Rejection is as much a part of life as acceptance. At times, more so. Sometimes, it’s the caveat that predicates our path to success. Oftentimes when I speak to budding entrepreneurs, or students, they assume that things come easy for me because I have reached, what they feel, is a great level of success. Though I have been blessed to have achieved some success; I am nowhere near my goal. Contrary to some of their beliefs, I still face a significant amount of adversity and failure every day. No great achievement comes without risk and failure. The sooner we accept that, the sooner we can truly start our path to success.
As some of you know, I have been on a search for space for the Charlotte office of William Wilson Clothing. I wasn’t looking for anything overly extravagant. I was looking for 300-400 sq. ft., near Uptown or in the Meyers Park/ Dilworth area. I had a budget in mind that I felt was fair, and I began my search. Oddly enough, I quickly found what I thought was a blessing from God. There was a space in the Charlotte Plaza Building, between Showmars and Starbucks that was perfect. I called the leasing agent, Mike Lucier of CB Richard Ellis, and scheduled an appointment to view the space. Turns out. it was an old florist shop, so there was a lot of pegboards on the wall and a tile floor. All I really needed from them was to lay down carpet, and return the walls to sheetrock, which would be necessary for anyone. Other than that, it was PERFECT! Great location, plenty of traffic, built in marketing, and the price was lower than I was looking for. This would have probably been his easiest lease of the year. Send me a proposal, let my lawyer look at it, I sign it, we’re in by Dec 1, and everyone is happy. No brainer, right? Not so fast my friend.
For whatever reason, I could not get him to send me a proposal. For weeks I emailed, called and texted him to send me a proposal. I even went so far as to email the owners of the building to see if they just didn’t want to lease to me, or if there was some other issue. I received a response saying that they did want to lease to me, and that I would receive some correspondence from Mike. The correspondence I received was I’d have something in a couple of weeks. That was in November. Til this day, I have received no proposal, lease agreement, or any other correspondence to advance this process. I was upset. I was disappointed. This was an ideal location and I could practically print my own money from that place. But for whatever reason, they rejected me, and my business. Thus began a long, annoying, arduous task of looking for a space. Though I found other prospects, none were what I was looking for. None of them made me say “WOW!” I eventually found a space that “would do” and was about to sign papers on it, when I called the agent to ask a question, I didn’t get a response. I emailed the next day. Same thing. “Here we go again”, I thought. This is ridiculous. ANOTHER rejection. So as I’m driving down the road, I see this sign against a building. I call it, not thinking much about it at the time. In fact, I’d seen the signs many times driving on that street. It was for a 640 sq ft space, which was more than I needed, and what I assumed would be out of my acceptable budget.
The agent, Jay Snover, called me and I met him the next morning at the building. I looked at the space. WOW! It was perfect. It was bigger than I needed, but not as much as I thought. They were about to lay down new carpet, and had painted the walls. I won’t go into the details of the negotiations, but let’s just say, they gave me FAR AND BEYOND what I was looking for, at half the price of the first building. In fact, this space will directly represent the brand William Wilson Clothing has grown to represent. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Now I understood why God kept allowing me to be rejected. He had something better in mind. And it was right in front of me all the time. By the way, I happened to be at the Charlotte Plaza Building the other day. The space is still available.
We are often discouraged by failures in our life. This is understandable. When you put your heart and soul into something, and it doesn’t work, it hurts. And sometimes it hurts really bad. I had lunch with a dear friend of mine, Nathan Krum, at the Speedway Club and he made the statement, “Sometimes man’s rejection, is God’s protection.” Though he was talking about another situation, it fit perfectly here as well. Quite often, our greatest joy will come after our greatest pain. Don’t fall for silly bravado like “Failure is not an option.” “All I do is win” and that foolishness. Failure and rejection is always an option. More often than not, it’s a possibility. But it’s what you do when you get rejected that defines who you are. Not the rejection. Believe in yourself. Stay strong. And stay prayed up. God will provide a way, out of no way. After all, “If God be for you, who can be against you.” (Rom 8:31) Until next time….
God bless and dress well,
William Wilson, CEO
William Wilson Clothing