Over the past couple of months we’ve been talking to an organization about a sizable milestone event that they’re hosting next year. From the onset I felt like we were a good fit for the project, but the bid process played out in a fairly standard capacity. We submitted an initial proposal, we pitched, we revised our proposal, we pitched a second time, and then we waited for the news. Along the way we learned more about the program and developed a better relationship with the clients, and I continued to feel more and more strongly that Sequence was the right partner. Business development is always something of a roller coaster, but when this process finally came to an end last week I felt considerably more drained than usual. I got to thinking about why what was.
As a business owner you don’t drink the Kool Aid. You are the Kool Aid. There is no one that feels the sense of pride in your business like you do. I want Sequence to get hired because our team has a passion for events, because the projects are almost always interesting, and because I want the company to be successful. At the end of the day though, what I really want is for other people — people on the outside looking in — to see the same greatness that I see. When a prospective client makes a decision on whether or not to hire you, they’re essentially letting you know if they can see that greatness. Confirmation can feel triumphant, but you learn not to rest and instead set out to prove them right. Rejection can feel demoralizing, but you learn to use it as fuel to keep improving and set out to prove them wrong. The truly difficult time though is the waiting — when you’re not sure what people see — angst that’s only amplified when you happen to be feeling confident. (Why aren’t they sure if they see it? They should see it! I see it SO clearly!)
As it was in this case, getting the news that we were hired always helps re-energize you for the next journey. The next story may or may not have as happy of an ending, but to a certain extent that’s out of your hands. All you can really do is continue to strive for greatness, embrace the ride, and keep on spreading the Kool Aid.