As I stood
on stage, I was shocked at how many in the audience were in tears as I
wiped away my own damp face. I was in awe; this was a first in my speaking
career. I had often done or said things to make my audiences laugh, but
this kind of emotion from them and from me, at least publicly, was new.
What had happened? What was different?
I had stumbled onto something
that changed my life that night, as it did for a number of people in the
New York Hilton Ballroom. It all happened because I was offered a choice;
one that had no visible consequences. It was a simple leisurely decision
that would imprint a lesson that will last the rest of my life.
In the movie,
"Sliding Doors", Gwyneth Paltrow's character barely misses catching
her subway train. She gets to the car just as its doors close, leaving
her standing on the platform. The film cleverly shows both what happened
to her and what would have happened to her, had she been there only moments
sooner. The difference of those few moments radically changed her life.
I can relate to that.
Several years ago I was in New York to give a speech before 500 successful
salespeople. A few hours before the talk, I went walking. I strolled by
a large department store, not intending to go in. A woman who was coming
out thought I was going in. She even held the door open for me. An open
door in New York! I had to go in.
A few moments later I found myself riding the up escalator. Above me I
could hear a stern voice echoing off the stainless steel panels of the
moving staircase. So sharp and harsh were her words that my fellow riders
and I all looked up at the same time. The unseen voice was unrelenting,
"That was stupid! How could you be so dumb? If you ever do anything
like that again, you'll be sorry!"
My escalator companions shot furtive glances at each other, then our eyes
turned up again, towards the continuing and still concealed voice. We
all seemed to be tapping into our individual memories like members at
a VFW meeting, "Oh yeah, I was under fire like that once."
As I approached the landing, I began looking for the voice. It
was still barking repeated reprimands. I stepped off the escalator and
glanced around, looking for the voice. As I walked around the side
of escalator, I spied the source. A tall, well-dressed woman was bending
down and shaking a long slender finger, made longer by a bright red acrylic
nail. The object of her rage was a little boy about five years old. He
was dressed like a miniature man in a miniature suit, tie, and tiny wingtip
shoes. A tear was rolling down one cheek, while he wiped the other one.
As he shifted his gaze back and forth between the voice and the
people walking by, I caught his eye. He turned away in embarrassment,
bowing his head.
Some of the spectators, for indeed this had become a spectacle, were either
staring, snickering or commenting to each other about the scene.
His acute humiliation at being publicly scolded was displayed on his tear-stained,
reddened face like a flashing sign. My heart wrinkled in sympathy for
Without thinking, I bent down next to the woman, who I took to be his
mother. I looked right at the little boy and said, "Don't worry,
adults sometimes make mistakes too. You'll be okay." Then I winked
His eyes got big and the voice stopped in mid-scold. The boy looked
at her, then back at me, perhaps thankful at no longer being the object
of this persecution. As I glanced her way, the voice stopped, and
she became the eyes, as she transferred all of her considerable focus
I looked back at the boy, patted him on the shoulder and said, "You'll
be fine. You look like a smart young man." I looked back at the eyes
and I suppose my eyes were now conveying my deepest feelings, but I said
nothing. She blinked and her eyes seemed to dim for a moment, as if she'd
been caught in a spotlight doing something shameful. Still saying nothing,
I shook my head in disgust and moved on.
For the rest of the day I was filled with the image of that little boy,
pop-up memories of my childhood, and the times I had felt that way-although,
thankfully, not because of public humiliation by my parents.
That night, I altered my planned speech, and told the story of the little
man and the voice. I recounted some of my most memorable and public rejections
as a child and an adult. I wondered aloud if today's experience would
stay with that little boy for the rest of his life. I thought it probably
would. I told the audience that I'd hoped the mother, after thinking about
it, might apologize and make amends to her son. I hoped to God that this
was not something that the boy had to endure often. What kind of memories
would he have for life? What kind of man would he become?
Like any professional speaker, I've had my share of standing ovations.
A banquet speech is good for those. The audience, after sitting too long,
full with dinner and too much wine and brandy, suddenly realizes the talk
is over. Oh good, he's done, we can stand now! Sometimes it's hard to
know what they're applauding, the speech or the end of the speech. This
night, however, it seemed like the genuine thing.
Later, at the book table, some members of the audience crowded around,
asking questions and commenting on the topic. People wanted to hug me!
They were leaning over the table that separated us until I came around.
Until that evening, most audiences, wanting to show their appreciation
after a talk, did so with hearty handshakes. Suddenly I was huggable?
The refrain became a familiar one. "That was my story." "I
know now how being rejected has been affecting me all of my life."
The impact of this topic was beginning to hit me even stronger. Something
special, although unintended, had happened. Obviously some nerves had
been touched. Mine surely were.
Since that night, my seminar, How
to Take "No" for an Answer and Still Succeed,
has become my most popular program and the one that I most enjoy giving.
It's also the one that has helped me the most personally and has provided
me with incredible feedback from people from all walks of life. It was
like the movie "Sliding Doors," by going through those doors,
my life changed dramatically. Of course I'll never know how my life might
have changed had I walked on by.
I've missed so many "sliding doors" in my life that somebody
ought to name a subway platform after me. This is not a statement of regret
but of motivation and learning. The metaphor for sliding doors is about
opportunities that while we hesitate, close and move on without us. The
woman you didn't ask to marry you because. . .the job you didn't apply
for because. . .the raise you didn't ask for because. . . How many of
these "missed doors" were because of fears of rejection? I know
there were a lot of them in my life. Now, instead of regret, I've discovered
that all I can do is learn from them, and for those that held heartfelt
regret, to release the emotion of regret. No one can possibly know about
a door not entered.
Many of the doors that I missed in my life were either because of my disappointment
at having been rejected, the fear of being rejected, or believing that
I had been rejected even when I hadn't. Sometimes I heard "NO"
before it was said. In hindsight, these fears make no more sense than
the fears of a poor young girl with bulimia, who looks in the mirror at
her emaciated body, still believing that she's too fat. Those beliefs
are all too real in the moment. It is only later, when we discover another
reality, that we can change. That was true for me.
I realized that my NOs were often internal, either imagined or as a result
of a fear of a coming NO. When they were external, they were NOs of little
consequence or they were NOs of testing. I didn't know any of these things
then. I was young. I was afraid. I heard NO like an echo ringing in the
mountains. It was like the person yelling NO had already left, and then
I came along in time to catch the echo and took it personally.
I was actually surprised when I found out I wasn't alone in these feelings.
In fact, not only was I not alone, I was completely taken aback by some
of those I met along the way who felt the same as I did. These included
everyone from movie stars to corporate CEOs. Walter Anderson, publisher
of Parade Magazine has interviewed many celebrities and world leaders.
He always asks them this question, "When it's dark, and you're all
alone, do you ever say to yourself, 'What will I do if they find out I'm
me?'" He said he never fails to get an affirmative response.
The power of NO is remarkable when you discover that it's available to
convert a negative force to the positive and powerful energy of ON. You
can use this power anytime; as you are about to discover, the realization
of it will rock your world!
In this book you will find, through our experiences, and those of others,
the positive power of NO. After reading this book, you will be a master
of overcoming rejection! You will know how to learn from it, and how to
use its negative energy for a positive outcome.
As you experience the success of others through failure and rejection,
you will develop your unique insights from those things that have held
you back or propelled you forward. Your mind will pop up more memories
than a toaster in the Brady Bunch's breakfast nook.
Years ago I heard a version of a story that I find is worth keeping in
mind. It's an old parable about a wise Chinese farmer whose son broke
his leg one morning. His neighbor came over and said, "Oh that's
a bad thing."
The wise farmer said, "Maybe good, maybe bad, who knows?"
The next day the neighbor came over and told the wise farmer that the
local warlord was coming to conscript all available young men for his
army. The neighbor said, "It's a good thing your son broke his leg.
The warlord won't take him." The wise farmer said, "Maybe good,
maybe bad, who knows?"
The warlord came and took the young man, broken leg and all, and threw
him into the back of a wagon and left. Of course, the neighbor had to
again comment on how truly bad this was. Whereupon, the wise farmer once
again repeated, "Maybe good, maybe bad, who knows?"
A few days out, the warlord realized that the young man would be of no
use to him, so he threw him out of the wagon. It took the boy weeks to
inch his way back home. Along the way, while resting beside the road,
he came across a partially buried treasure box of precious stones and
gold. He brought the treasure home to his father, making the family rich
beyond their wildest dreams. Of course, the neighbor upon hearing about
this said, "Oh, this is very good." The wise farmer said, "Maybe
good, maybe bad, who knows?"
Then he revealed
the secret of his wisdom. "It is not for us to know what is good
or bad. It is only for us to be fully engaged in the adventure of living,
for how can we know what event is ultimately good or bad? That is the
future and we can only know the now which is never good or bad, only part
of the adventure. Who knows?"
You can look back now on major rejections in your life and perhaps assess
how "bad" or "good" they were. Some experiences you
thought were bad at the time turned to your advantage. Yet, even now,
that view may not be entirely accurate. If something is still "bad"
in your mind, what you may not know is that the event itself could have
stopped something even worse from happening; who knows?
If you run for your next open door for opportunity and it's closed, or
your can't afford the ticket to go through, or aren't allowed because
you're not acceptable for whatever reason, you will be living out the
maybe good, maybe bad scenario of who knows? Surely someone missed the
sailing of the Titanic.
If your intention was to take that boat and all the ones before it, and
you missed them, then it's time to ask why? Like me, you may find the
reason was unconscious and once known could more easily be conquered.
In other words, there is always a way to get on the boat you want to be
on, even if you have to build it yourself. This book can be your travel
guide for future boats.
The next step in this process is for you to declare yourself not only
a survivor, but also a prosperous survivor. No one can deny your definition,
because you are the only one who has to right to decide what prosperous
means to you.
Consider the NOs of life in the form of a bridge. It would look like this:
It's a bridge of NOs, until
you change your perspective from the second NO. In the graphic, you can
see that it starts with the N of NO. The N is the stepping stone to ON.
In my seminars and workshops we show people how to see the NOs in life.
Visualize the NO, then make it bigger, make the letters red and vivid,
then reverse them to ON, and see it as vivid green. Go ON to the next
thing. The NOs of life are really just learning stations to get to what
we want. How to do it? Thats what this is all about.
When you see the options, you
have a choice to take the NO Bridge or the ON Bridge. While this may seem
simplistic, thousands of people have experienced transformations by choosing
the perspective they wish to have in how they take NO for an answer.
This work isn't about failure
or even success. No other person has the right to measure what that may
be for you. My clients have been wealthy and famous as well as just starting
out. The former were sometimes more afraid than the latter. Too much to
lose, too big to be seen any other way, too prominent to be seen making
mistakes. The easy way? Do less, or worse, do nothing.
If any level of fear rules your life, if you are concerned about being
or feeling rejected, not wanting to suffer the same humiliation you've
felt in the past, tired of feeling that you did everything you could but
still you didn't get what you wanted. Any self-doubt or hesitancy in making
decisions that might enrich your life, then this work was designed for
After that day in New York, my life changed. I wrote this material for
others, who, like me, didn't understand the power of rejection and the
hidden fear that sometimes ran their lives. I wrote it with them, thorough
my seminars and coaching sessions. I saw some of the most powerful people
in the world, close up, who suffered these same challenges as the rest
This is powerful, straightforward
material that has changed lives. It has been designed as a simple and
easy-to-use process that anyone from teenagers to grandparents can master.
Material that will make noticeable improvements in your life.
Come across this
"bridge" as I can guarantee to you, it will enrich your relationships,
your business, and your life.
is available on video and audio media. Please see products
listing for details.
Limited time special - Get "How To Take NO For An Answer And Still
Succeed - The Manual" for 30% off the cover price.
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