Every “no” is one step closer to a “yes.”

That’s a little motto my producer father taught me. And he knew. He proved that “get up off the mat  and hit ’em again” works.

My dad’s motto is more than a lesson in persistence; it is a mathematical certainty, and a spiritual one. It means there are x number of “no’s” between you and victory, so why not get through them?

And do so with a smile?

Why not look at that “pass,” that “no thanks,” that “sorry, we already have something like it” as getting closer not farther away from your goal. We are closer every time we even assay the field.

I love this philosophy. It helps me stay in the game when a string of “no’s” urges me to quit. We are indeed getting closer each time out.

But we must also ask an important question: closer to what?

You say you are closer, but what does that mean?

What is your goal for today? What is your goal for this month? What is your goal for this year?

Are you getting closer to these goals, or do you have to re-tool, change goals, and figure out a new way?

We are half way through your best year ever! This is the year you succeed wildly. This is the year you become what you always wanted to be. This is the year, 2008, when all your dreams come true.

What does that look like?

Do you have a clear picture of what you’re wearing when the phone call comes? Have you picked out the pool that will be in the backyard of the house you buy with the proceeds from your amazing spec screenplay sale that everyone in town is talking about? Do you know what charity you’re going to give to with the money that comes flooding in your door — and maybe it’s not a bad idea to start tithing now?

The routine of pursuing our goals sometimes becomes exactly that — routine. We write x number of pages per day, send out x number of email queries per month, attend x number of meetings with our writers groups. All good. It’s the process.

Yet occasionally we must take a beat and look around. As we push toward our goal, let’s pause and assess exactly where we’re going.

Failure is not an option for us. We are here to succeed. We are here to get closer to our goals by becoming better in the face of a “no.”  And that alone is a “yes” I can proudly claim every hour of every day!

How is your year progressing? What is your assessment of how you’re doing — and what changes do you have to make either in your goals, or your approach to them, to make this year the best ever?

Mostly, what can we do to help? That’s also why we’re here. If you need help, ask for it. If you want feedback, get it. Ask for help. And ask for success. Say it out loud, and every “no” will become a “yes.”