I cordially invite you to join me in the world of rejects, losers and castoffs. I proudly wear my badge as one of the few, the proud, the determined who wears rejection on my sleeve as a badge of honor, because it is. All you need to succeed is to lose. All you need to do to win is to fail. Today I share with you the honest truth about everything I've ever achieved. You'll be surprised by the ingredients, for there is nothing sweet about them. Success is built on heartache, loss and tears. Join me in my straight talk on success.
Recently I was disappointed when a large consulting proposal was rejected by a prospect. As I took stock in all the good that had come from that rejection, I began to get excited. I was excited about the realization that rejection had fueled my entire career, even my entire life. Everything good in my life has been built on a foundation of rejection. Here are the four key rejections that have made me stronger, smarter and wealthier than I could have ever been had I been granted the easy path to life.
1. Teachers: I am so grateful to my fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Stoddard for telling me and my family that I had learning disabilities. Had she chosen to help me excel -- rather than to hold me back with her label -- I may have excelled in school. Had I excelled, then school, college, relationships, all would have come easy to me and I now know that easy, uncomplicated and simple are the death nails to success. Instead, Mrs. Stoddard made me feel stupid, so I didn't try at all in school, and I barely graduated from high school. She made my life harder, and I am grateful to her because she made me stronger, wiser and more determined. Today I know that I was not a learning-disabled student, but rather she was a teaching-disabled teacher. Had she not discouraged me I may never have risen to my potential, but I did. To her I am grateful.
2. School: I am so grateful that I was rejected from admission to University of Lowell, now known as University of Massachusetts. This was a defining moment in my life because it was when I realized that I was in charge of my own destiny, and I was going to have to figure out my own way to success. It was shortly after this rejection that I determined I wanted better anyway. I wanted to go to the best business school money could buy, probably because I had no money and couldn't buy anything. Rejection fueled my ambition to figure out a way to achieve my goal, and of course I did achieve it. I graduated from Bentley College with a Bachelor's Degree in accounting, and it turns out I did have to buy my education but I figured out a way to do that too. Dig into rejection and it always shows you the way.
3. Relationships: I wake up every day grateful for the most loving daughter and an amazing fiancé who's respectful, funny and smart. How did I get so lucky to get such an amazing family? My family was born out of my preceding relationships. My relationship with a man who would not tell his family we were together and who would ask me to park down the street from the house he lived in when I visited so nobody would know I was there, sparked the relationship I have today. For me, rejection has always come through for me. By getting the awesome opportunity to be with someone who didn't appreciate me, I learned to appreciate myself, and in so doing was able to steer my way to find others who appreciated me too.
4. Work: I thrive on rejection. When a good salesperson leaves my company, I strive to make my company even better. When I am recruiting people to my team, I use the no's to propel me to work harder and smarter. NO is like a high octane vitamin pack that fuels me to work harder to keep achieving. When you say NO to my firm, I work diligently to prove to you and to myself, that you made the wrong decision. No is not defeat for me, but rather a springboard to my better tomorrow. A NO is the greatest favor anyone can pay me.
I am so grateful to everyone that ever told me NO. Without you my life, my businesses and my relationships would teeter on the brink of mediocrity. Instead, the foundation of everything awesome in my life was built on one little word -- NO. It dares me to be better. It challenges me to try harder. It rallies me to be the best that I can be.
Next time someone rejects you, thank them profusely for the favor, because for you, a better tomorrow awaits. Which rejection are you most grateful for? Inspire me in your comments below.