Using Story to Turn “No” to “On”

Coauthor of the Chicken Soup For The Soul series, Mark Victor Hansen

Coauthor of the Chicken Soup For The Soul series, Mark Victor Hansen

How do you overcome being turned down 144 times? Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield faced this tsunami of rejection when they sought publishers for their book, Chicken Soup for the Soul. He and Canfield had both built successful speaking careers by telling inspirational, motivational and uplifting purposeful stories. They had proof of process that stories can change lives, and they wanted to tell this through a book of 101 powerful tales of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

The mantra that made all the difference, Mark told me was to always turn “no” to “on” which came from a story told to them by billionaire and former presidential candidate, Ross Perot, who wrote the forward for their manuscript. When Perot asked if they had a publisher, Hansen replied that they had been rejected by a few and were still trying to decide how many to approach.

Perot laughed and said what mattered was “any,” not “many.” Perot told his own story about forming EDS with a $1,000 loan, proudly declaring that he was turned down 77 times before winning his first contract. But that contract was worth $4 million. “I amortized those rejections along with the win and it came out to a remarkable $80,000 a piece.”

That story motivated Hansen and Canfield to realize that every rejection offers an opportunity to learn, refine, and improve your story and the way you tell it. Since publishing Chicken Soup for the Soul, sales of its books and merchandise have reached $1.3 billion.



blog-telltowin-linkTo validate the power of telling purposeful stories, Guber includes in this book a remarkably diverse number of ‘voices’ – master tellers with whom he’s shared experiences. They include YouTube founder Chad Hurley, NBA champion Pat Riley, clothing designer Norma Kamali, “Mission to Mars” scientist Gentry Lee, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, former South African president Nelson Mandela, magician David Copperfield, film director Steven Spielberg, novelist Nora Roberts, rock legend Gene Simmons, and physician and author Deepak Chopra.
After listening to this extraordinary mix of voices, you’ll know how to craft, deliver – and own – a story that is truly compelling, one capable of turning others into viral advocates for your goal.