Man, I've been told "No" so many times in my life! I'd love to hear what your reaction is when you hear a "No"? I'll share some of the toughest "No's" I've heard and share some of the outcomes and would love to hear how you've handled your "No's" - different perspectives welcome!
So the first "No" I remember was when I tried out for my high school tennis team. I had never taken any lessons and my game was not technically sound so I got a private coach my sophomore year. Unfortunately, my high school coach didn't like the way my private coach taught me and said I probably would not make the team.
So... I hustled and I got on the team as a bench warmer. I was on the bench for most of the season and that really bothered me because I knew I could compete with some of the players out there. That following summer, I worked hard and took lessons from my private coach and doubled up with lessons at summer camp with my high school coach as well.
I tried out for the varsity team my senior year. And I made #1 doubles and went on to CIF (the playoffs) that year. That was one of the first "No's" that I was able to turn to a "Yes" and it reinforced the power of grit.
My second big "No" happened as I was graduating college. I had applied to big consulting firms and investment firms. In the process, I sought mentorship one of my older distant cousins. He was a Wall Street portfolio manager and he reviewed my resume. His conclusion: I would probably not get a job in finance and that I should probably just look elsewhere. Brutally honest, but I still applied and got some bites in consulting and other opportunities.
One opportunity that came along was for sure a long shot and it was with a prestigious financial firm. 500 applicants for 1 slot. I made the second cut and then went in for the final 3rd round interview. As I looked around, I saw students from UCLA, Stanford and other Ivy league schools. One kid literally had a quantum physics book. I laughed to myself and said there's no way I'm getting this job so I went in totally relaxed knowing for sure that it was not in the cards for me - my brutally honest cousin was probably right.
I was finishing the last round of interviews and ran into someone on the trading floor that had interviewed me in the first two rounds. I told her I had just come out of the final exam and wasn't feeling good about my prospects. She laughed. Told me I already had the job and this was JUST a formality. Did not expect that one. That was my second major experience with "No", but it just felt like the universe had given me that one. Sometimes, you just got to trust the process.
Now, this is the most important "No" I changed to a "Yes" - marriage and a kid. The moment I met Amy, I knew I wanted to be in her life. She shut me down from the moment I met her because we met at a wedding and it was a family affair. This wasn't a place she wanted to meet someone - too cliche maybe. She'll tell you some hilarious other reasons - apparently, my dancing and suit game was too LA for her. That night I met her, I told her we would be together, she would move from Chicago to LA and the rest would be history. There was a little liquid courage there - Indian weddings typically have an open bar. Needless to say, she moved to LA in a year, we got engaged on 11/12/13 and married on 5/9/15. Easy.
Well, it was easy when compared to the journey of trying to have a kid, but everyone (including professionals) told us it would be so chill. We got a lot of "Yes" this time around because we were young (relatively) and therefore it would be easy. So we tried and tried - ultimately had to see multiple doctors, undergo many treatments and procedures. All while working full-time in very demanding careers. Fortunately, we were able to afford the best care and she was able to take a little time off to focus on our family.
Kacen Radev Sharma was born on 2/13/18 and turns one next month.
Another "No" I got was when I left PennyMac (REIT) as a Director / FVP to build a new business at Western Asset. Everyone told me it would not be possible and that the business didn't exist and therefore could not be built. Long story short, I built a $1bn portfolio. It took everything out of me, but I did it. It would be unfair if I said I did it myself and I had a great team behind me and great mentorship in my boss. But that stress combined with trying to have a kid and then... losing my friend to suicide all within a year, I knew I needed to try something new. #signs
The last "No" I received was when I left Western Asset to go build OOTify. I'm still getting "No's" here and there, but I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone that has given me a "Yes" - my wife, my parents, my sister, my team, my mentors and my investors. I invested in the business, my family invested in the business, my team invested in the business and professional investors believed and continue to believe in my ability to build OOTify. Sending me relevant articles, making introductions and just being awesome. #karma #payitforward
Thank you to my investors past and current for being kind and always there when I have a quick question or just want to chat. Special thank you to Fadi at Tidecrest Capital, Smita Bagla and the rest of the TiE Angels (most recently, Abhi Mahule @ Roku), Joe Andrea, Michael Rivera at USC, Daniel Koffler at K3, Santhosh Devati at Anamika Ventures, and the entire Nex Cubed team. And all the others that have participated - ya'll know who you are and I appreciate you. #venturecapital #angels #thankyou
Finally, I thank our Providers, our members and the entire mental health community for everything that they do on a daily basis. They face many "No's", but continue to persevere. #community
I hope that seeing some of the battles I've fought, you'll share one of your "No" turned "Yes" experiences. Trust me, I've got some more where that came from! Some "No's" that never resulted in "Yes's" too, but I choose not to dwell on those and just be thankful for those that that support me and trust the process. I also try to give as many "Yes's" as I can to those that deserve it or otherwise would not have had an opportunity because that's when you can bring out the best in folks.
What "No" have you heard lately? Is it worth fighting for? You know where I stand, but would love your views. Share them on ootify.com/thefabric on any thread you feel comfortable! #ootify
Final note: if you have any thoughts on how we can make OOTify better so we can succeed in improving mental health in our community, we will say "Yes" to do our best to incorporate your feedback, if and where appropriate. Email us at email@example.com! Thank you