Thriving on Disappointment. Be Brilliant, Not Bitter

Embassy Suites, Dallas, 10.55pm, July 30 2008

Damn. I hate losing. I hate hearing that the prospect has “decided to go in a different direction” or that “they liked me very much but they decided that this event needed a different kind of speaker” or that “they’re not ready for my message”. It hurts as much now as it ever did to hear someone say that I’m not the guy.

And you know what’s worse? I’m hearing more NO’s now than ever before. Each NO cuts deep. Each NO hurts bad. Each NO frustrates me. Each NO makes me question myself.

But only for a moment. My first response is always emotional. It’s always childlike: I want to get my way and I want it now, and I’m pissed when I don’t.

Then I think about why I didn’t win. I think about what I could have done to win. I call the prospect to find out why I didn’t win. Sometimes they speak to me and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes I get over the NO quickly and sometimes it takes a little longer.

Then I look for the YES inside the NO. I look for why I had to get the NO. I look for how I can use the NO to get the YES. I challenge myself to make the next call with confidence and conviction. I use the NO as a deposit on my next YES. I remind myself of the platinum rule: Success is a numbers game. The more calls I make, the better I become at making those calls. And the better I become at more calls, the more YESSES I will win. But because I’m making more calls, I will also get more NO’s.

Here’s the good news: I’m getting more YESSES. In fact, yesterday’s NO’s are becoming today’s YESSES. I’m discovering that NO is not forever. NO is just a test. NO is the fuel that YESSES run on. NO is there to make it real. NO is there to keep me humble. NO is there to make me pause, reevaluate, recalibrate and reinvent my methods. NO means I’m still in the game. NO is what builds my stamina and resilience.

But that doesn’t make it any easier. Disappointment sucks. It always tastes bitter. And that’s why it’s so good for me. It’s hard to swallow and it burns all the way down. That’s why I’ll keep taking it. I’ll keep learning from it. I’ll keep thriving on it. Every disappointment leads to an equal or greater distinction.

So I’ll keep turning NO’s into YESSES.  I’ll be brilliant, not bitter. How about you?

One thought on “Thriving on Disappointment. Be Brilliant, Not Bitter

  1. Iman Al Ghafari

    It hurts your readers to hear about the NO too because they see you the one who can make a great difference. To be honest,I couldn’t believe that someone could say no to you Mike. May be because of the big trust in your win and your ability to make difference in people’s life.
    Then when you wrote about turning the no into yes,I said to myself ” yes this is Mike Lipkin ,,he can always do it”
    I think we really learn from disappointment deeper if we have the will to keep going forward.
    May success always be with you.


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