In my childhood education classes, one of the phrases that showed up in just about every course was “Process over Product”. That saying means no matter what you’re teaching your student to do, what was is most important was the process involved and not the outcome (the product). That collection of terrible pictures from art class that your parents proudly put up on the frig, or kept in a folder, was your story of process and progress. It’s not about whether your drawings of snowflakes or science experiments were beautiful, it’s about what you learned and how the process helped you grow and improve.
Your cut out snowflake at age 4 and the one at age 7 should look different. By 7 your fine motor skills that let you hold a pencil and cut with scissors would have improved. The product, the actual snowflake is just the physical thing you walk away with that gets shoved into a folder or covered up on the frig. The process, the learning, you get to keep for the rest of your life.
For 10 years I’ve worked on this organization. I started Launch after teaching and seeing so many young people, who had so much potential, not get the support or resources they needed. I found an organization doing similar work to the idea I’d come up with, got in touch with them, and asked if I could work for them.
They said “no”.
They said no and for about an hour I let that “no”, deter me.
I let that “no” be where the story ended.
Then, I changed my mind…
Great stories start at “no”.
Many people will tell you that they were motivated by rejection, that the reason they work so hard is because someone told them no, or some system failed them, or an industry never let them in. More than just being angry that you didn’t get what you wanted, a rejection should make you work harder.
For me, I knew this was the work I was to do and whether that organization was going to have me or not, I wasn’t going to simply quit. The people who give up after hearing a “no”, who let a rejection force them to pick something else, should be grateful. If one “no” is all it takes for you to throw in the towel, that’s great, because now you know you weren’t committed to that work. If a “no” causes you to find another way or go about it, good for you; you’ve found the work that fulfills you, and that the world needs from you.
I hope you get rejected. I hope some person, system, or industry tells you “no” and I hope you’re better for having heard it. I hope that being denied leads you to the path you’re meant to pour yourself into. I hope that a no strengthens your resolve and that you go even harder after it.
Permission to Launch.