If you aren’t winning enough in your life, it’s because you aren’t losing enough.
“What?!” you may be thinking. “I’m losing plenty, thanks. That can’t be right.”
It is right. You have to take risks to win. And you don’t win every time you take a risk. Success is a percentage game—and it’s not even a big percentage. The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people are willing to fail more often than unsuccessful people. They are willing to hear “no” and get rejected. Millionaire baseball players bat .300—that means they only hit three balls out of ten. But they make millions because most people can’t even hit that many.
When I decided to write a book, I knew nothing about the publishing industry or what it would take to get published. I went to the bookstore and bought “How to Get Happily Published” and “The Shortest Distance Between You and a Published Book”. I went to Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen’s 3-day seminar “How to Build Your Speaking and Writing Empire.” I asked every writer I knew for a connection to an agent or a publisher.
I got rejected by everyone for the longest time! Then one connection paid off and I got my agent, Lisa Hagen. We hit it off right off, and the search for a publisher began in earnest. Lots of interest…and lots of rejection.
Then a ship came in! Harper San Francisco published a line of books under the title of “365 xyz” and my book was going to be “365 Money”. I chatted with the editor, we came to an agreement, and Lisa started the negotiations. Wow, did we celebrate! I proudly announced my deal at all my networking events and got hearty congratulations from everyone.
Then disaster: the parent company Harper Collins in New York had just signed another woman to do a page-a-day book about money. My deal was off.
Not only that, but doing a money book as a page a day book was my USP – unique selling point! No one else had done one before. And now someone else was doing my idea, got my publisher, and was going to be first to market before me!
I howled my exasperation to the moon. When I could speak rationally again, I called my friends and complained bitterly about my fate. Then, devastated, I sank into depression. I went to bed, turned the electric blanket up to “mother” and cried myself to sleep.
The next day, I went back to work.
Well, really, what else is there? This other writer, whoever she was, wasn’t me, couldn’t write my book – my stories are unique to me, with my special Chellie Sauce. So let there be two of us in the world. She’ll reach her people and I’ll reach mine. There were around 6,000 publishers back then, like Thomas Edison and the light bulb, I was damned if I was going to give up before I had tried every one of them. (*Note: I bought her book “Wealth Happens One Day at a Time” when it came out. Nothing at all like mine – it’s a paragraph each day about investing.)
I bought a book called “Rotten Reviews and Rejections” full of actual bad reviews and rejection notices for very famous books, like this one for “The Good Earth” by Peal Buck:
“Regret the American public is not interested in anything on China.”
And this for “Journey Back to Love” by Mary Higgins Clark:
“We found the heroine as boring as her husband had.”
James M. Cain’s book “The Postman Always Rings Twice” wasn’t about the postal service – it was about sex. Cain explained that he had given his book this odd title because every time the postman brought him a rejection letter, he rang twice.
The fact that all these talented, famous people had been so relentlessly rejected gave me hope. They went on to be rich and famous, so why not me, too?
It’s imperative to see the goal and see yourself reaching it. That vision is what keeps you going when your ships encounter stormy seas. Sailors learn to sail when they’re out on the ocean, not when they’re home safe at the dock. What good is the finest navigation equipment, the latest in ship-to-shore radios, new white canvas sails, and scrumptious food stored in the galley, if you don’t brave the waves?
Yes, it’s hard—so what? It’s hard for everyone. Do it anyway. Do you want to spend your life commiserating with the other disappointed Tuna over how life is too hard?
“The Wealthy Spirit” eventually found a wonderful publisher in Sourcebooks, Inc. After it came out, I received a letter from a friend congratulating me. She said that she had always had a secret desire to be a writer, and had even written a magazine article once. Eagerly, she sent it to the editor of a magazine, and waited anxiously for her ship to come in. But this one floundered on the rocks. The only driftwood from the wreckage was a rejection slip. She never tried again.
That’s the saddest thing to me—that you are talented, glorious, special, and the world needs you, but you don’t trust it. You have had one shipwreck and you are afraid to brave the storms at sea again. One idiot out there—who isn’t even Your People—says something mean and you give up your greatness in subservience to their opinion? Stop that! Don’t give up the ship! Try again. Build another ship, build another fleet if you have to. The only failure is failing to try again. Your People are out there waiting for you, praying for you to show up. The world needs you or you wouldn’t be here. The only thing stopping you is you. And that you can change.
Send out a ship. Then send out another one. And another one. And another and another and another. It doesn’t matter how many ships sink, how many people say no to you; it only matters how many people say yes. So keep on going until enough people say yes. You have to have this kind of determination not to quit and to keep going until the yeses arrive like the next ship on the next wave.
Or the one after that.
Please feel free to copy this article and use it wherever you like. Just include the following “author box” for attribution:
Chellie Campbell is the creator of the Financial Stress Reduction® Workshops, and author of The Wealthy Spirit, Zero to Zillionaire, and From Worry to Wealthy. She has been prominently quoted as a financial expert in the Los Angeles Times, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Family Circle, Woman’s World and more than 50 popular books. She can be reached at Chellie@chellie.com