"Patience is bitter, but the fruit is sweet." - Aristotle
Just over a week ago I screwed up big. So big in fact, that I almost ruined my chance with Success.
As in Success Magazine.
As in, the same Success Magazine that has featured the likes of Steve Jobs, Will.I.Am, Magic Johnson, Tony Robbins, Bill Gates, Martha Stewart, Jillian Michaels, Jaime Foxx and countless other huge names. Yup, that's the one.
Impatience almost slaughtered my chance of working with a widely respected brand that I had on my list of goals to accomplish this year.
This valuable lesson learnt, I just had to share.
Just over a week ago, I created a blog post fit for Success Magazine. I read it over, sure that it was a perfect fit for their audience, then pressed the send button on my pitch email to a managing editor there.
A day later she wrote back, advising that it had been approved and will be featured.
This should’ve been the point where I jumped for joy as I celebrated another goal for this year checked off my list. Problem was, by this point, the blog post had already been featured on the Huffington Post for a few hours and Success only accepts original content.
The Screw Up.
You see, I read on a blog post from another writer for Success that cold pitching (sending an email to an editor you have no relationship with in hopes that they’ll read and accept your work) is a no-no. I did it anyway.
Soon after pressing the send button however, I was plagued with doubt and impatience started to kick in.
“Will she read it?”
"Will she like it?"
“Is it good enough?”
“What if I didn’t give her enough background on who I am?”
“What if I gave her too much?”
“Will they post it right away?”
"What if it takes months to go live? "
“Screw it, I’ll post it on a site I already have a connection with.”
I doubted my abilities and lacked patience. Two things a Goal Chaser must never do.
Rather than walking away and giving it time, I immediately uploaded it on my contributor platform on the Huff Post site.
“They’d appreciate it. The key is to help as many Goal Chasers as I can with my message. The platform doesn’t matter.” I rationalized. “Besides, I want the post live immediately so I can share it in my weekly newsletter coming out in a few days.” I convinced myself that I had made a good decision.
The post went live later that day. I felt good.
The next day, I received an email from Success accepting my post and providing a PDF of guidelines.
Crap! What to do?
What’s in a Lie?
Should I try to erase the Huff Post article and pretend it never happened?
By this time, it had already been shared on Twitter and Facebook many times over – that wouldn’t be right. And if somehow the Success team found out in their research, the article wouldn’t be anywhere. It was an all-around bad idea. Next.
My dear friend Lamont always says it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission. With this in mind, I could’ve easily told her that I didn’t know that Success only accepted original content and apologize, hoping they’d accept it just this once.
I’d be lying though. I always do my homework, I knew everything about Success before cold-pitching them, including the fact that they only accepted original content. Next.
I could’ve told her that my editorial assistant screwed up and uploaded it to Huff Post for me thinking she was helping and by the time I found out, it was too late.
I could then provide her with a new article and apologize on behalf of my assistant. This way I wouldn't be blamed and I still have a shot with them. I seriously considered this one and had a good friend agree that this was the way to go. I thought about it a bit and decided not to use this excuse as it goes against everything I believe in.
I refuse to place blame on anyone else for my screw up, and sure as heck would not be comfortable placing it on an imaginary Editorial Assistant. I also despise excuses. Next.
I slept on it and decided to come clean. Remembering the words of Mrs. Smith, a former teacher of mine, echoing in my head. "Honesty is always the best policy".
My email went like this:
I have a confession, I didn’t think I was going to receive a response and actually uploaded the post, made for Success to Huff Post. My impatience has caused much grief over the weekend. I do know that Success only takes original content and have since created another post that I think is even better suited for Success readers. I hope that you will agree.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
[post for consideration was below message]
Much to my surprise the Success editor wrote back right away thanking me for the heads up and advising that she will review the post with her team in a meeting the next day and get back to me. She also noted that due to high demand, sometimes it can take up to two weeks before hearing back.
I sent her a Thank You email and promised myself to exercise patience and to wait at least a week before following up.
My nerves were on edge and my patience was well tested, however, four days later she got back to me accepting my new post. Whew, that was close!
"Everything will be all right in the end. If it's not all right, then it's not the end." - The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)
Thanks to my honesty, it ended up working out in the end, however, my impatience and doubt could’ve easily ruined my chance with Success.
Even the strongest of us, fall victim to doubt and impatience. We often take the comfortable route (in my case, Huff Post), rather than facing the unknown.
The key is to learn from each stumble and to walk stronger, in confidence that once we do all that we can, the best outcome will happen in divine timing.
After pushing hard and giving our all, we must take a step back to breathe and find enjoyment in the process. In the now. For even in failure, there are great lessons to be learnt.
Coincidentally, the post that caused all the fuss was all about the fear of failure, you can read it here.
I hope my vulnerability shows you that you are not alone. I hope it shows you that we all, at some point, have doubts and struggle with impatience.
Has your impatience ever caused you grief? I'd love to know all about it.
How do you deal with the “I want it now” syndrome?
Goal Chasing is a team sport, so do share your thoughts in the comments below.