I believe that persistence and consistency produce results on the journey to our goals, but as most of us know, real-life can quite effortlessly throw us off the path. But not my daughter. Nope. She sticks with it. My daughter, Rosalina, is just about 3 years old. As a Mom, I used to believe that I was the one here to teach and guide her. I’m finding out, though, that she has a lot to teach me. She is a living example that we can all learn from.
I was watching her play with a new friend the other day. It took a few minutes for them to get familiar with one another. Then she asked her playmate, “Would you like to paint with me?” and she gets a NO. He continues to pay attention to the magnets on the refrigerator.
“Do you like my ribbon?” she asks, and he looks over for a second, and says “NO,” and turns his focus back to the fridge.
She says “Will you come sit down next to me?” and she gets a NO.
At this point I’m starting to feel frustrated and sorry for her. ((wink wink… this MAY be how I feel when getting NO’s in my life…)) I do not see one iota of a pout or a sulk on her face. So I resist the mommy-urge to “make it all better” and continue to observe. She joins him at the fridge and begins playing with the letter magnets too. She’s putting them together in a straight line, and he comes over and says, “NO, let’s make a staircase!” So he takes over and begins to re-arrange her straight line into what his imagination inspired him to create. Looking out at the magnet-scape, then to her new friend, she looks disengaged, and maybe even a little bit sad.
So, instead of what many of us would do: yell, pout, cry, get mad, act out, etc., she moves away and walks toward the other room, leaving him to have his fun. The next thing I know, I hear her shout from the other, “I’m gonna to catch you! You better run!” as she comes charging back toward the kitchen and heading straight for him! He shrieks out loud, drops the magnets and heads for the hills. And now they are off making a grand loop through the entire house squealing, running, laughing, and at last – playing together.
She knew that she wanted to play with him. That was her goal. She just kept trying idea after idea after idea until that goal was accomplished. Many of us find we get disheartened, dismayed, sulk or admit defeat when we hear NO a few times. The truth of the matter is that for every 9 NO’s, there is a guaranteed YES! According to Caroline Ceniza-Levine, co-founder of SixFigureStart, persistence does pay off, “as long as you can be flexible on how you get there.”
When we have our own ideas, sometimes we get attached to them as a representation of ourselves. When it gets rejected, we then tend to feel personally rejected. Not Rosalina. Every idea was just one idea that could be the one that accomplished the mission. I realized that she did not see “NO” as a personal rejection, she saw it as feedback. The feedback simply was saying to her, “This is not the way that he wants to play. Keep searching for a way to connect.”
A great number of the most wildly successful people subscribe to this philosophy. Take the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series co-creators Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen for example. These gentlemen heard NO from over 140 publishers before finding the publisher who was willing to publish the content they had to offer.
Jack Canfield believes that “sometimes life sends us huge challenges to help us develop personal qualities such as courage, patience, perseverance, optimism and faith. …Some people said it was not my destiny or karma to have that book published, but I persevered for over a year and eventually that book, Chicken Soup for the Soul, was published and went on to sell over eight million copies in 41 languages. What if I had given up after 100 rejections because it was my karma or it was my destiny? No, I believe we have a lot of power over our future and it is up to us to exercise that power.”
We can all re-set our perception of NO. Thanks to children, we get a fresh perspective on how we filter the world through our own mindset. Kids are focused on getting what makes them happy. Then they pursue and persist until they get what they want. Pretty amazing, huh??
George Foreman, the legendary boxer nearly gave up his dream. After being defeated by Muhammad Ali in one of the most famous matches in boxing history, Foreman went into a self-proclaimed retirement, and walked away from the sport. After 13 years, he returned to boxing recommitted, and broke historical records to become the oldest title holder in history at age 38: a record he still holds today.
Keep pursuing your passions and stay the course in the face of your obstacles. What opportunities exist for you? How can you make your goals reality?
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Keep on chasing your dreams.