They said “No.”
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(As a visual person I’m sad to say that I have no photography relevant to this post, but here’s a flower to brighten your day.)
Almost 8 months ago I started this blog. For me it began as a creative outlet – mainly for photography. That’s why I blog, but that’s not what got me started. Something happened to tip me over the edge, to move me forward in starting the blog. Something triggered me to get going.
Something very simple.
Our children were getting older, more independent. I could see how, very soon, I would have more and more independence of my own too. And while it would be nice to think I could just waltz back into my old career, who’s going to hire a former art director that’s been a full-time stay at home mom for the past 11 years?
As a prior creative in advertising, I’m constantly thinking of tag lines, headlines, slogans, funny quips, jingles and visual puns. I secretly rate commercials. It’s what I do. Ideas for Saturday Night Live skits flow through my mind – like it’s my job or something.
And, believe me, I know I’m not alone. Creative people are everywhere. Everywhere.
So one day, about this time last year, when I had an idea for a Chick-fil-A cow commercial, it shouldn’t have been anything out of the ordinary. But it was a good idea.
So obvious and grand that I decided to contact one of Chick-fil-A’s ad agencies of record in Texas via email to share the concept.
Genius. The sheer brilliance.
That’s sarcasm people. I don’t make a habit of tooting my horn and haven’t contacted an agency for a job since quitting years ago, much less to tell them I’m a creative marvel. So what was I thinking? I was a stay at home mom. The last time I had been in a brainstorming session (with associates much more creative than me) was during the first trimester of my now 11 year old. I could barely admit to others in public that I liked to take pictures and now I’m contacting an ad agency to tell them I’m the bomb with a good idea?
All I can say is that when you hit 40 things change. A new kind of confidence (or carelessness) emerges.
I looked for the actual email exchange. I must’ve deleted it, but as I recall it went something like this…
Dear Oh Mighty Creative Ad Agency,
You don’t know me but I rock. I eat Chick-fil-A all the time and had a burst of creative inspiration whilst eating one of their tasty sandwiches last week. As a former art director I’m not just any Chick-fil-A eating numbskull who thinks they have a good idea. I actually have a good idea. An idea for a commercial with the cows.
Please contact me so I can share my great mind with you.
The marvelous mind of Amy
And their response…
Oh dear, Amy,
Thank you but we’re disinclined to acquiesce to your request.
(Yes, again sarcasm. I’m full of it.)
Of course I’m aware of all the advertising standards, policies, contracts, etc, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when I received a no. I understood and fully expected it. I’m sure they get crazies contacting them all the time.
But, still it was a good idea and I was frustrated. Angry even.
I began to stew about it. It churned my insides. Funny how it took someone saying “no, we don’t even want to hear what you think” to get me going. A conversation with myself ensued and continued over the course of weeks ’til I was convinced that they could suck it and I should open my own agency.
(For the record, I would never tell anyone to suck it. That’s just not very nice at all.)
Anyway, out of my frustration grew the desire to push past any barricade for my creativeness and do my own thing. Hence the blog, She Wears Many Hats, was born.
So thank you sweet lady from the ad agency in Texas who wouldn’t even listen to my idea.
Thanks. I now have a blog.
And not only do I have a creative outlet, but I’ve learned to spread my wings.
And yeah, my little ol’ blog is one of several hundreds of thousands, but it’s mine. Mine.
And it’s been fun – it’s made me look at every day with a different set of eyes.
And it’s made me push myself out of my comfort zone many times. It’s given me more confidence.
And while I’ll never call myself a writer (writers have editors, proofreaders, writers know how to always use perfect subject verb agreement), it’s given me a voice.
And most of all, very most of all, the one thing I never expected, is that it’s given me new friends, from everywhere. So many super, wonderful people I would’ve never met otherwise.
So thank you again advertising chick in Texas. I now have a blog, partly thanks to you.
(And I still have a great idea for a Chick-fil-A ad, so ha!)
So, tell me, what in your life has pushed you out of your comfort zone?
Or are you still stuck and need a little nudge?
Oh, Miss Hats. Maybe you don’t know it, but God spoke to you to post this today. I have, just this week, suffered a severe career rejection, my most severe to date. For days now, I have wallowed like I’ve never wallowed before. The tears have flowed and I’m not a tears-flowing kind of gal. My self-pity has been deep and profound. This post was exactly what I need to hear. Thank you.
GO, GIRL !!!
CHICK-FIL-A, You don’t know what you missed. Amy’s brillant if I say so myself. She makes a mother proud and I should know.
I love it! And, yes, the word “no” always opens another door. I am in the beginning stages of exactly where you were 8 months ago, and I have to say, the exhilaration is truly incomparable!
Thanks for putting it into words, and I love the sarcastic edge… really funny!
Amy, I so agree with you. Something happens at 40. . .confidence (or carelessness). It’s a good thing! And Chick-fil-A should listen to that 40-something confidence, if they know what’s good for ’em!
You rock and Chic-fil-A is making the same mistake as the guy from M&M/Mars who turned down the opportunity to use their candy in a little movie, maybe you’ve heard of it….E.T.?? 😉
You’ve got creativity coming out your….well, that might be TOO edgy. lol
I love reading your thoughts Amy. I’m so happy they said NO! 🙂 Now we get to enjoy you daily!
I feel like I’m always out of my comfort zone…talking out loud on my blog takes me out of my comfort zone, taking that trip a couple of weeks ago was really out of my comfort zone (I cringe to think of how my family saw me the night before I left…can we say WRECK?)
Last year I did my second triathlon…I have no business doing any kind of athletic sport like that…it gave me this idea that I actually was an athlete for a few minutes. Haha…
The list goes on and on…
Your flower makes me happy. 🙂 Happy weekend!
Amy, These people obviously don’t know greatness when it drops a brilliant cow idea in their email.
Similar story….full-time mom, kids grow up, “now what?”. I wanted to “journal”, and I was already in the process of taking full advantage of some “down time” to let the creative juices flow. No brilliant “Cow” ideas here, but loads of ideas…needed a place to put them. I get the “outside-the-box” feeling!! But, like you, the connections and new friendships are amazing. Brilliant, in fact.
It’s those contacts that keep me going. Thanks for being part of my process!
Well Amy, I have to say…you do much more for the world with this blog than you would ever do promoting a transfat-laden genetically modified fast-food sandwich. I’m glad they sent you that poorly worded reply. Now your talent is shared in a meaningful way and we enjoy every page of it. What’s jolted me out of my comfort zone? Being sick non-stop since September. Clawing my way back…we’ll see.
Just stumbled upon you after seeing you on one of your comments on Pioneer Woman. Your blog is awesome!
My moments happened like this:
1. Hubly get’s laid off.
2. 6 months later, still no job for EITHER of us.
3. Hubly dives back into his music career and it’s actually (gulp) taking off.
4. I get a job hanging out with a friend of mine’s elderly mother, who is awesome but naps often (the mom, not the friend…) and gives me tons of free time while I’m getting paid.
5. Began blog, about being a mom and musician’s wife.
p.s. being a writer is more of a thing you embrace than become…and you definitely don’t need an editor or publisher, any more than a musician needs a record label or a manager. If you have the gumption to do it, you are it, even if it’s all on your own with no one to mind your p’s and q’s but you!
pps: if the terrible grammar in my above comment doesn’t make you feel better about yours, I don’t know what will! “get’s laid off”???? goodness gracious…
I’m still stuck. Definitely.
Where are you stuck? Let’s talk.
I am one of those stuck people…I have never been one to rise to the challenge due to my upbringing from my mother who didnt want to see me fail so she convinced me to not do things…I am now close to 50, did a career change about 3 years ago and not sure if I made the right move due to the industry…I am not the real creative type so my narrow little mind doesnt seem to want to give me any good ideas of where to go from here…and then there is the fear of flying…
Hey blondewith brains!
I think as women we are bound by fear in so many ways, fear of being accepted, fear of embarrassment, fear of judgmental attitudes, fear of failure, fear of success…the list goes on and on.
I also think (not that I have any type of experience whatsoever in the realm of career counseling) that, if you haven’t already, you need to share this with other people that know you. Put yourself out there. Search your talents and passions and ask others what they think your talents and strong suits are. Even if it sounds like a stupid idea, share it with someone and take a chance. When I sent that email, as simple as it was, it stretched me a bit. I knew the possibility of a “no” was much greater than a “yes” but I did it anyway. Maybe next time it will be a “yes”…who knows.
Sorry to sound preachy. I know I don’t know you well enough to be giving any kind of advice but that was on my mind.
And oh yeah, we share the fear of flying but if I can do it, you can too. Don’t get me started on my irrational thoughts, etc. Here’s a post I did that may give a glimpse into my thought patterns regarding flying, but I do it anyway. Some things you can only see when you spread your wings. Yeah, cheesy huh? Here’s the link… https://shewearsmanyhats.com/2009/09/three-minutes-beehives-and-pac-man/
Keep me posted on everything!
Amy, mine was turning 50. A horribly scary thought that I never left my mark on the world drove me into a creative realm I never thought of before. Never mind the four beautiful children I brought into the world and the remarkable people whose lives I was sure to have touched. I just felt small and insignificant.
It burned a desire to start writing. I had never written a word of fiction before Nov 2008. Now I have my own blog and almost two books under my belt(not really publish material yet, but the effort is never wasted) and I discovered my camera again. I bless the Lord for this new lease on wonderful life.
I bet your idea did rock, just as your blog rocks! Keep at it, Amy, cause you’re going places! And, I’m going to enjoy watching!!
You’re too funny. But I would like to go somewhere where the water is blue and days are slow. That sounds pretty good to me right now.
Amy, How about the beach? Come on down… Your hammock awaits.
Wow, I am so with you. I think that it is often the “no’s” in life that force us to look in different directions.
In the past few years, I have gotten no after no. But the rejection opened me up to new possibilies that I had never considered. I like to think that I am now braver in areas more significant than changing my hairstyle (used to say I was only brave when it came to haircuts). Along the same lines as you, I have turned to blogging, baking & photography…and I love it.
Still stuck in a few areas, but I am hoping change will come soon.
I’ve been lucky to meet a few people in my life that have pushed me off the edge when I was too afraid. Every time they’ve pushed I’ve succeeded and was completely surprised… every single time. Whenever I freeze with fear all I have to do is reference to those few incredible moments in my life when I was 100% sure I couldn’t. Now I just surrender to life, try to be my own biggest fan and return a favor when I see someone in need. I think in a way your post is doing it for some of your readers and I think it is absolutely wonderful. Thank you and I am so happy for you, because I know how you feel 😉
So glad to have found your blog. This is my first visit, and I loved your post. I could completely relate to everything you said. I too have been home for eleven years, and the only person saying to no to me, is me. I’m working on it though, just figuring out what I want to say Yes to. Blogging has been a great outlet that is truly mine.
Oh that word “NO”. How it can light flame whether it be a creative one or a literal one 🙂 I love that it pushed your creative buttons. My story follows a like thread. Former artist, went to work so as not to be the starving artist plus children, stopped being creative, got laid off ten years later 🙁 Bummer. Being away from the 9 to 5 I guess cleared the fog from my brain and out came Tickled Red. It is my creative escape and fun place to go. The ideas are just a percolating…now if could only organize them all and see them through to fruition. Keep yours coming as well…I adore them 🙂 PS:Would love to hear your commercial idea one day.