How a 'No' Becomes a 'Yes'
I used to hate the word "no." Everywhere I turned people were telling me no. I have to confess that I was a pretty rebellious kid. I had trouble with authority figures, which explains why they probably had to use no all the time with me. But why so many no's? Didn't anyone think of a "maybe" or a "possibly"?
Then it started to dawn on me that for most people, no is the easiest thing to say. In fact, it's most often the easiest thing to do. You hardly have to think about things — just say no.
This used to really get me down. I had a "get it done" personality in a "no" world. And I took it personally. I was defeated.
I lived my life in this down state for quite some time until someone told me what the true nature of a no was. I'll get to that in a moment. But, just for a second, I want to look at the other side of the no coin. It's failure.
Failure feels like a nasty thing, doesn't it? We all fear it. Even as I write this I can remember some of my greatest failures and how gut-wrenching it was to go through them — the hurt, the shame, the feeling of being lost, and just plain not meeting my own expectations or the expectations of others.
Then a wise friend told me that failure was a building block of success and that I needed to reorient my thinking to this point of view.
He said: "Look at it this way, Richard. Hardly anyone is successful right out of the gate. Every great achievement is preceded by a host of failures." That's failures — with an "s" on it. Many failures.
Did you know that the ratio of ideas to a single successful product introduction is 1,200 to 1? You could look at the pursuit of those 1,199 ideas as things that failed. Or you could see that the truth is that each time you go out to try something you are learning more and more about (a) what not to do and (b) what you should do. Success is always preceded by failure.
If you’re hanging with Richard it won’t be long before you’ll be laughing.
He always finds something funny in everything. But when the conversation is about people, their money and giving, you’ll find a deeply caring counselor who helps donors fulfill their passions and interests. Richard believes that successful major-gift fundraising is not fundamentally about securing revenue for good causes. Instead it is about helping donors express who they are through their giving. The Connections blog will provide practical information on how to do this successfully. Richard has more than 30 years of nonprofit leadership and fundraising experience, and is founding partner of the Veritus Group.