WHY “NO” MEANS “NOT YET” TO ME
I was born with paper-thin skin. My four brothers tell me that I cried daily, about everything. And if someone hurt my feelings I could hold onto it forever. I was so afraid of people thinking I was vain going after a position in front of the camera that I was a full 10 years into my career at ESPN before I even gave voice to the desire to be in front of the camera.
I was a full time producer at ESPN when I sent a resume reel to ESPN to be a sideline reporter. I sent it to someone I didn’t know in a different part of the company who unbeknownst to me brought it to HIS boss saying, “I am thinking of hiring this woman”. The boss clicked the link to review it – saw me – and called, “why didn’t you TELL me this is what you wanted?” he said. We had been in a wedding party together only a month before. I just didn’t know how to get the words out of my mouth for fear of being rejected.
Now, decades into a career I love I get rejected frequently. And I also get the job a lot. I like to say my skin is now armadillo thick and when I get rejected I genuinely say “thank you” in my heart because it always provides inspiration.
Early in my career I was an assignment editor at ESPN – part of the job was answering the phone calls that came into the newsroom – and I remember one guy who called from Seattle frequently. He wanted to know if there was any work for him … could he cover this game or that? I was not the decision maker but merely the messenger … and often was tasked with delivering the news “no” and “no” and “no” … but he really did keep calling until finally the bosses started saying “yes” and they gave the kid a shot … and when he arrived Kenny Mayne took it and ran. Yes, that Kenny Mayne. When I saw Kenny get eliminated on Dancing with the Stars the first week of season 2 I know many people thought “I wouldn’t want to go on if I was knew going to get rejected the first week” but I knew what was coming, and I knew Kenny was going to parlay it into something bigger. He has been on every season on DWTS ever since – 14 seasons! He has created “Dance Center” and extended his run on a huge hit TV show another 7 years. All off of one week of dancing.
So when I get a “no” for a job I want all I really hear is “not yet”.