If you really want something, don’t be afraid to ask. I learned that lesson just this past week. It came as a result of some of the work I’m doing on my book before it is complete. It’s always helpful for an author to receive endorsements for a book before the book itself comes out. The endorsements can be printed on web sites, in advertising, and right on the book itself as a way to draw readers in and encourage them to purchase the book.
My new book, Fully and Creatively Alive: How to Live a More Joyfully Fulfilling Life, is mostly finished. It’s down to final edits and design. So I reached out via email to a number of people I consider to be “big name” authors, asking them for an endorsement. I knew an email solicitation may be a long shot, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask. The worst that could happen is that they would say “no,” or simply not respond to my request.
A couple of authors, who shall remain nameless, did what I mostly expected and never responded to my request. I don’t blame them one bit. They are busy people trying to build their business, write their books, and deal with the other pressing needs in their families and lives. They’ve got to make the best use of their time, and that may not mean reading my book and writing a short paragraph for publication.
But there was one author who shocked me by responding to my request. Jeff Goins is a bestselling author whom I have admired as I have followed his career skyrocket and as I have watched his books generate all kinds of buzz. I sent him an email knowing full well, by his own admission, that he’s not the best at keeping up with his email. I also happen to know that he’s in the midst of building his own six-figure business into a seven-figure business. Not only that, but Jeff and his wife have two young children.
Jeff is a busy guy.
One thing that Jeff always preaches on his blog is to be generous, to help other people. He says, “It’s not who you know. It’s who you help.” Helping other people, he says, goes incredibly far as you try to build an audience and influence. I wondered whether he’d put his money where his mouth is and be willing to help a little peon like me. So I sent him an email. We had met each other, and had had some prior contact, so it wasn’t like this email was coming from someone completely unknown. Nonetheless, it was a long shot for me to receive any kind of answer.
A week or two after I sent the email I got this three word response from Jeff: “Send it over!” I was shocked. This busy, busy man…this bestselling author, was going to read my book and perhaps provide an endorsement. I sent the book file over to him and waited.
Before long Jeff sent me an email with an endorsement of the book, ending with the words: “Well done, Tom!” I will never doubt Jeff’s sincerity, nor will I doubt the fact that when he says something he means it. Jeff owes me nothing. Yet he took the time not only to read my book but to provide some kind words that may lead other people to read it.
It was an extremely valuable gift. Jeff’s time is worth more than I could probably afford to pay him. He gave me a gift that I didn’t deserve and he did it purely out of the goodness of his heart.
There are a few other people who have done the same. You will see their words on the back cover of my book. They are generous beyond measure. I am incredibly grateful to them.
So here are two insights that I learned based on the generosity of Jeff Goins:
- Don’t be afraid to ask for something; you might just get it. What can you ask for today that, in the asking, might scare you just a little bit? Why not give it a go anyway? You could be greatly surprised by the response.
- If someone asks you for something, you never know the impact it will have on their dream, goal, or life. What unexpected gift can you give today when someone asks for it? Why not be generous today?
When have you received an unexpected gift for which you have asked?