How Much Rejection Can You Take Before Getting a Yes?


As I listened to the radio interview with Cordia Harrington, I was surprised by her tenacity. While trying to get MacDonald’s to allow her to bake buns for the company, she was rejected 33 times. Today The Bun Company, bakes more than a 1,000 buns a minute for McDonalds, KFC, Pepperidge Farms among others and is one of the most dynamic business in Tennessee. I have played that interview in my mind over and over the past few days. I have become convicted of, well, my lack of conviction. After all, how many times do I need to be rejected before I give up? That number is smaller than you might think.

How much rejection are you willing to take before getting a yes

The implications of such “sticktuiviness” goes way beyond sales. My concern goes deeper than being rejected by a potential client or not getting the deal that I wanted. My dilemma lies in how willing I am to give up when I don’t get my way, right away. Much like the disposable world we live in where replacement is often cheaper than repair, I’m afraid that at the first sign of rejection, we’re ready to walk away from

a friend who has not reciprocated properly

an employee who has not performed well

a marriage that has not fulfilled our needs

writing a book

a son who has disappointed

a partner who has not pulled his weight

a church that has not entertained us

a parent who has not loved us enough

a small group that has not accepted us

a daughter who has chosen poorly

a career that has not taken off

Cordia was rejected 33 times until she got her “yes” so she could bake bread. Do I have half of her tenacity? A third? Even a tenth?

How much rejection will you take for something you are passionate about? What would that be?

  • Dailygrace1

    Maurilio, this lady sure was persistent! Do you think this “tenacity” could be used with God?…

    • Imagine what we could accomplish for God if we have her tenacity in matters of our faith?

      • I completely agree! As a business owner, I constantly participate in leadership trainings, and I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we applied so many of the principles we learn in business to our walk with Christ. It’s challenged me to the point that I make sure I don’t have a week that goes by where I tell more people about my business than I share Christ with!

      • There is the parable of the persistent woman before the godless judge…

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  • I think sometimes God uses circumstances (such as rejections to our plans) to turn us in a new direction, to “save” us from ourselves, and so on. I gotta say that after the 3rd or 4th “no,” I think I would have believed it was God’s message that that was not his plan for me. I so often want to control my own life and operate within my own selfish parameters that I guess I sort of “rely” on circumstantial validation or circumstantial disintegration as a way God communicates his will to me. I don’t know. How does one discern and listen for the Holy Spirit’s leading in the middle of rejection?

    • Anonymous

      That is a really deep question, Mary. For me, I would have to lean heavily on wise counsel, fellowship, prayer and just being deep in His Word. Honestly, I’ve never experienced a period of extreme rejection. But, in the hard times, He has always made Himself known to me, even if it was in a very tiny detail-He never let me go or never let me forget He was with me. And, I just kept turning back to Romans 8:28-He works all things together for the good of those who love Him.

    • That’s a tough one. But a lot of truly great accomplishments have come from people who were told “this is not possible” and, against all odds, tried and tried until they made it work. I’m sure there’s a point that we all should walk away, but I have a feeling that point is much further in than where most of us are willing to go.

  • “Never, never, never quit.” -Winston ChurchillnI think I depend on the approval of others too much and need to relentlessly pursue dreams.

  • Maurilio, I can’t give you a decent numerical answer to the question. All I know is that somehow I keep getting back up from the mat every time I get knocked down. And it’s been decades since the referee raised my hand at the end of the fight. But I keep getting up. And I keep going into the next round.

  • I’m not sure about a number, but I ended up in a sales job right out of college and learned early on that even if you are rejected every day for a year, you keep going back in. Eventually, even the hardest clients to crack will say yes, if you just keep at it.

    • I friend who is in sales for IBM used to tell me that things didn’t get fun until he got rejected at least 3 times.

      • haha – yea, I could see that as being true. It really is the best feeling in the world when you finally get someone to take you up on what you are selling after they have constantly rejected you.

  • Anonymous

    I really like how you took this woman’s story to a whole different level. I’m much more likely to chuck something than “repair” it. Your post also got me thinking about doubt…the minute we begin to doubt something, like God-we think it’s high time to walk away.

    • This post was supposed to go somewhere else when I began writing it, but in true writing fashion, it wrote itself into a whole difference thought.

  • I was in sales before answering the call to ministry. My seminary experiences were incredible, but a career in sales before ministry taught me just as much and many things I never would have known otherwise – especially about pressing through rejection and finding the right “yes” to make things happen. LY

    • Maurilio Amorim

      And no matter what we do, we are all in sales–specially those in ministry.

    • No matter what our titles are, we are all in sales–and that’s specially true for those in ministry. Thanks for the comment, Larry.

  • This is the stuff of legends Maurilio! Where are you getting this wisdom? You’re too young and handsome to have this kind of knowledge. OK, maybe you’ve had a bit of experience. But you’re still handsome….can I have your Mercedes? No? Can I have your Mercedes? No? Can I have your……

    • Flattery will get everywhere with me. And yes, you can have the Mercedes. You just have to earn it. 🙂

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