Last week I wrote about a business rejection that made a big impact on me— because it made me worry about the future of my business and whether or not I had the strength to keep going when the going got tough. But there was another rejection that really bothered me, in an entirely different way. It was an experience that I may never forget, and I wrote about it in Toughen Up.
This rejection happened during those early days of my business, when I was constantly busy setting up meetings, making connections and just generally working hard to get my business off the ground. I was meeting a man at his home to talk about what my business had to offer. I pulled up into his driveway, next to a car with a safety rejection sticker plastered on the window. I glanced up towards the house and saw a big satellite dish in the yard, and flickering images from a large TV in the living room window.
As I walked towards the door, I began to make connections in my mind:
- The owner of the vehicle obviously couldn’t afford to fix whatever problem had warranted the reject sticker—or else they would have had it done at the garage. As a result, the car couldn’t be used.
- I’ve noticed a strange trend over the past few years. The bigger investment people make in their TV, the less money they seem to have. This man had made a pretty significant investment.
These two conclusions led me to make an assumption—this man needed to earn more money. Why else wouldn’t he fix his car? I wanted to help. I was welcomed into the home, and I spent some time talking with the man and his wife about what I had to offer.
Now, rejection is one thing, but nothing could have prepared me for his final response. He said, very matter-of-factly, “I don’t think there’s anything I want bad enough to do more work for.” I was floored. I wanted to blurt out, “what about the brakes on your wife’s car?” but I held my tongue and glanced over at his wife. When those words came out of his mouth, she paled. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more helpless look than I saw on her face that day. She was about eight months pregnant and she was still getting up every day and going to work. That woman was tough.
But despite her positive attitude, her spouse’s attitude—which featured a serious lack of self-discipline and focus—had caused her to lose her personal freedom. And although she was trying to push through, doing what she could for the family, the toll she was paying was written on her face that day.
I left the home feeling sad for the family. There was nothing I could do to help someone who didn’t want to work, and couldn’t recognize the needs of his family. And unless his attitude changed, his family’s situation would never improve.
I wanted to tell this story because it illustrates how critical it is to have a positive attitude. But even more than that, I wanted to express the kind of impact a negative attitude may have on your loved ones.