The asset known as rejection.
My husband is an actor. You've probably seen him on your television at least a few times. Between roles on Sex & the City, ER, The West Wing, Medium, Secret Life of the American Teenager and a bunch more I can't remember; commercial work for Geico (yes, he was a caveman), Oscar Mayer, Fedex, Lexus, McDonald's, and pretty much every brand you can think of, and a long list of independent and studio movies, he's among the rare breed known as the "working actor." In the world of acting, working is success. And yet, no one has taught me more about rejection than this successful actor husband of mine - because for every job he's booked, he's been through manifold rejection.
In acting, rejection is the most important part of growing and learning - and ultimately. a critical component of success. This is certainly also true in the course of raising money for a company, a fund, or a cause that's near and dear. Rejection offers key benefits:
1. The chance to learn - why were you rejected? Should you have better understood the investor's selection criteria? Was the timing off? Was this investor just a bad fit for your brilliant idea? I encourage you to push on investors to understand why they rejected you - these learnings will be critical as you go forward.
2. The opportunity to improve - rejection is a great avenue for refining and enhancing your story. Is there anything you can take away from this rejection that can help make your pitch stronger for future investors? Even better - are there ways you can see your business with fresh perspective and in turn improve it based on rejection?
3. The chance to get tougher - because in raising capital, as in auditioning for Amazon, there's nothing more important than understanding that toughness is critical for success in any entrepreneurial endeavor.
And perhaps best of all, rejection moves you nearer success. No, not for everyone - but for the best, rejection is a natural part of the process toward a positive outcome. When Lizzie and I get a "pass" in our fundraising process, we high five. Why? Because every "no" pushes us one step closer to the next yes. We know that for every "yes" we receive, we've got to get a LOT of "no's" out of the way first. And we think that every one of those steps is cause for celebration.