It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. That can be said for a lot of jobs. Some are literally dirty. Other jobs are emotionally dirty.
I have invested my time today in one of the latter kind of dirty jobs: advising TEDxUNLV ( https://www.facebook.com/TEDxUNLV) applicants that their proposals were not accepted. Don’t feel too sorry for me, I volunteered for the job. I co-chair the speaker performer selection committee and volunteered to handle all notifications. If I got to send out the acceptance emails, it is only right that I also handled the correspondence with those whose proposals were not accepted.
Being a success expert by trade, I know the value of NOT getting what you want to your overall development. It is standard knowledge that what you choose to learn and how you choose to respond when faced with a disappointment very well determines your next potential for success. For the most part, I and the committee wanted to be thankful and respectful in our notification to those who were not approved for this year.
There was one proposal, however, that garnered particular angst on my part. It was an outstanding proposal by Steve Way — the youngest applicant to submit a proposal.
Steve was born with Muscular Dystrophy. He has devoted his young adult life to inspiring others to overcome challenges, be aware of those with disabilities, and settle into the fact that achieving life goals is hard — whether you are born with Muscular Dystrophy or not. His professional speaking website is not up yet, but invest the time to listen to his commencement speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOvr6371Kfo and leave a message of encouragement.
Steve made today a whole lot easier for me. After receiving my email letting him know his proposal was not accepted, he got a message back to me through Andrew Horn, Steve’s speaking mentor:
Steve just forwarded me his rejection letter and I just wanted to pass along Steve’s note to let you know how much it meant to him. I know how busy we get and how easy it would have been to have send a standard rejection letter. Instead, you chose to take the time to write a thoughtful thorough note that inspired Steve, rather than discouraging him. He is motivated to keep going and I can’t thank you enough for being so mindful and considerate with your note.
Steve’s message to me: “Very surprised to get this. Not the rejection, but how personal it was.This is perfect motivation to be accepted next year!”
Steve is clearly choosing to learn from this experience and I have complete faith he is busy laying the groundwork for his next potential success.
Lesson that I learned? When you have a dirty job to do, do it with the same integrity you would your next great success. Sending out rejection emails might have been a dirty job, but Steve made me sure glad I did it. Thank you Steve and Andrew.