I’ve said it before, but in light of recent events, it bears saying again: ask for what you want, do the work, and more often than not, good things will come to you.
Exhibit A: I got an e-mail confirming an interview with Glenn Greenwald next week to talk about his new book about the NSA and Edward Snowden, No Place to Hide.
I don’t remember exactly how I got hooked up with Picador Press. Probably asking for an advance copy of some other book. But a while back, I got an mass press e-mail listing all the new books they were publishing this year and asking if I wanted copies of any. I requested a handful of books, including Greenwald’s. I didn’t hear back, and promptly forgot all about it.
Fast forward to several weeks ago when a few packages of books arrived in the mail for me. The information sheet included with Greenwald’s book said he was available for “select” interviews. My partner encouraged me to pitch a book review to Occupy.com in the hopes that would be enough leverage to be given an interview.
Occupy agreed to publish my review, so I asked my Picador Press contact to see if I could get an interview with Greenwald to be published along with a review on Occupy.com. I didn’t hear back, so I followed up. I still didn’t hear back, so I followed up again. At this point I’d given up hope I would be able to get an interview. I’d only had a sliver of hope to begin with.
But low and behold, today when I got home there was an e-mail saying my persistence had paid off and I can call Greenwald next Wednesday in Rio.
I can still hardly believe it.
And this confirms my theory that success is a nebulous mix of hard work, luck, timing, and knowing the right people.
Now, Wednesday is the day I’m supposed to be taking a SCORE Austin workshop called the Essentials of Starting a Business. It’s from 9-4pmCST and the interview slot I was offered with Greenwald is 3pmCST.
I’ve asked if there might be another slot available, indicating I will still take this one if there is not.
I figured out how to make an international call from my cell phone using Google Voice thanks to my partner’s help.
I’m a little worried because I have Republic Wireless which defaults to wi-fi for making calls. My phone doesn’t always work very well when there isn’t wi-fi and it has to rely on the Sprint network.
So the way I see it now, there are several ways this can play out.
1) They offer a different time slot for the interview when I can be at home. Simple.
2) I go to the workshop Wednesday, get there early, and attempt to make a telephone call to anywhere from the hallway of the building. If it works, I leave the workshop at 2:45pm, find a quiet spot in the hall, and do my interview.
3) I go to the workshop Wednesday, get there early, and attempt to make a telephone call to anywhere from the hallway of the building. My phone is persnickety and doesn’t want to make the call, so I leave the workshop after lunch, drive home, and do the interview there.
4) I don’t go to the workshop at all, stay home and conduct the interview from there. I get a $50 credit from SCORE I can use to sign up for the same workshop next time it comes around or a different one instead.
I think I am relatively okay with all of these possibilities.
And while I initially freaked out for a minute due to the overlap, I calmed down my anxiety brain relatively quickly compared to similar high stress situations in the past. I understand the best and worst-case scenarios, and am prepared to deal with all of them. I have done everything I can, and I just have to wait until Monday to see what is going to actually manifest.
But the fact that I’m not now and have at no point tonight been an anxious, paralyzed, sobbing puddle on the floor bodes well for my mental health coping strategies.
What you should take away from this, dear reader, is that you never know what you can get unless you ask. Ask for things you want, even if you’re 98% sure you can’t or won’t get them. Because that 2% chance can come back and surprise you.
But you have to know what you want – be specific and be sure you want it. No waffling. Commit.
You also have to do the work. And check in. And check in again. The third time might be the charm.
And you also have to be on the lookout for mutually beneficial relationships and connections.
I’m not saying this formula guarantees success. But I do know that if you don’t do any of the above things, you have only luck in your favor. And that is probably not a reliable way to get most things you want.
And I feel that more often than not, when I have known what I wanted, done all I could do to get it, and relied on the advice of people I know, good things have happened.
So, go do something which has the potential to get you one step closer to something you want. I will be rooting for you.