I walked into the local restaurant to order a grinder recently and saw a stack of business cards next to the register. After I ordered my food, I mindlessly flipped through them and saw the names of local businesses: electricians, accountants, cleaners.
I looked up at the owner and she said “don’t you have a card Steve?”
“No,” I lied. I paused. Then I changed my answer.
“Yes, but no one will call me if I leave it.”
The waitress eating her food on break didn’t even look up and responded, “No one will call you if you don’t leave it”.
She was right. So simple and so profound.
I’ve been starting my own consulting business and I have been running into brick walls and obstacles lately. Networking is so much harder than I anticipated. People’s loyalties are different than I had anticipated. I am stood up for breakfast. Emails go unanswered. Questions aren’t answered for weeks at a time. It’s beyond frustrating.
I just wanted a chance.
Ideally, I convinced myself that I could dictate my own schedule and create a “lifestyle” business. Ideally. But, we don’t live in a world of ideally’s, do we?
I was listening to a podcast the other day by Pat Monahan from Train and he was interviewing Christina Perri. She was telling this crazy story about her road to success. She had moved to LA, got married, moved to Florida, back to LA, divorced. All at 21. Then she was left with nothing.
Her best friend decided to manage her. Her friend made them write a letter to the Universe asking for certain things to happen. One night, her best friend/manager called Christina because she wasn’t having success at dating and wanted Christina to play her guitar so she could dance. They posted the video on YouTube.
After the night of singing and dancing ended, Christina’s friend looked at her and told her that she wasn’t a good manager and was quitting. The very next morning, Christina received a Facebook message from Jason Mraz’s manager and told her that he saw the video that she posted the previous night. He wanted to manage her. She made it to the studio to create demos and next thing you know “Jar of Hearts” was a hit and so was she.
She had the guts to leave her card.
Christina’s Perri success story is an everyday occurrence. You could discount it to luck or the letter to the Universe. But she dared to put herself out there. Thinking about her story today when I am frustrated brings me a source of inspiration. We have to dare to fail greatly sometimes. Or else we risk becoming the dull plodders of life. Plowing forward day by day, afraid to be ourselves, to aim big, to love, to live. You name it.
I just want a chance too.
Persistence and perseverance are two of the hardest traits of ours.
I remember when I was a senior in high school and I decided to go to Central Michigan even though I had wanted to go to the University of Michigan my entire life. My mom sat by quietly for months about my decision and finally on Halloween as I was passing out candy she made me apply. I made a deal with her – if I was accepted then I would go.
I left my card.
They called. I was accepted. I went and it changed the rest of my life. My Christina Perri story.
I forget that sometimes. Life can get so frustrating and full of grown up aggravations. Full of people’s bullshit and ignorance. Full of brick walls and obstacles.
I just wanted a chance. I’ve had my chances and now I want it again.
What I think I forgot, however, was how hard I had to work for my chances….
The waitress was right – I’ll leave my card.