A friend sent me Brian Chesky’s “7 Rejections” post on Medium over the weekend. He basically says that 7 prominent and smart investors passed on investing just $150k (or approximately a 10% stake) into their startup back in 2008, and now that startup is valued at approximately $24billion. That company is AirBNB.
I was struck by the many areas of life where rejection is a risk we take- dating, submitting a story for publication, starting a small local business, applying for jobs, public speaking. And then I thought about what keeps people going- what keeps people in it, and my stream-of-consciousness-during-an-especially-rigorous-glute-exercise-at-barre-class continued from there.
Several of my clients have been told they don’t have what it takes. One without investment banking compliance experience was told it would be difficult. She got her dream job at her dream company in May. Another who had financial analysis experience was told she’d never break into her dream field of healthcare. Now she’s working at a prestigious healthcare system doing…data analysis. Heck, I was pulled aside by my (ex) accountant and told that ‘most coaches don’t make it so I should consider another career path.’
With rejection and naysayers everywhere, what keeps us going? Whether it’s going to yet another networking event to land the job or going on yet another online date to see if there’s a spark, what ultimately keeps us moving, learning, growing, not giving up?
I’m not sure I have the answer, but as I see it, it swirls around two things: the unshakeable instinct that you have something people have just GOT to see- something that will add value- and the grit and tenacity to keep moving. Even if it’s just one small step at a time.
I’ll give you a personal example. From previous jobs (i.e. calling and getting hung up on by countless hedge fund managers) I was paralyzed about picking up the phone and following up with interested potential clients. I’d work myself up into quite the state to get ‘er done and in the end, I think what made me do it was because I believe in what I offer. Just like my client believed she had a ton of relevant experience to offer the compliance world. (And what she didn’t have, she made up for by, for example, taking the CAMS certification course).
So, for those of you who have received 7 Rejections (or more), keep going. You haven’t found your tribe and/or your groove yet. And when you get rejection 1, 5, 10, 14, don’t do that whole negative self talk thing. You’re your biggest ally- don’t turn you against you…And of course, celebrate when you get over that hump with something. Me? I bought some delicious fresh tomatoes and made a delightful summer salsa, which anyone who knows me knows it’s a guilty pleasure.