Yesterday I was sitting outside at a restaurant downtown. As I waited for my food to arrive, I couldn't help but listen to two woman next to me. They were talking about clothes and at first I thought they were planning their fall outfits. Diligent to be talking about corduroy during an Alabama July. But then I realized that one was coaching another through selling a line of women's clothing through a multi-level-marketing approach. That's what they call it these days, right?
I don't have anything against these businesses so that's not what this is about -- any opportunity that helps a lady pay the bills and build a life is great -- if that's what it does.
What fascinates me is the narrative, one that I got to hear while eating my salad.
"I don't know if I can do it" -- clothing lady #1
"You CAN do it. You are going to call 20 people and may get 19 no's, but you will have one yes! Then call every single person you know. Your coworkers. Your husband's friends. Your church friends. Your kids' parents." Damn, that exhausted me just listening to it.
But I don't sell clothes from a catalog.
I sat there thinking about the outfit that I was wearing, that cost about $25, including shoes. Bea Arthur chic as I liked to refer to it -- oversized blazer, shift dress, ginormous beads and shoes that reminded me of my late grandmother.
What would I call 20 people about? What would I take 19 no's for?
Lots of things, I guess. I'd made a million calls to get the right story. To solve problems for my family. To ask for help for someone else.
So maybe I'm not different than the clothing catalog ladies, calling not because they deeply care about fall trends, but for their own, deeply personal reasons. Maybe they are making 20 calls to advocate for themselves.
We don't make a lot of phone calls anymore, so the phone call thing is even more loaded. So, what would I make 20 calls for today?
What would you?