“As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.”
~ Steve Mariboli
Tune in to the RAVE WAVES BlogTalkRadio show, ASPIRE TO INSPIRE where this post is the topic of a lively discussion. This is a production of Rave Reviews Book Club.
Dr. Steve Maraboli is a highly successful American author, coach and mentor who calls himself a Life-Changing Speaker. His doctorate is in the behavioural sciences and he is described as the most quoted man alive. This quote interested me because Dr. Steve is talking about rejection, and like many other people, I have always feared rejection by people I want to join or to be with.
As I reflected on his words I searched my memory for instances of rejection, and I have to admit that all that come to mind from my early years are rejections from a couple of girls I wanted to date in high school. One was three years older than me – which at that age was totally laughable perhaps. You see, we both were interested in drama and tried out for a part in a one-act play to be performed at a local Drama Festival. She was chosen as the leading lady and I as her leading man. (The director told me I looked a lot older than fourteen.) We worked together on that play for months – it was a romantic comedy and our characters were engaged. Sure enough, I fell head over heels for real. At the end of the Festival I asked her for a date. She was a very sweet and kind person, so she let me down gently and didn’t publicly ridicule me. I was grateful for that and loved her all the more for it… or what I thought was love at the time. I never knew what became of her or what she really thought about me. I was crushed for a time, but I shook it off realizing that I had been a fool to ask her out in the first place.
As an adult, I remember approaching traditional publishers in the 1990s to see if they would be interested in the instructional skill books I had written for my students. I got lots of rejections here and stopped looking until a visiting retired educator saw my booklets while in my classroom and made a point to talk to me afterward. She gave me the contact information for a small educational publisher in Northern Ontario who was looking for material like this. I contacted him, sent him a file… he phoned. A few months later my first published work Getting It Right In History Class was available in 2002!
That success (getting it published, not making lots of money) was followed by the request from Iceberg Publishing to write A Personal Journey To The Heart Of Teaching. Today I am self-published through my own company, Fiora Books.
So, do I buy into Steve Mariboli’s message? Yes I do, but I think the key word he uses is redirected. I also believe that when one door closes in life, another opportunity will present itself… but not by magic. I do not believe anyone is entitled to new opportunities, new doors, or extra chances at anything. I don’t know Dr. Steve, but based on what I do know about him, I think he’d agree.
Successful people in business, the arts, in love, in all walks of life are not born. They are people who have known rejection, who have stumbled and fallen to their knees in the dust. Make no mistake, these are the ones who don’t quit, and instead of filling other people’s ears with whining and crying, they resolve to do better. They get up, roll up their sleeves, and look for another way, another avenue or approach – and that’s when they find another opportunity!
Going back to my own attempts to have my booklets picked up by a traditional publisher, allow me to elaborate. After the rejections, I stopped looking for a publisher, but I started working on improving the look and the content of my booklets. I found a template in MS Publisher and used it to reformat my re-written booklets. My students loved them! These are the booklets that the visiting educator picked up. By the way, I called the booklets FioraSkill Books! If I hadn’t continued my work and decided to be my own publisher with a computer and photocopier, I would never have been “…redirected to something better.”
Did this same principle work for my heartbroken fourteen-year-old self… yes, but it sure took a good number of years! That kid took another six years to find the right girl. But she was well worth the wait… her name was Anne and she became my bride. Not only that, but after three children, three grandchildren and 42 years of wedded bliss, we’re still together! So I was pretty lucky back when I was fourteen!
I believe in God, but I don’t believe that this quote means that God is directing us to better opportunities. To my way of thinking, that kind of direction impinges on man’s free will. I grew up worrying about whether or not my decisions were violating God’s plan for me. No, I believe in a God who created us all out of His/Her infinite love – a love we cannot hope to fathom or pigeon-hole. My God loves me enough to allow me to make my mistakes and then help when I cry out. I’ve never been disappointed by God because I’ve never asked Him/Her to do anything for me – to fix or change anything! I have asked for strength… always for strength – to do what I feel I have to do. But if I don’t have the moxy to get on with my life in the best way I can, I don’t deserve to be redirected by God or by anyone else!