Surprise! You’re an optimist!

I’ve never thought of myself as an optimist. I can wallow with the best of them. But the other day, after my mother read my blogs, she said they were full of energy. Okay, she said exhausting. But I’m putting a good spin on it. I never thought that that meant I was an optimist, but I guess it does. Part of why I’m so optimistic has to do with my husband. He’s the eternal optimist. If it’s thundering and lightning and raining, he says “So, we’ll get wet! Let’s go!” And after a while, I guess it rubbed off, and I too became an optimist.

I’ve been dissecting how this could possibly have happened. How someone who is as good at being depressed as I am, can also be an optimist. So much so that other people don’t see the dark side that lurks within me. And I have to say that it may be that part of me has always been this way. When things are tough, when I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, I fake it. I push my way through like I know what I am doing. And I think that it may be that the drive to keep trying  is going to push me from pre-pubbed to pubbed. I am going to fake it till I make it.

Turns out that this is the big secret that everyone sells to you. They robe it in all kinds of new-ageyness, but its been around forever. My husband is the least new-agey person you can imagine. (Opposites must attract.) But when we first got married he was in retail sales. On his feet 8-10 hours a day and on a commission only pay scale. If he didn’t sell, we didn’t make a dime, no matter how many hours he was there. (Yes, it is legal.) At this time he discovered Tommy Hopkins, and Tommy Hopkins is all about optimism.

We still have a plastic card that hangs in our shower and on those days when I just don’t think I’m going to make it, I repeat Tommy Hopkin’s wise words. These are the words that got my husband through days of rejections and sore feet. “I will win, why, I’ll tell you why….I have faith, courage, and enthusiasm.” Rinse and repeat. Mr. Tom Hopkins is still out there and you can find him at  where all his sage advice is still available. I know he is  a sales guru, but when you are in sales, if you are not the kind of person who can pick yourself up time after time, you don’t sell. You don’t survive.

I never wanted to listen to all the sales stuff, but somehow is has permeated my brain. And it helps. We are all selling something. We use our resumes to sell ourselves to employers. We use the internet to sell ourselves to online dates. We authors are trying to sell ourselves to agents and editors. I’m not sure if my husband got it from Tom Hopkins or from someone else (If it’s your quote, let me know and I’ll credit you), but somewhere in all the sales training he picked up something that says: the ability to succeed is directly correlated with your ability to take rejection.

That is so true with publishing. And online dating. And that job search. The ones who get rejected and curl up into a ball and never try again, don’t succeed. It’s the ones who look at rejection as an opportunity, who succeed. The people who say, okay, this didn’t work…what can I do better. And guess what? I’m one of those people. Okay, not with everything. But it turns out I am persistent with my writing. I’ve been rejected and it made me take a new look at my work and ask if they were right. Could it be my golden words weren’t as good as they could be? And you know what? They were right. That first manuscript deserved rejection.

I took that information and signed up for classes, and packets and Margie Lawson’s Deep Immersion Class. ( I took that information and applied it to my manuscript, and you know what? Its better now. And I’m back to sending it back out. And if it gets rejected this time, I’ll take another look at what I’m doing. Not every rejection is an opportunity for a re-do, but maybe everyone should at least examine if they need to change something. And if you are getting rejected multiple times, well, maybe its time to fix something. Try something different.

Try a new resume format, or change your interview clothes. Change your profile on that dating site. Or stop dating the same type of guys. Try something different. Take a risk. A calculated risk. One that takes you in the direction of success, or at least one that you think might be the direction of success.

So it turns out that I’m an optimist. And you can be too. Repeat after Tom Hopkins and you too will win. Sales is for everyone and for every endeavor. And okay, even if you aren’t selling yourself or a product, you are trying for success. And you can only get that if you fail and get up again. You can read it in almost any successful person’s bio. They all failed. They all were rejected. They all got depressed.

Then they picked themselves up and got going in a new direction. Remade themselves and became successful. Optimism works. Give it a try.

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