Imagine You're the Greatest in the World …

John Wood here, back with you for day four of my tribute to Olympic athletes and the lessons we can learn from them.

When I was quite young, I wanted to be a Native American.

Two words summed up why …

“Jim Thorpe.”

I’d read a book about him, and I wanted to be just like Thorpe, the person who many refer to as the greatest athlete of all time.

Today, I’m going to talk about a famous event that occurred in Thorpe’s life that, if you apply to your freelance career today, will not only boost your confidence, it will help bring you more clients and bolster your reputation.

As an athlete, Jim Thorpe could do it all.

For starters, he played professional baseball and professional football. He even played professional basketball for at least two years (1927 and 1928).

Although he finished his professional baseball career in 1919 with an impressive .327 batting average, his football career was even more remarkable.

He was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1920s. Plus, among other acknowledgements, the Associated Press named him the Best Football Player in the First Half of the 20th Century.

Thorpe was always on the field. He played running back and defensive back. He was also a placekicker and punter.

And while football was Thorpe’s favorite sport, the accomplishments he’s best known for are in track and field.

He dominated in both the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden, winning gold medals in both events.

It was at those Olympics when King Gustav of Sweden, upon meeting Thorpe, told him …

“You sir, are the greatest athlete in the world.”

Imagine for a moment, that someone called you “the greatest writer in the world.” Would you feel more confident in your abilities? You bet you would.

And while “the greatest writer in the world” might be overstating it a bit, I’m sure you’d feel equally as good if someone said you’re “an excellent writer who always delivers copy on time” or that a sales letter you wrote “beat their previous control by 200%.”

If you consistently “deliver the goods” (like Thorpe did in his athletic career), there’s no reason to let positive words about yourself go unsaid.

Because, not only will client testimonials fuel your self-confidence, they’re a powerful way of marketing your services.

The best ones are voluntarily given, like the one King Gustav gave Thorpe. But, because that doesn’t happen often, you usually have to ask for them.

Here are the best times to ask your client for a testimonial:

  • You’ve solved their problem …
  • They’ve achieved success as a result of what you’ve done …
  • They’ve told you they’re happy with what you’ve done …
  • They thank you profusely …
  • You deliver copy to them when they asked for it.

Before you even start the project is also a good time. Ask them if they’d be willing to provide you with a short testimonial once you’ve completed your work to their satisfaction.

And it’s always a good idea to make it as easy as possible for your clients. Don’t be afraid to offer to write it yourself and then submit it to them for approval.

Here’s your challenge for today … reach out to a client and ask them for a testimonial. Then, add their comments to your website or self-marketing kit.

Or, if you don’t have any clients yet, ask a friend or family member to read something you wrote and tell you what they like about it … how it made them feel … how it made them want to take action. You can even give yourself a testimonial as an extra confidence-booster!

It may feel a little uncomfortable to ask people for testimonials at the start, but even a few good comments can be worth it when their words make you feel like “the greatest of all time.”

Do you have any testimonial tips you’d like to share? Or, for that matter, do you have any input as to who you consider to be the greatest athlete of all time? If so, please post your comments here.

Tomorrow, I’ll highlight a 78-year-old story that really gets to the heart of what life (and freelance writing) is all about.

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Click to Rate:
Average: 3.7
Published: February 20, 2014

2 Responses to “Imagine You're the Greatest in the World...”

  1. It always feels great when you get a pat on the back, score a high grade or receive an honor for a job well done. It makes you confident, feel loved and valued, and you want to do more. But it takes preparation, discipline and commitment which you can learn and turn into a habit if you wake up everyday reminding yourself of your goal. I am not there yet, but I really think the sky will be my limit if I can only get that missing puzzle in place. Anything that can motivate me to achieve this goal I will appreciate.

    Guest (Paul Idriss)February 20, 2014 at 2:15 pm

  2. A pat on the back, a high mark, a sincere compliment and even a high five all contribute to make an individual feels good about his or her achievement.
    I enjoyed this article because it gave me some directions about getting testimonials and to be willing to offer them.
    Thanks John!

    Monica RobinsonFebruary 23, 2014 at 3:05 pm


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