A colleague of mine in NSA wrote a book with this title back in the late 90’s. I’m reminded of it every time I receive a rejection. What is it I’m supposed to love about this, I wonder.
I had the opportunity to raise the question last week when I got rejected by a panel for a speaking opportunity I’d worked hard to apply for (not mentioning any names). I got that familiar twisty feeling in my lower gut, took some deep breaths and whispered a prayer heavenward that was more like “whatever.”
The next day, I read Seth Godin’s daily missive and thought, “Oh, here’s why I didn’t make the cut.” Part of his message, the part that he wrote for me to read that day, said:
Every time I find myself wishing for an external event, I realize that I’m way better off focusing on something I can control instead.
What I needed to focus on last week was distributing copies of my manuscript to first readers. I created a questionnaire for each person I’m handing a copy to so I can get their feedback on what most held their interest, what they might not understand, what they see as the theme, etc. These activities are the things I can control.
Not surprisingly, as I got busy focusing on what I could control, the sting of rejection lessened and my book project moved forward.