Don’t Stop Until You Get Your Yes

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”- Charles R. Swindoll

What’s worse than rejection? Multiple rejections. Do you know what’s worse than multiple rejections? Giving up too soon and knowing you could have tried a little harder. Four years ago, I was in Montreal with my friend for New Year’s weekend. I was so excited. We went out to a Salsa Club on December 30th and we had an amazing time! Nobody recognized me. So no one knew that I run a dance school. Thus there was no pressure. And so when everyone asked, “Where are you from?” I simply replied; “Toronto. You should come to visit.” It was a great first night in Montreal.

On New Year’s Eve, we went out dancing again. We were even more excited. We went into the club and it was packed! I looked at my friend; “We are going to have such an amazing night!”

Then my eyes adjusted to the darkness. I looked at my friend again. “We are going to have a horrible night!” In a sea of 150 people, probably about 127 of them are men. You can do the math. The women were never going to get a break from dancing. And most of the men were going to be waiting around for a dance, just drinking and feeling sorry for themselves.

I got one dance before someone else swooped in and took my partner away. It was ridiculous. I could not find another partner. My friend was smart. He found a partner and then just kept asking her to dance over and over again. He kept asking her questions – by the end of the night, he knew her whole life story – her grandma, her favourite foods, her allergies. At least he was dancing.

After about 45 minutes of frustration and boredom, I decided that I had to change my approach. I didn’t care who I danced with. So I decided I was going to ask a guy to dance. After all, I can follow!

Then a little self-doubt crept in. In Toronto, people know me, but here they don’t. What if I get rejected? But immediately, I gave myself a little pep talk. “It’s fine. You run a dance school! Who would reject you?”.

So feeling more confident, I approached this super tall guy, and I looked up and said, “Hey, man, do you want to dance? I can follow.”

And he bent his neck down to look at me and said, “What?” I thought he couldn’t hear me because it was loud in the club, so I repeated myself. He looked down with disdain and said “No, I heard you. Keep walking.”

It was such a painful gut punch! But I said to myself, “Dude, it’s just one rejection. Who cares? You run a dance school!” As I was walking to the next guy, he saw me approaching and immediately just waved me away as he said “I heard you ask the other guy. I don’t want to dance with you.” So I walked towards a third guy and he didn’t say anything. He panicked and ran to the washroom.

Seven no’s and seven rejections in, I feel like garbage. My night has been soured and I’m frustrated and unhappy. It doesn’t matter that I run a dance school. All that matters right now is that I don’t feel like I belong in this club. I waved my friend over who was still dancing with the same girl 2 hours in, and I said, “I’m going to take an Uber. I’m going to celebrate New Year’s in my room. Don’t worry about it.”

Walking to the coat check, I felt like I had lost. That’s it. My New Year’s Eve was over. Now, this is where the story could have ended, but something incredible happened. As I was about to hand my ticket in to get my coat, I got angry.

I could not let my night end like this. So, I put the coat check ticket back in my pocket and headed back out to the dance floor. I was determined that I was not leaving until I danced with one guy. The girls didn’t even matter to me anymore. It was the principle. All the guys had rejected me and I was going to get my dance.

And so I found the flashiest guy in the club. He had his shirt unbuttoned with his chest exposed, a big gold chain and cologne I could smell from the other side of the room. But his energy was bright. “Hey, man, do you want to dance?” Before he could reply, I said, “I promise you I’m a great follower.” He paused and looked me up and down, assessing me. I did some micro-body waves, trying to sell myself. He didn’t say anything, but he grabbed my hands behind me, and triple-turned me onto the dance floor! The dance was incredible – he dipped me, and we were spinning and flowing. We were tearing up the dance floor, it was crazy! People around us were smiling and they stopped dancing and watched us instead. That was my best dance from the whole time I was in Montreal. I later found out that he runs a dance school in Montreal.

So here’s the thing. The story would have been very different if I stopped on the third no or the fifth or the seventh. And what I’ve learned is when someone says no, it doesn’t mean you can’t have it, or shouldn’t have it. It just means they won’t be there celebrating when you get your yes. So don’t stop until you get your yes. 

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