Category Archives: Work + Career

Want to stand out?

In a recent conversation with Daniel Epstein (founder of the Unreasonable Institute and more recently Unreasonable Media), we started talking about what people do to stand out. And we agreed–it’s not that complicated:

  • Ask for what you want.
  • Follow up on that ask.
  • And then follow through.

In the following example, all of my numbers are made up. But let’s play with a couple of assumptions.

Let’s say only 10% of people actually put themselves out there and ask for what they want. And of the people that ask for something, again only 10% of them follow up on that ask. And of the people who successfully ask for something, and then follow up, many of them in turn don’t actually follow through with what they’ve asked for or said that they are going to do.

10% of 10% is 1% — you're one in a hundred if you ask and follow up.

And 10% of 10% of 10% (0.001) is one in a thousand if you ask, follow up, and follow through. 


Why don’t people ask? You know that it happens. You want something, but you don’t put it out there. Your psychological blocks and assumptions preclude you from putting your desire out there. You don't have clarity on what you want—so you need to do some internal work. You let fear get the best of you.

Here are a few things you can ask for: “I want you to give me more money.” In a conversation with a colleague or boss, “I think we need to renegotiate our terms,” or in the universe itself, “I want to learn how to play the Piano–who has a piano I can have?”


And then, after you ask, you forget to follow up. That email that you were going to send, to say “thank you” that you put off. To write and say, “Hey, we talked about the fundraising that I’m doing and I’d love for you to be a part of it. Can you contribute before the end of the month?”

When you asked someone to interview them and you circle back and say, "Thanks for agreeing to this; let's put something on the calendar. I just had a new baby, so is it alright if I pencil us in for next summer and I'll circle back them?"

When you ask someone to do you a favor and they take the time and energy to do it for you, so you write them a short note or card—telling them you appreciate it. This is how you stand out—and unfortunately, most people don't do it. 


And then, when the donation comes in, or your partnership is aligned, following through with what you’ve promised: reaching out and saying Thank You. Showing up when you said you’ll show up. Sending them the fiscal reports when you’re successful. Reaching out even if it's half a year later to say, "It took longer than I expected, but here's the book I was telling you about."

It’s simple, although in execution requires an incredible amount of discipline on your part to achieve. But the recipe isn’t that hard.

Want to stand out?

If you want to stand out, follow this three-step formula:  Ask for what you want. Follow up. Follow through.

For an epic post on asking for what you want, check out the art of asking, the second highest read post on this blog to date. Thanks to Daniel Epstein, Amber Rae, and Allie Siarto for conversations on this topic.

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