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Here’s a “Getting Ahead” Secret Already Within Our Grasp

– Rediscovering the power of raising one’s hand –hand_with_clipboard.gif

Jim Carrey’s latest movie, “Yes Man,” was playing aboard my return flight from Tokyo to Portland last week. I was busy working and left the sound off, but every few minutes glanced up to enjoy Carrey’s antics — and in so doing was reminded of the power of raising one’s hand.

“Yes Man” is based on British author Danny Wallace‘s book by the same title about the life-changing power of responding positively to opportunity. In the movie, Carrey plays a stuck-in the-status-quo schlep whose life is transformed when he dogmatically follows the advice of a self-help guru who advocates saying “yes” to every request, personal or professional.

In the film, Carrey indiscriminately agrees to perform any task requested by anyone, and ultimately is richly rewarded, both personally and professionally, for his volunteerism. The message is simple: it’s better to say “yes” than “no.” Those who volunteer get ahead.

Carrey’s movie reminded me of a recent personal experience of the power of raising one’s hand. In fact, as this message hits inboxes, I should be 30,000 feet over Canada en route to Amsterdam — thanks to raising my hand.

It started a few months ago when I became intrigued by the Business Model Innovation Hub, a kind of crowdsourced book writing project led by author Alex Osterwalder.

Alex was releasing “chunks” of his new book, Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game-Changers, and Challengers, to Hub members for review and critique. I was familiar with Alex’s work from his Ph.D. days, but Business Model Generation goes beyond academics — it’s simple, elegant, and practical.

So, like some 400 other volunteers, I signed up and began reviewing the chunks.

I loved the content, which is close to my own work on business models. As I read, I started to see a way to contribute to Alex’s project. So I raised my hand and volunteered to edit the book.

helping_hand_from_climber.gifAlex accepted my offer, and though I expected nothing, was immediately offered compensation. A month later, Alex told me he had “a surprise.” His team would fly me to Amsterdam and put me up for a pre-book launch Knowledge Fair. Sweet deal.

It was a lesson in forward motion: To get ahead, raise your hand and volunteer for work you care about enough to perform unpaid. The more you volunteer for projects that matter to you, the closer you move toward work you love — and toward compensation connected to your true vocation.

You may also enjoy:

The Soul of an Entrepreneur, the DNA of a Business

What Am I Doing With My Life?

Entrepreneurship: A Primer

Measures of Success

2 Comments to Here’s a “Getting Ahead” Secret Already Within Our Grasp

On Jun 20, 2009, Darcy commented:

I used to work with an execuitve that used to say “before you work for a fee, work for free”. This was a wonderful reminder. Thanks for the motivating post.

On Jun 21, 2009, by Tim commented:

Thanks for that terrific line, Darcy — first time I’ve heard it, and it will stick!

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