Nearly 40 years ago, Robert D. Smith, author of 20,000 Days and Counting learned the one business lesson that became the foundation of every success he's ever enjoyed.
Robert Smith, (THE Robert D) was out of college for the summer and working as a door-to-door educational material salesman for the Southwestern Company. He learned that there is no better introduction to the feeling of rejection than having a door slammed in your face over…and over…and over again.
He was truly on the verge of packing his bags and quitting when he got an idea that totally revolutionized his way of thinking—what if, instead of making his goal about the number of sales, he made it about the number of sales pitches he did every day?
From that moment on, he stopped focusing on getting sales. Robert Smith's single focus was on the goal of doing 30 sales pitches every single day, no matter the outcome. So, even if he did 30 pitches and was rejected all 30 times, he would still accomplish my goal.
But here’s the funny part—he never could get 30 “No”s in a row. When he succeeded in doing 30 pitches, he always got at least one “Yes.” Robert Smith ended up becoming one of the best salesmen…simply by not caring whether he made the sale or not.
Eating “No”s for Breakfast
Years later, Robert Smith took this concept to another level. He had just started managing a young comedian, and was trying to get him bookings in the college market. Smith's goal for each day went beyond simply doing 30 pitches. Smith was now trying to literally receive 30 “No”s every day. On each phone call, I would actually say, “You wouldn’t be interested in booking a comedian would you?”
Inevitably, someone would always end up saying, “Yes, actually, we ARE looking for a comedian.” Smith truly never succeeded in reaching his goal of 30 “No”s per day.
By making rejection his goal, Smith got to the point where “No”s meant absolutely nothing to him. He was eating them for breakfast. Worrying about rejection became a thing of the past. And when that happened, the “Yes”s started rolling in, one after the other.
Sounds crazy, right? How in the world could this have possibly worked? Here are five reasons why:
1. Seeking rejection makes you fearless.
If you truly commit your mind to getting 30 “No”s every day in whatever goal you are trying to achieve, whether it’s making a sale or finding an investor, you can train yourself to actually feel happy when you get each rejection.
2. It forces you to do something.
When you take fear out of the equation, it becomes much easier to take action and pick up the phone, write the email, make the sales pitch, etc. Taking action is always better than doing nothing. Even if you’re doing it wrong, just do it so wrong that it looks right!
3. It will make you stronger in all areas of your life.
This concept goes beyond your business. If you get good at seeking rejection, that fearlessness and boldness is going to sneak into every other area of your life as well. Pretty soon, you’re going to become a fearless friend, a fearless parent, a fearless spouse. You can become the person who steps up and takes bold action.
4. You will feel massively motivated.
You know what happens when you force yourself to do something 30 times in one day? You end up feeling crazy productive. You know what happens when you feel crazy productive? You end up doing even more! Real motivation is always the result of intense action and productivity. Motivation doesn’t lie within a self-help book; it lies within you.
5. You’ll get rich.
History has proven this again and again. Show me a successful person who didn’t spend years trying things that ended up being massive failures and I’ll show you a dancing unicorn. Steve Jobs was ousted from Apple. He came back and made them the most valuable company in the world. Michael Jordan got cut from his eighth grade basketball team. He won six titles in the NBA. You know the stories. Why can’t the same be true for you? It’s time to believe.
Whether you seek it out or not, rejection is going to find you. Why not meet it head on? If you’re ready to succeed tomorrow, you better start by failing today. What 30 “No”s will you find before the sun goes down?
Get Robert D. Smith’s free eBook, Battle-Tested Branding, at TheRobertD.com.
Robert D. Smith is the author of 20,000 Days and Counting, a crash course in living each day with maximum purpose and intensity. He also writes about entrepreneurship, personal growth, and more at www.TheRobertD.com.
This short, easy to read book is full of practical, take-action advice designed to give you a new perspective and it has the power to change your life if you apply it.
Robert D. Smith, known affectionately to those around him as THE Robert D, is a leader in providing life-changing entertainment resources, a global customer service rep, and a favorite uncle.
For more than three decades, he has managed and overseen the career of Andy Andrews, a three-time New York Times best-selling author and in-demand speaker. He has served as a private consultant to numerous best-selling authors, speakers, entertainers, and cutting-edge organizations, educating them on the unique methods he has employed to sustain massive success and growth across multiple industries for the past 30+ years.
Characterized by his never-say-die attitude, Robert has made a habit of powering through adversity and closed doors at every turn. He was rejected 51 times while pitching Andrews' first manuscript, "The Traveler's Gift." While most would have quit, Robert persisted through "no" after "no."
"No's don't scare me...I eat no's for breakfast," he says. "All a 'no' means is that you're one step closer to a 'yes.'"
The Traveler's Gift, of course, went on to become a New York Times bestseller and a featured selection of ABC's Good Morning America. It is now available around the world in over 25 languages, another volume in a catalog that continues to sell at an impressive rate. "They tell us that a book by Andy Andrews sells every 60 seconds somewhere on the planet," he says with a grin.
His unique lifestyle, magnetic personality, and uncanny ability to get the best out of those with whom he works shine through in his debut book "20,000 Days and Counting," which he describes as a crash course for anyone wishing to get the most out of each and every day, hour, and minute they spend on Earth.
"20,000 Days and Counting" shows you how to maximize every moment and live purposely with tremendous certainty of who you are and what you are here to do. I definitely give it a solid 3 1/2 stars!
Robert spends his spare time mentoring the next generation of entrepreneurs and creative thinkers, teaching them lessons in business, finances, and living lives of meaning. He enjoys creating lasting memories with those around him by seizing opportunities for magic moments in seemingly ordinary settings. If you find yourself out to dinner with him, he will insist that everyone order dessert first.
He currently resides in the countryside of Franklin, TN, just south of Nashville.