I am about to tell you a story about me in my 20s. It might seem random and unrelated to this post, but stay with me...
When I graduated college I was jobless. So with tail between legs I slunk back home to live with my parents and intern, for free, at a teeny, tiny marketing firm in Oklahoma. A few months into my internship and I was hired, for peanuts, as an assistant account manager. I got the job because someone else quit.
I worked there for several months, learning a lot while sending resumes out to companies in Dallas. I was hungry and wanted to get to the "big city" to start working at a higher caliber company where I could make my mark. I interviewed a million times (okay, maybe 10-15) and kept coming up without an offer. I finally decided to do something drastic. I quit my job, took the money I had saved living at home and moved to Dallas to be able to job search locally.
In Dallas I made networking my job. I went to the dog park in my apartment complex after work to meet people. I joined organizations and went to luncheons. I polished my resume. And one day I attended a Women in Communications meeting. I met a woman who passed my resume along to another woman who worked at the Susan G. Komen national headquarters. And after one interview-- the first since I moved to Dallas--I had a job. It was a contract job, a short one, so I put my head down and got to work. I worked my rear off and when my boss changed jobs she took me with her.
I now had a full time job at Match.com with great pay, fun perks and a cool, hip, .com vibe. I went to speed dating events. I met success couples. I learned how to train spokespeople, and write speaking points, and talk to news media. I went to NYC for the first time and talked to Matt Lauer at the Today Show. I was doing everything I'd dreamed of -- and it was just the beginning of my career.
So what does my work history have to do with rejection? Um. EVERYTHING. I was told "NO" time and again. But I didn't give up. I kept hustling. And then, when someone finally said "YES" it was not because I was suddenly a better employee. My resume hadn't changed. But I had put in the work, and had kept putting in the work. And then, all the stars aligned. And I found the right person, at the right place, at the right time and she hired me on the spot.
LET ME REPEAT THAT:
The right person, at the right place, at the right time.
The same goes for writing. You will hear a million (maybe a billion) "NOs." Put your head down. Keep learning. Keep networking. Keep writing. Keep hustling. Because all you need is one person, at the right place, at the right time, to see you, and believe in you. To change your whole future.
This is what I tell myself when the inbox crickets get to me. Or another rejection comes across my desk. I've been through rejection before, and I came out of it with an amazing career that I'm extremely proud of. Chasing this dream of being an author? Even on the worst days I try to look at it with the same eyes of that slightly naive 20 year old girl who believed she could. And did.
I'm not going to lie. I've heard a lot of "NO" since I started working toward my goal of being a successful children's author. But when I heard "YES" it was such a sweet sound. I'm chasing that sound, that feeling, that YES. Because when my agent finds me
, at the right place, at the right time, and she (he?) says YES, I'm going to put my head down and do the work and I know it will be the start of something great.
Don't focus on the No. Focus on the Yes. Do the work. Your time will come. OUR time will come.
I know it.