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I was recently invited for drinks by a graphic designer friend of mine, deep in the heart of the Sussex countryside. After we ordered our drinks, we chose a sofa next to a window so we could admire the stunning views over the Goodwood Estate.
Our conversation inevitably turned to work. We discussed when you’re learning a new skill why it’s important to hire people who are better than you, at what they do best.
Friend: “So Louise, what are you working on at the moment?
Me: “I’m working on improving the experience design for the website of a leading scientific publisher. Do you want to take a look?” I opened my laptop and showed her the prototype I was working on.
Friend: “That looks great Louise. How did you learn to do that?
Me: “In 2012, a business acquaintance introduced me to a lead user experience consultant who took me under her wing. She helped steer my graphic design career in a brand new direction.”
Friend: “Is that the secret to your success now?”
Me: “Definitely. Learning from someone more experience was easier and faster than trying to figure it out on my own.”
Friend: “It’s funny you should say that!”
Friend: “I had dinner with Richard Branson once, and he said exactly the same thing.”
Me: “Whaaaat! You’re kidding me??!!”
Friend: “Right!? And you know what… I think he wanted me to pitch him”
Friend: “I didn’t… :’-(”
When I heard those words my heart sank. This pitch would have turned everything around.
The timing was perfect. Virgin Atlantic had recently launched a new route from London to the Caribbean and my friend had recently won the prestigious ‘Observer Travel Award’ for best luxury travel brochure design.
She is at the top of her game.
It got me to thinking, why in the world wouldn’t you want to pitch a multi-billionaire who wanted to hire you?
For instance, what are the phrases you tell yourself, that keep you tip-toeing on the edge of a business breakthrough?
I mean, what if you were in my friend’s shoes? What if you had the chance to pitch Richard Branson?
Could you think of any reason why you shouldn’t sell to him? If so, what would you say to yourself? What might stop you?
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Phrases that compromise your instinctive nature
I imagine you’ve at least one of these thoughts before:
- “I don’t want to push it too much.”
- “He would never hire me.”
- “I need more experience.”
- “I’m just a one-woman-band.”
- “I’m not confident enough.”
Why do we say things like this?
What these phrases reveal is this: it may not only be Richard Branson you’re afraid of working with. I know you’re thinking it’s easy to give these reasons because he’s a multi-billionaire, but what if the same phrases are stopping you getting work from clients worth £1,000, £10,000 or £100,000?