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The $40,000 Napkin Sale

The $40,000 Napkin Sale

Mike Doane

Discovering the value of your work and being brave enough to ask for what you’re worth

Have you heard this anecdote about Salvador Dalí? Dalí was enjoying lunch in a Parisian café doodling on a napkin, when a woman approached him and offered him a couple bucks for the sketch. Dalí kindly refused. He wouldn’t sell it for a penny less than $40,000.

“But it only took you 30 seconds to draw!” the woman objected.

“No, ma’am,” Dalí replied. “This drawing took me thirty years.”

The authenticity of this account is dubious, but it illustrates an important point. Dalí understood the value of his work. He knew he had something to offer that no one else could. It took him years to perfect this craft, and that’s worth something.

This is an example of squaring the circle. There’s a mental shift required to recognize the value of your work and dare to ask for what it’s really worth. But, if you’re successful, you might just pull off the $40,000 napkin sale.