“I was looking to get a regular performing gig set up in Philadelphia,” I told my friend as we walked along South street back in 1999. “So I spent the entire day on Saturday collecting no’s.”
“What do you mean?” She asked.
“Well in business I have heard that you need to reach out to 10 potential customers every day in order to get one who will sign up for what you’re selling. I have also heard that if you try to get 10 of those to say a flat out no, that it’s harder than you think and it becomes like a numbers game.”
“That’s funny,” she giggled.
“Yes,” I admitted. “I was determined to leave my materials with 10 places and I did. I don’t know if they will be interested or not, but I feel unattached to the outcome and just proud of myself for trying.”
“That’s great,” said my friend, who is a good friend.
“Why don’t you go into the Starbucks and try?” She suggested.
So we walked in to the Starbucks at 4th and south and I asked the barista if they ever had entertainment. She quickly deferred to her manager, Steve.
I stood there and pitched Steve on my talents as a comedian. “I do funny characters, and could just work for tips.”
“No, you can’t work for tips here,” Steve broke it to me. I was about to chalk it up to another no when he added “I can pay you to entertain the customers though.”
And there it was! A regular comedy gig in Philadelphia twice a month. I used the venue to develop and try out new material. I even got a feature in a newspaper about my performing there which led to a spot on the local ABC chat show. It was an ideal gig and a great transition to bigger venues which could sometimes be a cold impersonal environment such as a casino. After performing for strangers of all kinds I gained a stronger stage presence. I got better and better at that venue, and got paid to boot.
If we shift our focus to being unattached and just trying to get those no’s we can gain results that surpass expectation or anything we might have dreamed up for ourselves.