My first few years after moving to the states, I did door-to-door sales for a while, selling office supplies to businesses and AT&T services to homeowners. I learned a lot working that job. I highly recommend everybody to try that once in their lifetime. 😉
Other than the chance to practice my English at that time (and learning Spanish as well), the most I learned was work ethic. Walking hours and hours a day, in the scorching heat or stormy rain. Going from one door to another, facing rejections and uncertainty while keeping a great attitude. It was a necessary training ground for me to have the work ethic I have now.
Dealing with the uncertainty of getting sales, working on 100% commission, there was a certain mindset that we needed to adopt to keep our spirit up. To help us with that, one day our sales manager helped us reframe the rejections we got in the field.
Let’s say, with the law of averages, I would get one sale from every 20 people I talk to. Then my focus becomes talking to 20 people instead of that one sale. Every time I hear a no, it means I am closer to a yes. I remember there were days, when our manager had us focus on not the yes’s we got but the no’s. We tried to get as many no’s as we could and we celebrated every time we got a no. Because it means we are closer to our yes!
The no’s don’t affect us that much anymore. In contrast, it motivates us.
Another story from a guy called Jia Jiang. He did ‘100 days of Rejection Therapy’ by himself. Every day for 100 days he went out and purposely looked for ways to get rejected. He would go to Starbucks and ask to be a greeter, try to get a free room at a hotel, borrow a book from Barnes & Nobles. The list goes on. You can check out his YouTube and blog for the crazy things he tried to attempt.
His goal wasn’t to succeed but to get rejected. Sometimes he did get the no, but also many times he was surprised with the craziest yes. Like the Olympic donuts Krispy Kreme made for him and a private jet ride from Tony Hsieh.
He didn’t see no as failure. Just as my sales manager helped us see no as a good thing.
This mindset has helped me tremendously throughout my career. I no longer was scared of being rejected but more motivated to keep trying and ‘failing’.
I don’t determine my success by how many yes’s I get but by how many times I try.
I don’t care if what I am working on will ever turn into something grandeur. I only care if I put in the effort, learn something and enjoy the process along the way.
Rejection and failure don’t define us. It’s how we deal with them that defines us.
Can you imagine what you can accomplish if you are not afraid to hear a no?