10 antidotes to assumptions + the dark beauty of internships

I sent out an email looking for a free intern. Holy smokers. Sound the alarms. This is the range of responses:

My perception of your integrity has plummeted. Slave driver. Who do you think you are? Unsubscribed. What an unloving tone. Tacky. What a great opportunity. I was just thinking of offering my services for an exchange. Sounds incredible. I can’t work for free, but what could we work out? I’d love to learn from you. Could be a magical trade. I’ll make this work. I’m in. I’d pay YOU to be your intern!

Chris Brogan had similar “comments/concerns/accusations” when he put a call out for an intern. My take-away from the response is essentially this:

Assumptions kill courage and creativity.

Assumptions squash opportunities before they fully present themselves. Assumptions hurt your chances, people’s feelings, and your pride. Assumptions will keep you right where you are. If you avoid assumptions, you can make more amazing things happen.


(like most things, this applies to livelihood and love):

  1. Inquire. Is this 2 hours a week or 20 hours a week? (It’s up to you.)

  1. Assert your genuine self.I’d love to do XYZ. (Great! I only want you to do what you love. It’s better for everybody.)

  1. Make declarations.I’m in! (Excellent. Enthusiasm is gorgeous.)

  1. Ask for access.May I sit in on your tele-meetings with Random House? (Absolutely. That team will blow your mind!) Can I read that plan? (Already sent you the password.)

  1. Ask for money.Can I get paid? (Of course. I was wondering if you’d ask.)

  1. Have bigger vision. It doesn’t help a potential mentor or love-match for you to say, “I’m all these great qualities.” You need to demonstrate your understanding of the brand/the person, and some forward thinking. Be the entrepreneur, the woo’er. Bigger vision shakes you out of small thinking and magnetizes people to you.

  1. Think long term. Love upfront pays off later.

  1. Be generous. Generous people attract generosity.

  1. Be obsessed with improving everything you touch.

  1. Use trust as a strength. I trust that if I give, I’ll get.

  1. Pour it ON. As my own mentor always says, “It’s ‘Give and take.’ Not, ‘Take, then give.’”

  1. Live from a place of possibility. Possibility thinking is the singular most powerful weapon against limiting assumptions. And more is possible if you think it is.

This is the price of admission to something great. It’s almost always worth it. And you never stop doling out your admission fees, no matter how successful you are.

Charlie Hoehn does a great job of selling “free.”

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