Monopoly & Rejection: The Real Game of Life
Stop. Go directly to jail. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. When you were a kid, how bummed were you when you landed on that ONE space out of all FORTY? Pretty bummed, especially if that $200 was what was going to enable you to purchase Park Avenue on the next go around. Similar to the 'Stop Space' on the Monopoly board, there are forms of rejection people readily acknowledge when they experience them. However, there are also daily interactions with rejection that individuals do not consciously register. Consider the following:
Your roommate drank the last of the milk
You hit every red light on the way to work
Your professor does not call on you in class
The parking meter does not accept bills
Maniac in the minivan won't let you merge onto 270
These items are usually grouped together and labeled as a bad day, but they are all forms of rejection. The forms of rejection people consciously recognize in their personal and professional lives are associated with experiences that carry greater consequences. Whether you are a sales rep at a B2B company making cold calls, or an account manager at an advertising agency pitching new campaigns, every professional faces rejection. We went around the office at Hopkins and asked some employees to recall a few of their bigger moments of rejection and how they dealt with them. After speaking with everyone two things were obvious. 1: Everybody has had a bad high school dance experience and 2: Sales reps encounter rejection far more than anyone else.
The responsibility of generating all of the company's cash inflows creates a great deal of pressure. In order for the company to grow, sales reps must actively strive to acquire new clients, often through cold calling, meetings, networking, and scheduling appointments. On average, for every 100 calls a sales rep makes, one will produce a new account.
With a 1% success rate how do sales representatives go seemingly unaffected by rejection? What runs through their minds when they've made 99 calls and have no new accounts? "Some days you know it's all part of the equation, other days it starts to get under your skin a little bit. You do what you've got to do" commented Hopkins Sales Representative Ed Nikodem.
"You do what you've got to do." What Nikodem touched on is resiliency. In business resiliency separates the red from the black and in life resiliency separates the winners from the losers.
Let me throw some numbers your way:
9,000+: shots Michael Jordan missed in his career
1,000+: attempts Thomas Edison made before inventing the light bulb
600+: times Jack London was rejected before selling his first short story
7: times R.H. Macy failed before his store in NYC was accepted
5: times Henry Ford failed & went broke before Ford Motor Company
We can all learn a lesson from the above icons as well as sales reps; they know that rejection is a necessity in obtaining victory. The trick is to treat more recognizable forms of rejection as if they were as inconsequential as hitting a red light. The next time you can't pass go and collect $200.00, in any area of life, don't give up, because if you want the monopoly, you have to stay in the game.