Billy Joel And The Audacious Power Of Asking

billy joel and michael pollack

If you haven’t seen this video yet, you need to take the six minutes and nineteen seconds to do that now.

Go ahead. Do it right now. I’ll wait.

You see? I told you it was worth it! :)

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What Most Of Us Are Afraid Of

I didn’t want you to watch it to see them perform together. I did it because it’s a powerful example of something that most of us are afraid to do: ask for something.

This video shows Billy Joel singing “New York State Of Mind” with Vanderbilt University student Michael Pollack.

It was filmed during “An Evening of Questions and Answers and a Little Bit of Music” at the university in January 2013.

During the “Question And Answers” portion Billy is standing there taking questions and Michael Pollack stands up to ask a question.

But it’s not just a simple, expected question.

He has the nerve to ask an audacious and bold question: ”Can I play ‘New York State Of Mind’ with you?

And, after a half-second pause, Billy says simply, “Ok.”

The Guts To “Ask Big”

Can you imagine the guts it took for Michael to ask Billy Joel if he could play that song with him?

I imagine he must have gone back and forth in his mind wondering, “Should I or shouldn’t I?”

But finally in the moment when he had the spotlight, Michael decided to go for it and ask BIG.

And the result? He received a moment that he will never forget – a moment that could change the trajectory of his life forever.

It is also a moment that is now being shared online and inspiring many others to ask bravely.

Waiting For The Answer To A Question We Never Ask

Most of us don’t do what Michael Pollack did. Not only do we not ask big, we don’t ask at ALL!

  • Instead we wait around hoping someone will give us the thing we aren’t willing to ask for.
  • Instead we wait around hoping for an answer to an unspoken question.
  • Instead we wait for permission to do something that no one knows we want to do.

Look, sometimes waiting around and hoping, waiting, and expecting will produce results.

But USUALLY it doesn’t.

And if it does produce results, they’re usually NOT the results, answers, or permission we really wanted.

Sometimes the only way you will RECEIVE is if you ASK.

And sometimes if you’re brave enough to ask BIG, you’ll receive BIG!

The Worst Thing That Can Happen

What? You say you’re scared to ask? So am I!

What’s the worst thing that could happen if you ask?

You might not get what you asked for. But if you think about it, that’s not really any worse of a situation than the one you’d be in if you didn’t ask, right?

But what’s the best thing that could happen?

You might get not only what you wanted, but more than that.

You’ll get the courage to ask again for something bigger, for something more.

But wait. Don’t stop there.

What’s the worst thing that could happen if you DON’T ask?

The worst thing is that you will miss out on something you could have had or experienced – if you only would’ve asked!

Not receiving something that you never could have had anyway isn’t a big deal. But missing out on what you actually could have had seems to be a very sad result of being too afraid to ask!

Doesn’t it?

And do you realize that there is only one way you can actually know what you could have had or could have experienced?

Yep. You guessed it.

The only way to know is by asking!

3 Warnings About Asking

1. Be as prepared for a “Yes”.

You need to be ready like Michael Pollack was. He had practiced and prepared for that moment, so when he got what he asked for he was ready.

2. Be careful what you ask for.

You might just get it. And not everything we want and desire is always what’s best for us.

3. Be persistent.

Just because you’re told “No” once doesn’t mean you will be told “No” a second time… or even the FIFTEENTH time. Maybe you weren’t ready the last time. Maybe the stage wasn’t set for you. If what you’re asking for is really important and really worth it, then ask again and again and again!

My Challenge For You:

This week have I want to challenge you to have enough courage to ask for ONE thing you need, want, hope for, or expect. And for bonus points, make that thing a BIG THING!

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  Discuss This Article

Comments: 2

  • Doug Marshall says:

    Another reason why Billy Joel is an American icon!

  • Tami Lynn says:

    Tami Clark If you don’t ask you will never know what could be. I’ve never been one to be afraid to ask a question or take charge of a job that i’ve been asked to take on. I carry out my work in a timely fashion but the one thing i’ve learned today is you have to trust in you. Aways provide a contract to be signed as a hand shake or a verbal task or agreement is no longer a way of life today in business. Loyalty in many places have been lost today and broken which leads to not trusting others. Being positive is the only way and hold true to your leadership and faith in what is right. It’s a very cut throat world today in business and only you can protect you. Everyone wants something for free and it holds true with businesses that don’t value ones work ethics to be honest about the work that was done by another. Taking credit for another person’s hard work and hours or taken money from their table is not honesty in my book. I strive to meet the standards to the best of my work ethics to see that things run smooth and with nice promotions. I appreciate the loyalty I get from the artist that have stayed with me and book with venues or clients I work with as you all know honest is my policy. I have helped numerous people in my life time and all I ask is for the same respect I give. Thanks for reading this…Billy Joel’s video is interesting…Thanks Billy Joel for being the person you are!

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