Upon making my decision to leave teaching nearly 30 years ago, I interviewed with numerous companies. At the first interview, the human resource director looked up at me and said, “You’re a teacher. You bring nothing of value to the business world. It’s as if you were a drill instructor in the military. That does not help us in any way. We are not interested in you.”
The second interview was a much worse experience. I arrived at the office of the public relations/marketing director of another local firm. He looked up from my résumé, crumpled it in his hands and threw it into the waste basket in front of me and said, “Not interested.”
During the next interview, the HR director looked me in the eyes and said, “If you could do anything in this world, what would you do?” My reply, 29 years ago was, “I would be a writer and speaker.” He smiled and said, “You don’t want to be in retail. Put my name down as a reference and get the heck out of here.”
In the Wall Street Journal, Melinda Beck wrote an inspirational article about rejection and those who are moved in a positive way by denunciation. She talked about actress and singer, Julie Andrews who was rejected as “not photogenic enough for films.” She also talked about the rejection of the Harry Potter books by 12 publishing companies, Michael Jordan being cut from his high school basketball team his sophomore year, and numerous other successful people like Walt Disney, the Beatles, Dr. Seuss and Thomas Edison.
What was it that made them continue to drive forward, to push their ideas and dreams to reality? In the article, Ms. Beck says that the psychologists call it ‘self-efficacy,’ the unshakable belief that they have in themselves to succeed.” “It also is the hallmark of ‘positive psychology,’ which focuses on developing character strengths rather than alleviating pathologies.”
Here was the key point to the article: Those people who succeeded believed that persistence will let them beat the odds. “Sometimes genius itself needs time.”
The good news about this is that, according to Harvard Medical School psychologist, Robert Brooks, “You can develop a resilient mindset at any age.”
Bottom line? Do not allow negative responses to disrupt your dreams. Go for it. No matter what your age is.