How to Stand Out Without Showing Off

A cheat sheet for quiet people who want to be seen

Michael Thompson
Forge

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“What the hell am I doing here?” I thought to myself. “This place isn’t for me!”

Cigarette packs, coffee cups, and manilla folders were everywhere. I felt like I’d just walked into the set of a bad sales movie. The year was 2003. The place was Baltimore. The people who weren’t screaming into their phones were yelling at each other about how many deals they had going.

Just as I began to think about making a run for the back door, the corporate trainer stuck his head outside the conference room and shouted, “We’re in here, Mike! Let’s go!”

I hesitantly walked into the room wrecked with sweat. All the information the corporate trainer threw at me for the next few hours didn’t help to calm my nerves. But towards the end of his talk, he said something that stuck with me: “Your job is simple — pick up the phone 100 times each day. If you do that, I don’t care who you are, the rest will take care of itself!”

Two months later, while attending the year-end party, the man’s words proved correct. Extrovert. Introvert. Ambivert. Young. Older. Single mom. Prep school kid. The numbers didn’t lie. Every single person who received an award that night for being a top producer picked up the phone more than the…

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Michael Thompson
Forge

Co-creator of two cool kids • Storytelling Coach •.Fast Co., Insider, Forbes • Free storytelling guide here: https://bit.ly/3h1KZeT