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If you’ve had a chance to check out the faculty of the Great Work MBA, you’ll see we’ve got some pretty amazing people there. From TED superstars like Brené Brown to Oscar winner and director of Pixar’s Brave, Brenda Chapman, from the CMO of GE Beth Comstock to New York Times bestseller Chris Brogan.

And that’s just the people with “B” in their names.

So why did they say Yes?

How exactly did I get these busy and influential people, most of whom charge five figures to give a keynote speech, to do this for free for me?

Well, here’s the secret.

(Wait for it.)

I asked them.

And not really because it’s me, Michael Bungay Stanier. Sure, I’m a “player” on the C-List of business authors. And while I have built up a “weak links” relationship with some of the participants over the years, I’m clearly no superstar with Hollywood connections and a black book of contacts. It’s not like I could get my agent to reach out and tap the people I had in mind.

Take a deep breath.

But the real secret is that I was courageous enough to take a deep breath, clench my buttock muscles, and send an email.

And then resend it when I didn’t hear from them.

And then send it again when I still didn’t hear from them.

And then when they said No, not take it personally but move on to ask the next person.

Show up

Woody Allen once said that 80% of success is just showing up.
@BoxOfCrayons (Click to Tweet!)

There’s wisdom there. Persistence and resilience go a long long way towards making progress.

One certain way I know of elevating your game, one way of doing more Great Work, is to work with people who are smarter, faster, and wiser than you.

And the first step is having the courage to ask if you can play together.

If this rings true for you today, who might you invite into your circle today?


Don’t miss Michael’s  Great Work MBA, a free & virtual conference featuring 25 extraordinary speakers sharing tactics and strategies to do more Great Work starting on November 10th.


Michael Bungay Stanier is the Senior Partner of Box of Crayons and author of Do More Great Work. He’s also the curator of the Great Work MBA, a free & virtual conference featuring 25 extraordinary speakers sharing tactics and strategies to do more Great Work  and that starts on November 10th.