Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rejection

I'm used to being told, "no," but it never gets any easier.
Two weeks ago I got invited to come to NYC to meet with Seth Godin to discuss an opportunity to spend six months working closely with him on what he termed an Alternative MBA.

Seth Godin was one of the first authors that I really devoured when I got into marketing. His insights always seemed clear & applicable. I remember spending days reading the archives of his blog. "Purple Cow" & "Permission Marketing" really effected me. And while I felt some of later books could be repetetive and a little heavy on anecdotes; I still consider him one of my favorite marketing-focused authors.

So with an opportunity presenting itself I booked a ticket for that upcoming monday.

When monday came, I hopped on a plane on at 6:00 am and made my way to NYC. After a 2 hour delay and a 2 hour entire flight sitting next to a crying child, I headed to the ASU loft where I was staying for the duration of my 3 day trip. App State has a place on E 24th & Park that alumni can sleep at for only $35/night, and since I was already sacrificing a lot for this trip I decided to stay at the loft for monetary purposed despite the communal arrangments & hostel-like atmosphere.

That night I went to bed quite early, and had a night of fitful sleep (communal sleeping is completely dependant on your bunkmates).

At 5:30 am I got up, readied myself and headed to Grand Central Station to take the 6:53 am train to Hastings-on-Hudson. Once there I met all the other applicants. It was a diverse group with some pretty remarkable people. Most were young, many were idealists, and almost all were looking for a new direction in their lives.

The meeting that morning was interesting. It included group interviews with everyone interviewing each other, and a one-on-one interview with Seth. Having interviewed with him many years ago for an internship I knew what to expect. 3 minutes one on one is all you get. He makes decisions based on his gut instinct when it comes to hiring and has always felt interviews are only there to confirm your initial impressions.

The details of the meeting and the program I can't go into (I signed an NDA), but he was basically looking to create a peer-learning environment of smart & focused individuals looking to change the world.

That afternoon several of us shared the train back to NYC, ate lunch & then went to the MET. It was snowing and a bit surreal to be traipsing around the city with people who I'd only met that morning. Conversation flowed easily even though everyone was exhausted.

We all parted ways and made half-hearted promises to keep in touch even if we didn't make the final cut. Out of the thousands of responses we were the final 20 people, and we all knew that it was likely that only a few of us would get the chance to take the next step.

Although, I wasn't even sure that the opportunity would really be worth the sacrifices I'd have to make -- I still wanted the chance to participate. It would provide a confirmation that Seth Godin thought I was remarkeable enough to take me under his wings, share his experience and teach me what he thought was important. I still remember the disappointment from the original rejection letter when I applied for an internship with him many years ago after I felt like I botched my phone interview.

When I opened my email this morning, and got the email that essentially said -- "It's not you. It's me." -- those feelings came back strongly.

Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter can be said to remedy anything. -- Kurt Vonnegut


So, tomorrow I go back to the real world and as the feelings of disappointment pass. I'll start to laugh again.

3 comments:

Tim said...

hey man... great to meet you. i do wanna keep in touch! hey, you know, it's all good in the end. to have gotten as far as we all did is a huge testimony to the fact of how amazing we all really are!

simple buddha said...

I for one will note that you are a remarkable person, regardless of what Seth said. His loss is my gain! Glad to have you around for the next six-months. I learn from you on a daily basis, so just keep your head up and rock on!

Megan M. said...

Why go back to the "real world"? What's the real world anyway? ;}

Are you on Triiibes yet? I'd really like to connect again. Our group has been super quiet and I'm trying to think up ways to get them talking about themselves. I had such a blast meeting y'all... ^_^