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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The Possibilities List

Katie Corbett holds the book, "$100 Startup."

By Katie Corbett

I love lists. They help me keep track of things I want to do now, in the near future, and in the far-off someday.

“The $100 Start-Up,” by Chris Guillebeau, isn’t the first place I came across the idea of making lists to keep track of ideas. The fact that list-making is suggested in so many books I have read emphasizes the importance of the task.

To open your mind to the possibilities of lists, here is a “list of lists” to give you an idea of all the lists I have created. I have lists of:

• Nine weekly goals.
• Ten things I want to get done every day.
• All the little things that bother me.
• Product, book and business ideas.
• Things I want to learn and do.
• More than 100 marketing ideas.
• Everything I would do if I had a million dollars.
• People I want to stay in touch with or with whom I would like to reconnect.
• Career and business books I have read.
• When I feel stressed or frazzled, I make a list of everything I need to do, starting with the most basic first steps.

It is my hope that this list of lists inspires you to create a list of your own. I typically use spiral-bound notebooks and index cards to jot things down. You can use whatever works best for you: your phone, computer, sticky notes, or a large piece of paper tacked to your wall.

Whatever you do, start creating lists today so your ideas, thoughts and inspirations don’t get away from you.

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