If You Don’t Ask – The Answer is Probably No

ask-funny-motivational-speaker-Linda-LarsenAs a motivational keynote speaker I get to share the stage with some really talented people, so I'm used to seeing gifted people – but this young man blew me away. 

His name is Michael Pollack and yes, he is extremely gifted as a musician, but that wasn't what impressed me the most. It was what he recently did, as an audience member while watching a Billy Joel concert and forum at Vanderbilt University. When Billy asked if anyone had any questions, Michael Pollack stood up.  And then he did it. He asked Billy Joel if he could play with him.

What? Seriously? How much courage did it take for him to do that I wonder. More than likely a whole lot.  But here's what Michael knew for sure: If he DIDN'T ask, he most definitely would not get to play with him. He took a huge risk – and apparently it paid off. He was spectacular and now, Michael Pollack is "trending" on social media and millions of people know his name – and his talent.

Two things I get from this.

  1. Be the very absolute best at WHATEVER it is you do. Keep practicing and learning and getting better so that you can feel more confident if you see an opportunity to ask to showcase what you have.
  2. Ask. Trust that you know what you are doing, take a deep breath, smile and ask.

If you'd like to watch the video, here you are: Michael Pollack Asks Billy Joel if He Can Sit in

I have to go now. There are a few requests I have to make.

Motivational speaker Linda Larsen


Motivational Speaker Linda Larsen, CSP has been described by meeting planners and audiences as "hysterically funny," and "riveting." Known for her ability to connect on an authentic and emotional level with audiences, her spontaneous sense of humor, and her engaging and powerful stories, Linda is passionate about sharing ideas to help people live their finest, best, and most productive lives. Her riveting and true story of being kidnapped and held hostage at gunpoint by an escaped convict, and the strategies she used to escape, will give people the tools THEY need to rise above any of life's toughest challenges, to communicate more effectively with THEIR difficult person, and to find creative solutions to THEIR problems. To book motivational speaker, Linda Larsen: 941-927-4700

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  1. Oh my gosh, I love this story, Linda. And I think that so many of us fall short of our dream because we never ask for it. That's why I love Marilyn Sherman's Front Row concept.  Well done!

  2. You know I love this! And what I also loved is that Michael Pollack was prepared (as you so beautiful point out in Point #1). As someone who is passionate about the power of the ask, I also believe you earn the right by being prepared and doing your homework. A beautiful moment, and now a truthful, well-written blog as a result.

  3. I smiled the whole way through that video!  Not only for the spot on accurate 2 points you made about "The Ask" but because I have always adored Billy Joel and that song!  Back in 1975 I was going to school in North Carolina and I went to this somewhat run down amusement park with a friend one weekend.  We saw that some guy named Billy Joel was performing at noon so we decided to check it out.  We were 2 of maybe 20 people in the outdoor ampitheater, leaning back in the beautiful sunshine and listening to this guy do his magical thing on the piano.  I love that memory.  Thank you for sharing such an awesome moment!

  4. I cried and smiled through this whole thing!  What a beautiful moment – both for the student and for Billy Joel.  This kid was good too!!!!  Wow, I love when we witness magic happen.  And, thanks for the shout out Kelly, this is truly a front-row moment for the student who had the courage to ask!

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