Creating a Wide Enough Net

painting with the word no

I received another rejection notice the other day for a potential speaking engagement.

I was somewhat relieved.

A few observations…

First, I was relieved because I have thrown my name in the hat for several speaking engagements. So a few “you have not been chosen” messages are actually relieving.

Second, I take rejection as a sign that I am casting a wide enough net. I am admittedly reaching, instead of “playing it safe.” Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Finally, my speaking proposals are unconventional, which leads to potentially more rejection. Instead of a standard “commercial,” my proposals make an argument. The topics may range from sustainability, blame, to a variety of leadership issues, but the the emphasis is always on moving the audience to some sort of action. Admittedly, not everyone likes this kind of approach. But, my goal is not to be something for “everybody” anyway.

I share this to encourage you to keep casting a wider net. More than that, do it the way you feel it should be done, rather than becoming the cookie cutter: Design the new part. Implement the new system. Promote the promising millennial.

Doing the unconventional will always be criticized, and may lead to the kind of rejection that I have shared in my personal speaking journey. The part might not work, the system might wreak havoc, and the millennial might leave (at least that’s what I am told they typically do —and I don’t believe it!)

Keep striving anyway.

Keep working to get better.

I’ll do the same with public speaking. In fact, this year I am going to get some help with my speaking, which is a topic —help—that I’ll turn to in my next post.