourself to others? What mindset shifts do you find beneficial? Let me know in the comments.

 

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Trust That Your New Life Is Already Here

Katie Corbett holds the book "You are a Badass"

By Katie Corbett

 

I once went to a career workshop where we were asked to picture our ideal day. I was looking at making some pretty significant changes in my life and was invigorated by this exercise. It turns out that drilling down to what you really want can help you realize that your dreams are within reach. It is also possible that, as I did, you can figure out what needs to change to truly get yourself the life and career you hope for, and you might not need to change as many things as you might think at first.

 

In “You Are A Badass,” Jen Sincero says that your ideal life is already right in front of you. I kept this in mind as I pictured my ideal day. Here are the things I wanted to be a part of that day.

 

  • Drinking tea
  • Learning new things
  • Hanging out with friends
  • Solar cooking
  • Reading for pleasure
  • Playing instruments
  • Spending time outdoors
  • Finishing crafting projects
  • Having a rich prayer life
  • Working out

 

The organizers asked us to think about how to incorporate what we want in the future into our lives as they were at the present time. I made sure to do each of these activities every day. I found that this increased my happiness overall. If I could have all these things, then why couldn’t I also have the job I desired?

 

I encourage you to make a list of what you would do in your ideal day. What can you start incorporating now, even before your dream is fully realized?

 

I’d love to hear how it goes for you. Let me know in the comments.

 

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You Are A Victim of the Rules You Live By

Katie Corbett holds the book "You are a Badass"

By Katie Corbett

 

Whether it is true or not, we make decisions based on assumptions we make and ideas we impose on ourselves. These rules can keep us from enjoying life and achieving at our highest potential.

 

This became apparent to me when I read, “You Are A badass,” by Jen Sincero. I decided to take some time and look at what rules I live by that hold me back. here’s what I discovered.

 

I catch myself thinking that networking takes a long time. The truth is that if you network efficiently and stay organized, it only need take five minutes a day.

 

I sometimes think that by reaching out to people, I am bothering them. Experience has taught me, though, that if I approach conversations with friendliness and a desire to get to know the other, nobody seems to mind.

 

I used to catch myself thinking that people don’t want to hear from me. I’ve realized that if I reach out and someone doesn’t want to hear from me, they won’t respond, and those who do want to connect with me will be happy to talk.

 

I sometimes think that I don’t know how to be curious. Asking questions is important to me, so I try to fall back on what I learned in journalism school to come up with good questions.

 

As you can see, changing these beliefs and ideas takes time and effort. Putting in this time and effort has paid off so far, and I plan to continue to do this important work.

 

Are you living by a rule that is holding you back? How are you working to change this? I’d love to know, so drop me a comment.

 

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Reflections on The 4-Hour Workweek: How the 4-Hour Workweek Helped Me Prioritize the Things I Love

Katie Corbett holds the book, "The 4-Hour Workweek"

By Katie Corbett

 

Since I owe a lot of my success—and future planning—to the book, “The 4-Hour Workweek,” by Tim Ferriss, I have decided to revisit the book each quarter in 2022. Here are my thoughts as we begin quarter two. I hope this inspires you to pick up a book that helps you live your dreams. Enjoy!