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Scott Dinsmore
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Find “Your” People & Take Imperfect Action (+ 54 Lessons from #WDS2014)

This past week has been interesting...

Last Wednesday afternoon, a guy named Carlos walked up and introduced himself during my train ride from the Portland airport. He's a Spaniard living in Germany who took a solo two-week trip to be there. He also happened to be a long-time LYL member and clearly knows how to put the 3-second rule to work.
On Friday morning, I did yoga with 807 folks in the center of Portland as we broke the world record for longest human yoga chain by more than 100 people.

That afternoon, I met up with 200 of you at our LYL Local beer tasting. I was awestruck as I saw so many of our LYL and Connect With Anyone family embrace each other as they would a best friend. It was proof of the kind of community I've always dreamed of for all of us.

On Saturday morning, Jon Giganti, one of LYL's first readers, founding CWA member and my very first coaching client, took the stage on Saturday to share how he helped a paraplegic kid get his life back and become a speaker and published author. For lunch, I joined 18 LYL Local hosts from around the world to learn how they're building their in-person communities.

On Sunday, Linda, our LYL Local host and dance contest winner from Kansas City, walked on stage to accept a Scholarship for Real Life that she won for the work she's doing to teach urban children creativity and entrepreneurship through MINDDRIVE.

Then at about 4:45pm, somehow my wife Chelsea took the main stage to perform her own rap to 3,000 people, in an attempt to win a rather unconventional type of race (she rocked it!).

By midnight that night, I was dancing Bollywood style while wearing a charcoal cape that read World Domination Summit across the back. I didn't take it off until I finished talking big ideas (and small ones) with close friends at around 4 am.

Why the cape? Because these were my people. I felt at home. We all did.

The question of the weekend was simple...

How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?
This was the gathering that Chris Guillebeau thought up four years ago - one that started as a little blog with no followers a few years before that.

When I attended the first event, I knew two people. Live Your Legend didn't exist.

Since then I've been infected with possibility.

Finding your people changes everything.

Your guard goes down. Your crazy ideas get shared. They're accepted. They're encouraged. They're supported.
And this alchemy results in those ideas actually coming to life. You can see the progress in the dozens of people no one even knew about in year one who are now in the spotlight.

You don't have to go to a 3,000-person summit to get it, although I'd recommend it.

You can get some of it online, in a forum or on a site like LYL or Connect With Anyone.

You can get it in your local community - check Meetup or LYL Local for starters.

And if I were you, I'd get it everywhere.

It starts with one other person who believes what you believe. If you're looking, they're probably closer than you realized, especially if you're a part of our movement at Live Your Legend.

Because when you find them, you get permission to...

Take Imperfect Action
This theme made for perfectly delivered advice as Jadah Sellner gave one of the opening keynotes and performed her life story - spoken word poetry style. These three words tied the weekend together - they tied everyone together.

Because who's ever really ready anyway? You can always talk yourself out of it. And if you wait, you will. But these people were different...

Dee had a heart attack at 40, pressed reset and sold all her stuff to build and live in an 84-square foot house in the woods.

Jadah went from directionless and deeply in debt to building a thriving business and community around green smoothies.

A.J. turned himself into a human guinea pig and is building the world's biggest family tree.

Elise took a love for crafting and experimentation and turned it into her living, all based on becoming an expert at "the attempt".

John rebelled against the 1971 San Francisco oil spill by giving up motorized vehicles and taking a vow of silence for 17 years.

Tyler put on The Great Namaste and brought 808 people together to crush the previous record...

These standouts don't even scratch the surface. Every attendee I spoke with had only a hint of a story or plan before the route began.

Because as it turns out, imperfect is the only action there is.

We just fool ourselves into thinking we'll be more prepared later - more experienced, more educated, more ready. We do it out of fear, uncertainty, the haunting idea that we might be setting out on the wrong path. But if it's a path you believe in today, how could wrong exist? It only becomes wrong if you don't do anything to explore it.

The right people make this type of action, the only type, feel okay.

Find your people, take imperfect action.

It's pretty simple.

But a WDS recap wouldn't be complete without a few of my favorite lessons and ideas from OUR people:

A.J. Jacobs, human guinea pig:
- Be non-stop grateful - there are hundreds of things that go right every day and we tend to focus on the few that go wrong.

- We're all family - help us treat each other with more compassion.

Jadah Sellner, founder of Simple Green Smoothies:
- I encounter every lesson in life on purpose.

- Say your dreams out loud - show yourself and the world that you're serious.

- Anything that compromises your health and relationships is not a good business.

- Engagement over time is what builds a relationship.

- Choose love over metrics. Even with 315,000 email subscribers, every one is still one person. People can feel the focus on heart over money. We're all in the business of changing one life at a time.

- Stay insanely curious in testing your ideas and see what sticks.
Letting go is hard, but holding on is like falling on water skis and being dragged around the lake.

- Live unedited.

Gavin Aung Than, founder of Zen Pencils:
- What are you uniquely good at that you could do for the rest of your life and how could you use it to help people?

- For best results, add flexibility.

Michael Hyatt, author of Platform:
- The drifting and the driven life are two sides to the same coin. They're both autopilot choices that take you where you don't want to go.

- Three questions to leading a designed life: How do I want to be remembered? What is important to me? What single brave decision do I need to make today?

- We unconsciously live as if we are going to keep living. But statistics say three of us in this room will be dead in 30 days.

- Part of the myth of society is that you can do it all. You can do anything, but not everything.

- If you want to really hurt your family and your business, have a heart attack.

- In business and personal success, you can't win at one without the other.

- Priorities make things so clear. You realize that business might actually be fourth or fifth in line - behind family, love, health, happiness, adventure...

- Don't trick yourself into thinking your situation is permanent. That's how it becomes permanent.
- Don't let the urgent replace the important.

- Big, deep planning is a glamorous way of procrastinating.

- If you're going to get fired, cause it. Take a stand you believe in.

- Constantly check in and ask yourself - how are you doing with what you've been given?

Dee Williams, leading the tiny house movement:
- Embrace basic curiosities, walk with your shoes off and unplugged in nature. This leads to action.

- A certain liberty comes from deciding to let go of so much.

- I measure success by how I'm showing up with my friends.

Shannon Galpin, National Geographic Adventurer of the Year:
- Of all I am, most importantly, I am a voice.

- When you find yourself saying, "Why isn't someone doing something about this?" remember, "Well, I am someone, and I can do something."

- We all have something we know we can change. We are that somebody that we want to help change the world.

John Francis, who spent 17 years walking in silence:
- You must have an audience to hear your message. Find one.

- We only have this moment to do the things we believe in.

- People are part of the environment. The key to being sustainable is is how we treat each other.

- Thinking you've learned it all causes you to hardly listen.

Elise Blaha Cripe - professional crafter and expert at "the attempt":
- Great people do things before they're ready.

- If you're not good, who cares? You tried and you learned something about yourself.

- Set the goal before you have the skills to finish it.

- If we waited until we're ready, we'd do nothing.

- Embrace daily challenges. I love to make stuff. This is how I figured out what fills me up.

- When something stops inspiring you, it's okay to just stop and move on.

- Say it out loud. Getting it on someone's radar makes you accountable. Saying it is the first step to realizing it's possible.

- Stop looking for the full map. Start with just the first steps.

- Create resource circles where each member puts his idea out there to see who can help.

Scott Berkun, author of Making Things Happen:
- Ideas feel really good out in the abstract when they come up. Then there's the work.

- The process of creating looks like work and not that much fun - watch an author write.

- The job of a creator is getting up on the ladder.

- When we're working and it doesn't feel right, avoid the temptation to go back to consuming.

- Luck is at play with all creative ventures. You can do everything right and still fail.

- In almost all creative worlds, people journal. Get your ideas out.

John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing:
- The secret to life is occasionally meeting or exceeding expectations.

- Beware of The Horizon Effect: dreams and expectations grow with our experiences. Turn around and look at how far you've come.

- Giving up our small choice to respond to what happens piles up into big choices over time.

- Creating loyal customers is mostly about choosing the right customers.

- All great businesses start with service and serving others.

Different Visions, Identical Values
CWA alumni and friend Mike Goncalves put it perfectly - among the thousands of attendees from more than 30 countries, many of us came with different visions, but we all shared the same values. And that makes for the perfect, magical environment for acting before you're ready.

That's why I show up each year. And that's why I do all I can to create that daily environment for myself and all of you. The interesting thing is that no one person can create a community of world-changers. It only becomes that when each of us shows up. You're as big a part of that as I am or anyone else.

Thank you for that.

Together, we all make the imperfect action not only possible, but encouraged. By showing up the way you do, you allow the rest of us to live our own unedited life. And that's the ultimate gift.

We'll end with one from Chris, delivered just before he called four unsuspecting people out of the audience to present them with introductions, gear, gifts and plane tickets - all custom-chosen to kick-start each of their dreams...

"Just because you can't help everyone doesn't mean you shouldn't help someone. It is our capability and responsibility to help people along in pursuing their dream."
- Chris Guillebeau

We have our people. They're right here. And I bet you have at least an idea of how you could make a difference. That leaves only one thing.
Act imperfectly.

- Scott

P.S. Next week we'll be holding a scholarship contest for lifetime access to our Connect With Anyone course and community, which opens again in a couple weeks. I hope it helps you find your people and pursue what matters. Keep an eye out!

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The Myth of 'Choosing the Right Path': The Live Your Legend Backstory

A lot of you tend to ask about what it was like when I first got started online. More often than not, I still feel like a beginner (something tells me I always will), so today I thought I'd take a little stroll down memory lane, despite how embarrassing the second half of this post is to publish...

I started my first website in 2006. It was called Reading For Your Success, and I used it to write book reviews on everything I was reading on career change (and all else) during my long train commute to a boring job.

I'd actually call it more of an experiment than a website.
You see, one of the books I read was called Internet Riches by Scott Fox, and it said I could start a website without knowing code. I didn't know a thing about tech, so between that and the case studies of what people were building, he had my attention. And I had my first glimpse of possibility.

I didn't necessarily have dreams of creating the next big thing, but I noticed how excited I was, so I followed the spark.

My first site was hacked together in Yahoo Site Builder and it was hideous (see screenshot at LYL link). But at the time, I was damn proud of it. It was a blog four years before I knew what a blog was.
(Ok, so after looking at that screenshot I guess maybe I thought there was the off chance that I could make a small killing with a few ads here and there - see that Amazon banner in the upper right. I even asked all my friends to make their Amazon purchases through my link. Not exactly the jackpot, but an experiment nonetheless.)

For the next four years I got exactly zero traction. There was no growth in readership, other than some family and friends, and certainly no runaway success. But I got to write, test, learn, create and see what stuck. I had something to play with. It was a petri dish for running my experiments. And that's always where it has to start. I loved it.

I never could have imagined that little experiment would turn into Live Your Legend. It would have been impossible to see that coming. Like Steve Jobs said in his famous Stanford commencement speech (arguably the best career talk ever), the dots didn't connect looking forward, but of course, they make perfect sense today as I look back.

"But How Do I Decide?"
Probably the most common question I get from you is "How do I figure out which direction to take?" Many of you are desperate to know if you're choosing the right idea or interest to focus on. The reality is that it's impossible to know. All you can do is choose what's most exciting right now and see where it leads. You can always correct later on - and eventually everyone surely will.

But the worst decision you can make is none at all - spinning your wheels or wavering between one path or the next. The longer you wait, the longer you put off a chance at some clarity. The only way to know is to start experimenting. Start learning. The more you do, the more qualified you'll be for the future decisions.

That doesn't have to mean launching full-on into a brand new business or career from scratch. The wrong type of pressure can kill your experiments. Start with something small, on the side. That's what Reading For Your Success was for years.

Which brings us to the embarrassing part.

So, to give you all a feel for my thinking when I was getting my start, I thought I'd share the review I wrote about the book that first turned me onto all this stuff. I stumbled upon it a couple weeks ago, and in the spirit of full disclosure, it only seemed right to pass it along to you.

It makes me shudder to read, and is even more embarrassing to send out to 65,000 of you. I don't have any idea what I'm talking about and the writing reminds me of a fifth grader, which makes me wonder what I'll think about today's post in a few years from now…

But that's the point. Here's a sliver of my mentality long before the LYL movement was even a sparkle.

Keep in mind that I wrote this on July 22nd, 2008 - just under five years go. I share it not as a book review or recommendation, since Scott has written a couple books since then, but as a little sampling to show you all where things started and how winding the path can be (and usually is).

Scott has since become a friend, and I'm grateful for the spark he lit a while back.

Now, let's enter the time machine...
 
########## Enter Time Machine ##########
First Published on readingforyoursuccess.com on July 22, 2008
Note: The article below is unedited from its original publish date.
Internet Riches: The Simple Money-making Secrets of Online Millionaires
by Scott C. Fox
Pub. Date: Date: April 2006, AMACOM
ISBN:0814473563
293 Pages
Success Rating: 4
 
Why I Read this Book: I wanted to prove to myself that the conventional job and career progression that is taught by our parents and educational system is not the only way and that there is indeed a road less traveled that can prove to be more prosperous.

Review:
Anyone who is tired of the grind and working for “the man” should, no must, read this book. I have chosen this as the featured review because it opens one up to ideas and possibilities that most people, especially in the over 40 generation, could not dream of. I did not know a thing about the vast opportunity that existed on the web and how “simple” it is to get started until I read Internet Riches.

Unfortunately Scott Fox may have lost a number of readers at the book shelf due to the get rich quick-gimmick feel of his title, but once you get that cover open, the knowledge to be gained is incredible.

Fox does a great job of explaining how the playing field has changed with regards to starting a small business and then comes right over the top with numerous examples of entrepreneurs making ten of thousands of dollars up to millions of dollars a year with very little (if any) startup capital. All it really takes is the motivation to get something going. But then again isn’t that always what’s holding us back?

The real-life stories in this book are the most powerful and motivating part about what I read. For instance there’s the 20-year-old kid who put together a website discussing the latest cell-phones and now he is pulling in $70k a year on ad revenue alone while attending university. Or how about the man bored at work who created a site targeted specifically towards people like him who were looking for things to do on the Internet. Ad revenue alone is funding an incredible lifestyle for him. These stories and many others go to show you not only that it is possible, but people are doing it. People are taking what interests them most and turning it into their living. They are the stories that many people only dreamed of living and what is so exciting is that it is so very possible for any one of us whether we’re tech savvy or not.

The other section of the book serves more as a reference than anything else, and a very good reference at that. Fox goes through all of the tools available at little to no cost that can be found on the Internet that will assist you with everything including building a professional-looking website in a matter of hours, creating an online store, online marketing and selling advertising. The resources really are unbelievable. It was with the help of this book that got me to create readingforsuccess.com. Fox also goes step by step through everything required for being successful with an online business starting at concept brain-storming all the way to making sure your website can handle a million+ monthly visitors (because if you do things right, it will need to).

He also takes some interesting and opposing views on what most of us have come to know as common practice. He emphasizes the importance of not going to outside investors such as venture capitalists and angel investors. The monetary investment is so small that these sources often are not necessary. Besides, who would ever fund a kid who wanted to build a site offering free advice about cell phones? This brings us to his next interesting piece of advice, which is to keep your business small. There is no need to try to grow a business just for the sake of growing. So many of the ideas and concepts out there can be managed by one or two people and still produce fabulous revenues and profits. Ah, the wonderful benefits of leveraging recent technology.

This book not only provides the motivation and examples to get you going, but the odds are that when you finish this book you will probably have come up with a number of e-business ideas on your own through his brainstorming steps. And then you will have an incredibly valuable reference to use when starting your business.
If you have ever felt the least bit entrepreneurial or would like to feel that way then you really cannot afford to pass up this read. The opportunity is yours and the time is now. Enjoy.

Key Take Aways:
Due to numerous technology advancements, business as we know it has changed significantly allowing
every one of us to more realistically pursue our dreams.

We cannot afford to stand still and let opportunity pass us by.

With every new idea, concept and business, even more opportunities are uncovered. We are all in the perfect position to take advantage of it.

Do not seek outside investors for your business and try your best to keep it small. Small in size does not have to mean small in profits.
Related Web Sites:
www.internetmillionairesecrets.com

-Reading for Your Success

########## Exit Time Machine ##########

A lot can happen in a few years.

When I first published that review, I think three people read it: my mom, my dad and Chelsea.

Today tens of thousands of you will see it, and maybe a lot more.
In 2008, I didn't have a clue about the impact I wanted to make.

Today, we have people from almost every country in the world who
have joined our movement to find and do work they love and surround themselves with the people who make it possible. And Live Your Legend Local meetups are happening in dozens of cities and countries around the world - I attended one in SF last night!

Together we're starting to do something meaningful - for all of us.

And it all began with one confused, excited experiment.

Just like it always does.

So ... what are you testing?

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The Trust & Give Method for Doing Authentic Business: Lessons from the Greeks

I travel for a lot of reasons.
 
My favorite reason is not knowing. Not knowing the people, stories or ideas that might come, but being certain of one thing - that I'll be surprised.
 
The last three weeks I spent exploring Greece didn't disappoint.
 
It was as if every local we met was running off the same unspoken rule - to trust and give.
 
Imagine if the rest of the world showed up the way these people do...
 
Lessons on Trust, Generosity and Connecting - Greek Style
 
Yiannis, the owner of the cafe below our apartment in Paros, offered to give us the local's tour of the island during his day off - even though he works full-time by day and runs his bar six nights a week, often closing after 2am. (His boat-themed bar was by far the coolest we saw all trip. It's a must if you're ever in Paroikia town). The guys's smile is contagious - see above picture.
 
A fisherman had just come out of the water with a haul of fresh octopus and sea urchin. I asked a few questions and took some photos as he cleaned his catch. "You like seafood?" he proudly asked, as he handed me the freshest whole sea urchin I'll surely ever try.
 
When George, the baker down the street, couldn't make change for the 20 Euro bill we used to pay for our breakfast, he just gave us the bag of warm pastries and told us to come back and pay some other time.
 
George also introduced us to Cameron, a U.S. expat and local art teacher, who offered to take us on some of his favorite undiscovered hiking trails around the island and invited us to his art show the following night. When we saw him at the art show, he continued the hospitality by inviting us over to his house in the countryside for dinner.
 
The cashier at a small corner market saw us examining a large jug of colorless liquid behind the counter. Without asking, he poured us each large shots of his homemade raki (aka Greek firewater). Then we all toasted over the cash register. The stuff wasn't even for sale. And it was barely noon. Unsolicited free booze offers were more frequent than you'd think.
 
One morning, we realized we were a day off in our apartment booking, causing us to have to move out in 15 minutes instead of the next day. Penelope, the mother of the apartment owner, gave no more than two seconds of thought before demanding, "You must stay in my guest house tonight, free of charge. I insist. We have to fix this. You must have a home." The energy in her voice made me think she was happy for the mishap. Almost as if she'd just been waiting for a reason to extend an invite.
 
We told the owner of a wine bar in Crete that we'd just be having a glass of wine, but not any food. His response: "Well then, I'll bring you some fruits on the house."
 
Simos, the owner of our apartment in Hania, picked us up from our delayed bus arrival at midnight. During the drive home, he told us about the physics exam he had at 8am the next morning. Then he finished our apartment tour by giving us one of his cell phones for "whatever you might need during your stay." He texted us each day to see how he could help.
 
On a morning walk towards the old harbor in Hania, Chelsea and I poked into a taverna, curious to know about the sign out front that read "vegan and vegetarian biofood." Within 30 seconds of our questioning, a gray-haired old man slightly resembling Santa Claus (but even more jolly) pulled us into his kitchen to give us a proper answer. Stelios then dipped a wooden spoon into every warm pot and dish he had prepared that morning, giving us enough samples to easily cover a hearty meal. After a short private lecture on cooking with love (instead of recipes), he sent us on our way, never pushing for us to sit down and order.
 
Later that afternoon, we came back for lunch. When the bill came, we found out they didn't take credit cards and we were all out of cash. Stelios didn't even pause. He just smiled and said to come back to pay before we left town. We returned three more times. (His food was like nothing we'd tasted all trip - Stachi is a must if you're ever in Hania, Crete.)
 
After buying a few bowls from a family's pottery shop, the father told us to go pick out one more piece, as his gift to us. It wasn't part of some deal or sales pitch. We had already made our purchase and hadn't asked for anything special. He just figured, why not?
 
Near the end of a late dinner around 1am, our waiter introduced us to a Greek man who had lived in California for two years. He spent the next 20 minutes drawing us napkin maps of the town and island and explaining his favorite restaurants and beaches, mentioning multiple times how it was best to explore the island by car. That's right about when he said we were welcome to borrow his ride anytime during our stay. He wrote down his email and cell and took off.
 
Chelsea and I joked about his offer, knowing he couldn't be serious (who would ever lend their car to two foreigners he met at a late-night restaurant/night club??) ... until we ran into him again the next day, and he reminded us that his free rental car offer still stood.
 
And this is just a taste. I could go on and on.
 
No drink was served without some free food to go with it. Every dinner was followed by dessert and nightcaps - all on the house. They didn't even try to upsell us.
 
Every day someone surprised us with the kind of trust, generosity and hospitality that I'm used to experiencing as the exception, not the rule.
 
They weren't doing it to sell us. In many cases, there was no transaction involved at all. There was no mention of money, and when we insisted on compensation, some even seemed to take offense.
 
For them, it was as if they couldn't help but share a little bit of who they were. Their pride and confidence in the value they had to offer led them to consistently and excitedly offer whatever help and experiences they could provide.
 
And this is exactly what last week's post on connecting through giving and helping was all about. I'd never seen so many real examples in one place until I started hanging around some new Greek friends.

That's what was so surprising.
 
It's refreshing to spend time with someone living this way. The trust creates trust. The generosity makes me want to give.
 
And of course, it made me like them. It made me want to be around them. It made me want to support their cause and tell others about their work.
 
It also made me want to live a bit more in the same way.
 
And that's what keeps me traveling.

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A Navy SEAL & LYL reader just sent me this. Admiral McRaven commencement address. Powerful...

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Rule #1 for Getting Mentors, Leaders & Businesses to Want to Work with You

Adding Value 101
The right connection or partnership can change everything. That's why so much of our focus at Live Your Legend comes back to environment. It's also why we created our Connect With Anyone course and community (which we'll be opening again soon).
We all have mentors, leaders, entrepreneurs and businesses we'd love to work with and learn from. So here's a little idea on how to do it…

Help them.

And I'm not talking about sending an email saying "Thanks for doing the work you do. If I can ever help, please let me know."

While that's a nice gesture, it's pretty much useless - because you're asking them to do all the work to figure out how you could help them. But how are they supposed to know how you're qualified to add value?

That's why emails like that rarely get more than a "thank you" as a reply.

Instead, find a way to help them with something specific that you're uniquely qualified to do.

Do a little work for them for free.

This connects on all kinds of levels. It shows you care, it gets you noticed, it showcases your talents and passions, it gives you a risk-free way to test out the type of value you can add to others, and if done right, it can lead to the kind of references, referrals, partnerships and careers that are nearly impossible to create through the traditional (and uber competitive) approaches.

I actually learned this one from a few of you, and it's how I've found most of the people on the LYL team…

Three years ago, a reader noticed some typos in my work and offered up her professional editing services.  She ended up editing the first version of Live Off Your Passion for free and knocked it out of the park. Cherilyn now does all of my editing work.

Last year, one of our Connect With Anyone students reached out to offer help in editing some of our videos. He'd been editing broadcast TV for 20 years and seemed excited to work his magic to touch up some of our videos and create some new ones. I loved his work, and now it's hard to think of having anyone else do our editing. Troy has been working with us ever since. He's also done the same to create value and connect with some of his biggest dream connections, which is why he's one of our star CWA case studies (more about Troy's story in another post).

A couple of years ago, I got an email from a reader offering to put our Facebook community into mastermind groups - something I'd never even thought of. Her groups changed a lot of lives, so I hired her to do the same for our Connect With Anyone course. Our custom mastermind placement has since become a core part of CWA. She later wrote a 56-page mastermind guide and workbook just for our community. And it turned out she was good at a lot of other things too. Liz is now our Operations and Community Manager at Live Your Legend.

They offered because they wanted to help.

None of these people knew where their first email would lead. Nor did I.

There was no agreement or expectation that I would hire them. They just believed in our cause (and their own talents) enough to figure out a way to do their part to move the vision forward. And after walking the talk, I couldn't wait to find a way to keep them involved.
Offering your talents is not a sales pitch. It's not manipulation. It's just a way of helping a person, cause or business you believe in. And when done right, that gets your foot into some pretty interesting doors.

Reaching out is pretty simple:

1. Find a person or organization you'd like to work with.
You probably already have plenty in mind. Think of authors, mentors, brands and businesses you respect. List them out and pick your number one.

2. Figure out where they could use help.
Based on what you know about what they're creating and your experience with their work, business, community, whatever - brainstorm some ideas. If you know enough about them (and your own craft), you probably already know where they need it most. Odds are that they've mentioned it before or their community has asked for it. As a customer and fan, you know more than you're giving yourself credit for.

3. Find a way to align your talents with what they need.
Only offer to help with things you're uniquely good at and excited about. Review your past projects, experience, expertise and strengths, and get clever with finding a fit. This might be obvious up front, but oftentimes it takes some creativity to bring steps two and three together. Focus on what's unique to who you are, where your talents lie and the difference you care about making. That's what connects and gets someone to say yes.

4. Offer help.
Send a short and specific note about how you can help, your specific expertise and what the benefit will be for their community, business and bottom line. Tie it to results. Give them a timeline and exactly what you will deliver. Explain why it won't be a burden or time suck on their end. Ideally tie your offer to something time sensitive like a product or book launch. Make it seem so useful that it'd be ridiculous to turn you down.
Tell them why you believe so much in what they're doing and why you want to be a part of it. And make the subject line crystal clear. Don't expect to hear back right away. Follow up. And if you still don't hear, then reach out on a few different channels. If you're convinced you can make a massive difference, you won't be afraid to be persistent.

5. Deliver ridiculous value.
Make this your best piece of work yet. Fumbling the delivery will leave you worse off than before you ever reached out. Whatever you said you'd do, do it 10x. Keep them updated on progress but don't expect much guidance (if any). Blow them away with value.

6. Don't expect more, but encourage it.
Remember, you didn't do this just to get some job. You did it because you wanted to help. Odds are that if you nail #5, then something more will come of it. Let them know you'd love to do another project and eventually work more consistently with them. Feel free to let them know you usually charge for work like this but you're happy to do a little pro bono because you love what they're up to.
Don't be pushy about it, but be open to new projects. Ideally suggest some other specific ways you can help. Good talent is really hard to find and every entrepreneur has more to do than they'll ever have time for. So if you show results, they'll be excited to have more.

7. If you don't hear back or get a yes, consider doing it anyway.
People are busy. Especially entrepreneurs and leaders. They won't always have time to reply. Or sometimes they'll say no simply because they don't want to deal with managing another commitment. Depending on the project, sometimes it might make sense to do it anyway. You'll have to feel it out, but if you know enough about what they need and you're confident you can provide something that will make a huge difference, then why not give it a shot? Worst case is that you'll do some good and have another project in your portfolio.

Adding value is the new job security.

If any form of job security still exists, it's being able to add massive and specific value to a group of people. Do that and you'll always have something exciting to work on.
Pay attention to where people need help - because everyone does.
Recognize how you can provide unique value to the people you respect - because everyone can.
Then start helping the people who have been helping you for years.

That's when things start to get pretty interesting.

Note: I realize that adding value is a massive topic. That's why it's the foundation upon which we built our How to Connect With Anyone course and community. We only open it three times a year and the next opening is coming up. If you want to go deeper, you can sign up for the early-access wait list and grab our insider's connection tools here.
http://howtoconnectwithanyone.com/joinus/early-access/

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The $100k Question: How to Ask for & Get What You Want
 
A couple of days ago I was walking along Kamari – a little village we discovered when exploring Santorini by rental car. It was lunchtime and the beach was lined with a dozen or more restaurants.
 
While we were trying to decide where to eat, I stopped at the most appealing place and asked one of my standard questions…
 
Me: “Kalimera! This menu looks really good. Do you guys have any specials going on?”
Waiter: “Well, we can give you two glasses of wine and you can rent our beach chair for free after eating.”
Me: “That sounds pretty nice. There are actually four of us, though.”
Waiter: “Okay, then we'll give you four glass of wine and four chairs.”
Me: “Deal.”
 
Then he happily sat us down.
 
One question led to saving about 32 Euro – over half the price of a classy lunch for four. I wasn’t pushy. I just smiled and asked. As a result, he got our business and we got to taste some local Greek wine. Everyone was happier.
 
As it turns out, getting what you want usually comes down to one question. 
 
I took a Karrass Effective Negotiating seminar in San Francisco about five years ago. After two days of intensive interactive instruction, case studies and dozens of tactics, they finished with just one technique they claimed would make a bigger difference than anything else we'd learned – the 80/20 rule to getting what you want. Know what it was?
 
Ask.
 
That’s it.
 
Most people don’t get what they want because they never sack up and ask for it. We build up reason after reason why we shouldn’t. Or we never think to ask in the first place. So we don’t. And we never find out. And the longer we go without asking or finding out, the more reasons we stack against it. The longer we wait, the less likely we are to ask.
 
And the worst part is that we avoid asking in the first place, not because of what other people have told us, but based on our own negative (and often false) assumptions of what they might say.
 
We talk ourselves out of all the possibility.
 
And then we wonder why we’re not making the progress we want to make.
I've been asking questions like this for years. Often times I just do it for fun – to see what might happen.
 
And so far it’s saved me well over $15,000.
 
Once, it even lead to someone writing me a $100k check… 
 
While my partner and I were building our investment fund a few years ago, we had talked about reaching out to some existing investors to see if they might want to add to their investment. One of them hadn’t gotten back to us.
 
For weeks, I found ways to talk myself out of following up. He’s too busy. I don’t want to be annoying. I don’t want to be selling or pitching too hard. And on and on. Basically, I was scared of being turned down.
 
Then one afternoon, I decided I’d just mention it in a casual, short and not so eloquent email…
 
Hi, [name]
 
 _Just wanted to check in on your thoughts on adding to your investment since we'd like to get things finalized this week._
 
 _If all is good on your end, then no need to reply._
 
 _Happy holidays,_
 
Scott
 
Pretty pathetic email, I know. It screams low confidence. But at least I got it out. Then I headed to dinner.
Later that night, I got a short response…
 
“Please make the necessary arrangements to increase our investment by $100k.”
 
The money was in our account within the week. And to think how close I was to never pressing send.
But it’s not all about the money. The numbers just help make the point.
 
Asking is about giving yourself permission to make progress.
 
Questions have lead me to new partnerships and friendships, jobs, raises, promotions, business ideas and plenty of unexpected adventures – like having a 1 am nightcap on a $100 million yacht in Portofino only a few minutes after Chelsea and I met the owner (one of my favorite Connect With Anyone moments).
 
Asking questions is what creates possibility.
 
So what question have you been avoiding? Who should you be asking? My guess is there are plenty, but let’s start with just one.
 
For starters, you might ask for…
 
Your boss to create a new job based on your specific strengths and talents
- A well-deserved raise or promotion
- Advice from a mentor you’ve been wanting to learn from
- A discount or scholarship for a course you’ve been planning to take
- A potential customer in need to give your product or service a try
- Some unpaid time off or sabbatical to further develop your idea
- The chance to work from home a day or two each week so you can get more done and have a little more time for your family or passion project
- An introduction or referral to the person you’ve been wanting to connect with
- Your first testimonial to build up your brand
 
Those are just ideas. You know your questions much better than I could. But any ask is huge progress compared to talking yourself out of showing up in the first place.
 
Give people permission to support your cause.
 
That’s the beauty of asking.
 
People usually want to help others. They especially want to support the ideas and people they believe in. Few things feel better. And with the right request and fit, ideally, you’ll be helping them as much as they’ll be helping you. But it’s way too much to expect them to know what you want or need. Make it obvious.
 
You won’t always get a yes, but at least you’ll know. Then based on the response, you can adjust and make the yes more likely next time.
 
And here’s the kicker. Since people would rather not flat-out reject you, even an initial no can lead to a smaller, sometimes more useful, yes.
 
Just be sure you’re ready with a lower level ask the moment you get the initial no.
 
Maybe they won't invest $100k or purchase your flagship product, but perhaps they'd be happy to make an introduction or provide a testimonial. Maybe your boss won’t give you four days a week working from home, but after asking, he’ll probably be a lot more open to allowing one day or half a day. The restaurant won’t offer you free corkage but maybe they’ll settle for the private table in the corner with a view.
 
Always be genuine with your main request, but also realize that anchoring your ask to something big makes the smaller requests much more likely. Expect more support on these lower levels and be ready with options.
 
When done genuinely, the right ask deepens the connection.
 
If you don’t ask, the world can’t say yes.
 
People are funny.
 
We want things and might even spend months, years or a lifetime thinking about and waiting for them. But our fear – of the unknown or rejection or whatever - keeps us from ever doing the one thing that gives us a chance at getting it.
 
There are a lot of talented people in our community wondering how to make progress, build their business and make money from their skills, experience and ideas.
 
I used to wonder the same thing. My "business" didn’t make a dime until the day I decided to put a price on my services. I decided to ask. And people slowly started to say yes.
 
The sale, be it financial, emotional or any other type of buy-in, is impossible if there’s nothing to say yes to.
 
So, what can you start asking for?
 
I'm off to ask for a little faster Internet at the cafe downstairs...

http://liveyourlegend.net/the-100k-question/
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