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Pitching, Persisting, & Practicing

By: Michael Blankenship |

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.

– Eleanor Roosevelt

Greetings from LA and Oahu!

This week we’re talking about the benefits of boldly pitching where you’ve never pitched before, persisting in the face of naysayers (even if the naysayer is YOU), how music can soothe anxiety (allegedly), and why practicing with intent is paramount.

We’ve also got a 20% discount for you on some tasty (and healthy) bars.

As well as a photo, a riddle, a question, and a challenge. 

Enjoy!

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Pitching

We read a post on LinkedIn the other day about a young web designer who typically charged clients $400 or $500 to build a website. 

She knew her work was worth more than that — that her clients were driving thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in sales through the websites she was building. 

But still, she didn’t have the confidence to increase her prices. 

Until one day, frustrated with how little money she was making, she decided to do something crazy. She decided to pitch a new potential client $10,000 to build their website. 

Fingers trembling, she clicked “send” on the email. 

Her goal was to prove that she could do it — that she could ask for the money she knew she deserves… even though she was certain that they’d say “no way!”

To her surprise, they negotiated with her and the final price landed at $7,800! 

With a single bold pitch, she changed the trajectory of her freelancing career.

Alec and I both have experienced moments very similar to this in our own consulting and freelancing careers. 

But the lesson applies to every aspect of our lives: be bold and pitch often — even if you think the person will say “no”, put yourself in a position where you have nothing to lose and shoot for the moon. 

You’ll likely be surprised at how effective confidence (even false confidence) is for getting what you want — and the more bold you pretend to be, the more bold you’ll become.

Persisting

When Linda Cliatt-Wayman became the principal at a failing and “persistently dangerous” high school in North Philadelphia, she was determined to make a difference. But she quickly realized that doing so would be complicated and difficult. 

In her 2015 TED Talk titled, How to Fix a Broken School? Lead Fearlessly, Love Hard, she shares three lessons that helped her turn things around at three low-performing schools. 

One of the principles she shares acts as a response to objections and excuses from other school leadership about the likelihood of being able to make a difference. 

It’s called, “So What? Now What?” 

She explains, 

“When we looked at the data and we met with the staff, there were many excuses for why Strawberry Mansion was low-performing and persistently dangerous. They said only 68% of the kids come to school on a regular basis, 100% of them live in poverty, only 1% of the parents participate, many of the children come from incarceration and single-parent homes, 39% of the students have special needs, and the state data revealed that 6% of the students were proficient in algebra and 10% were proficient in literature… I looked at them and said, ‘So what? Now what? What are we gonna do about it?’”

Making excuses for why something can’t be done is easy — heck, it’s normal. But for those of us who are trying to do something difficult, it’s also detrimental. Life goes on. And the progress we achieve can in part be measured by how few excuses we make, even when there are many excuses to be made. 

Music (For Anxiety?)

Listening to an audiobook is the best way to put yourself to sleep, according to me. 

But Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson of Mindlab International thinks the song “Weightless” is a natural sedative for anxiety. 

According to Inc., his research showed a 65% reduction in “participants’ overall anxiety, and a 35 percent reduction in their usual physiological resting rates.” Additionally, the song was supposedly designed to “slow a listener’s heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.”

Think it sounds like some voodoo nonsense? 

Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t.

Have a listen!

Practicing

Vince Lombardi once said, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.”

Have you ever started a new job and then, after working there for just a year or two, you realize that you know just as much or more than some of the people who’ve worked there for decades? 

That’s because those people don’t have 10+ years of experience… They have one year of experience 10+ times. They’re doing the same stuff over and over again, never learning anything new and never challenging themselves. 

Now imagine if those same people had been promoted into a new position every year for 10 years (highly unlikely, I know, but stick with me) — how much more would they have learned? How much more progress would they have made? 

There’s a lesson here for our day-jobs and for our personal lives. The passage of time does not guarantee personal progress. It only provides the opportunity. It’s our own responsibility to ensure that we’re not repeating the same motions every year and in so doing, halting our own growth. 

We must strive to learn new things, to think about things in new ways, to challenge ourselves, to meet new people, to face our fears, to have difficult conversations, to master new skills, to understand new concepts, and to accomplish things that feel just outside of our reach. The only thing that can limit our growth is our own desire to do what’s easy and familiar — we should stifle that. And as we focus on acquiring new and useful experiences, we’ll grow in ways we never thought possible. 

This Week’s Photo

Niranjan Shrestha / AP

“A Nepalese woman puts marigold petals on a police dog during the Tihar festival celebrations at a kennel in Kathmandu, Nepal, on November 3, 2021. Dogs are worshipped to acknowledge their role in providing security during the second day of Tihar festival, one of the most important Hindu festivals.” via The Atlantic

This Week’s Riddle

Here’s this week’s riddle — the answer is at the bottom of the email!

You throw away the outside and cook the inside. Then you eat the outside and throw away the inside. What did you eat?

This Week’s Question & Answers

Answer this question — either privately or by replying to this email. If your answer inspires us, then we’ll ask for permission to include it in a future email!

How do you break a bad habit?

This Week’s Challenge

Do you value compassion over-ambition? Self-love over selflessness? Giving over getting? Most of us have values… but we don’t take time to get to know what they are. But it’s only once we know our current core values that we can consciously examine them, change them, or strengthen them. This week spend some time figuring out what your values are. Here’s a great guide from Indeed to walk you through the steps. 

Until next week, 

Mike & Alec

Riddle Answer: An ear of corn.

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