“KARMA IS BEAUTIFUL – How to turn a NO to a YES.”
It has been a roller coaster ride as an entrepreneur in the areas of PR, Publishing and People over the last nine months. I’ve been reflecting a lot on what inspired my transition from one of the greatest Companies in the world, Walmart to the tough life of a start up! . Its Karma. Karma is beautiful. Five years ago amidst taking on a very challenging role at Walmart, I determined to write a book (in my spare time) in memory of my father. Like any aspiring author, I was super excited about my book concept. But I was devastated by the feedback I received from a leading publisher who said NO to my proposal. After unsuccessfully approaching close to 20 publishers, I finally published DADDY’S LOGIC via McGraw Hill. I did however stay in touch with the lady who gave me that first NO. When Daddy’s Logic came out IN 2012 and sold a few thousand copies and was translated into Chinese, she sent me a lovely note saying she wished we had worked together and we should work together on another book project. I was touched and we became friends. I was greedy in my search for knowledge from her and she was generous with her advice. I learnt rapidly and in 2012 started my next book BREAK THE CEILING TOUCH THE SKY in honor of my mum, who passed that year. Then in 2014, with the permission of my employer I started my own publishing Company – House of Rose alongside my day job. Yesterday, the lady who gave me my first NO as an author, referred a senior business leader to me for guidance on how to get his first book out. Apparently she shared with the author that “I was pretty knowledgeable about the publishing industry.” So I spent an hour sharing some perspectives with him. At the end of the discussion I was pleasantly surprised when he offered his support for a huge new project my Company is taking on – the Break the ceiling touch the sky 2015 success summit for women on Sept 29 in Singapore. That left me thinking about my first NO from my publisher friend. If my publisher friend had not said NO that first time, I may never have brought out my two best selling books, never have had the courage to start my own Company – House of Rose Professional, never pursued my dream of being an independent consultant, author and speaker. Sure, our Company is just starting up and we are minnows amidst giants, but I’ve taken the plunge. And yes, my friendship with my publisher friend is alive and well. So I guess when life says NO to us, we must be willing to say YES. And not give up so easily. I just wanted to share a few thoughts with my friends out here which may be helpful on how to convert a NO to a YES. 1. BE OBJECTIVE when people say NO to you. Even if you can’t get a YES from that person, inquire as to what you could improve on, do differently etc so that the next interaction could be a YES. Feedback is indeed a gift. 2. BELIEVE in your idea and what you are doing. but also be willing to make adjustments and change course for improvement if the initial idea needs work. There is a REASON why the guy who got the idea first isn’t necessarily the guy who made it successful. Someone came along, learnt, adjusted, persisted and did it better. 3. GROW A THICK SKIN. Of all the things that have helped me in my career, a thick skin has been important. Keep your dreams alive inside, be as sensitive as you want internally, but grow a suit of armor outside that will enable you to take REJECTION and keep bouncing back. 4. BE HUMBLE. Instead of saying “*&$EW YOU” when things go wrong or when people don’t give in to your requests, say “HOW CAN I MAKE THIS BETTER? WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE?. Jim Stengel once told me during my P&G days that his greatest asset was humility and being a good listener. Jim was P&G’s greatest ever CMO and reinvented brand building for the Company. And he was one of the best mentors I have ever had. Jim is one of the most humble men I know. 5. GIVE. DONT JUST TAKE. Certainly the “takers” get ahead faster over the short term. But over the long term, its the “givers” who do better. People who believe in fair play, people who give back in terms of their personal time, people who believe in doing the right thing, people who count generosity as one of their assets. When things come undone, the takers have nobody to count on, the givers have armies of support. You see life is fair. KARMA IS BEAUTIFUL. Wishing you luck as you turn the NO’s in your life to a YES!! Have a great weekend. * P.S: I should share that all royalties from book sales of DADDY’S LOGIC and BREAK THE CEILING TOUCH THE SKY: Success secrets of the world’s most inspirational women are going to HABITAT FOR HUMANITY and SAVE THE CHILDREN respectively. To date we have supported three shelters in Thailand and 25000 medical tests for women in India for maternal anemia. No, I am NOT some rich guy with cash to spare, FAR from it (especially during a start up phase when cash-flow is pretty restricted. Just someone who believes that KARMA is BEAUTIFUL. The best is yet to come!