Don’t Disqualify Yourself

Have you ever talked yourself out of doing something because you figured it wouldn’t work anyway?

Have you ever wanted to approach someone but figured they’d shoot you down, so why bother?

Have you ever wanted to do business with a person or company but figured they would never work with you? Or you decided you weren’t good enough to work with them?

How often do we strike out before ever picking up the bat?

We fear rejection. It seems to be a common human trait. But it’s one thing to have someone reject you and it’s another to reject yourself.

I was 19 years old and I had to get a summer job in between college semesters. I saw an ad in the paper from AT&T. They needed relay operators for the hearing impaired.

The qualifications listed had a lot to do with being able to type at high speeds. I was a very fast typist, so I decided to apply for the job. The ad said they had 6 positions to fill.

The ad also said to show up at a hotel on a certain day and time for the interview. So I went to the hotel at the appointed time and was sent to a ballroom.

A ballroom? I thought. Kind of a big room just to do a one-on-one interview.

When I arrived at the room, there were hundreds of people there. When I got to the sign in table I said, “Are all these people here for the relay operator positions?”

The lady said, “Yes, we’ve got 400 applicants.”

All the air whooshed out of my lungs. I looked around and saw people wearing suits, and people holding resumes, and people who were old… like in their 40’s! ;)

And the thought that popped into my head was, “Oh man, there’s no way I’m getting this job. Look how many people there are! I’m just a kid. These guys must have decades of experience.”

I actually turned on my heel and started to walk out of the hotel, back to my car.

Then a little voice in the back of my head said, “Go back. Don’t give up.”

It was commanding. I decided maybe it would be a good experience to know what it was like to apply for a job with a huge company. So I grudgingly went back inside.

I sat down at one of the tables, surrounded by hundreds of other people. A guy came to a microphone and said the following, “First you will be given a test. The top 50 people will then be asked into the second stage of the interview process.”

They passed out tests. It appeared to be a standard intelligence test. I took the test, turned it in and waited.

After about an hour, they read the names of the 50 people who were to remain while the others were told to go home.

My name was called. I made it into the next round!

They took the 50 of us into a room where we saw a bunch of typewriters set up. There was also a dictaphone and headsets. We had to put the headphones on, hit “play” and type what we heard as fast and as accurately as possible.

My typing speed came in at 92 words per minute with 98% accuracy. I didn’t know if that was good enough to get the job.

They read the names of 20 people who were to be invited into a private interview. My name was called.

I couldn’t believe it. I started to believe I actually had a chance at getting this job.

When I did my interview, there was a panel of 6 executives asking me questions. I was so scared. I was young and had never had an interview like this. My hopes began to fall again. Surely the other people in the room knew how to nail interviews. All I knew how to do was be a teenager.

We all waited in the hallway, and finally a guy came out and read out the 6 names of those who would get the job.

My name was called. I was shocked. In 5 hours, I had gone from believing I had no chance to actually getting one of the six positions. Out of 400 people.

And that’s the day I learned that you don’t know until you try. That you should never disqualify yourself or be afraid to go after something you want. Because you never know.

Ask yourself now if there’s something you want that you’re too afraid to ask for.

Ask yourself now if there is someone you want to approach or work with and you’ve been too scared to make the attempt.

Ask for what you want. Who knows? You might get it!

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