Delay is Not Denial
In a recent interview on NPR, Cathy Hughes describes how she became the owner of one of the biggest African American owned businesses in the country, Radio One. She said one way she obtained her success was never taking “no” for an answer. Ms. Hughes was determined to own her own radio station. Her dream began as a young girl in the 1950’s. Growing up in Omaha, Nebraska, people thought she was crazy and her idea was just a pipe dream.
While attending the University of Nebraska, she began working for a radio station. Later, in 1978, she decided she would not just work for one, but she would own one. It just so happened around that time a large radio station was selling, so she proceeded to put a bid on it.
The odds of success were stacked against her: She was a woman, she was black, some of the other bidders included the Senator as well as Muhammad Ali- and she needed one million dollars.
That did not stop her.
She went to thirty two lending institutions attempting to obtain the million dollar loan and thirty two times she heard “no”. But she was persistent. Eventually, after thirty two no’s, one bank said “yes”. She won the bid and went on to be one of the wealthiest African American women in the United States.
Many times in life, we fail to move because of the obstacles that stand before us. Fear is paralyzing. Some of the best advice I received recently was from a gentleman who was advising me on something I was trying to make a decision on. He said “don’t count yourself out”.
Even through Ms. Hughes’ bravery of facing the obstacles before her, the level of rejection she faced should have defeated her. It took two years and thirty two “no’s” before her dreams became a reality. Even then, she did not obtain overnight success. It took years for her to pay down debt and grow her business. But she believed in herself even when no one else did. Her own husband walked out on her because he didn’t believe her dream would ever take off.
How many “no’s” are you willing to hear before giving up? I know for me, usually once or twice is enough to quit. Rejection is a hard thing to overcome. When people walk out on you because they don’t believe in you, do you keep going or do you freeze in fear and become complacent?
In my opinion, Ms. Hughes is the living breathing manifestation of Romans 5:3-4:
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. (NKJV)
We associate the word “no” as a negative connotation; failure and defeat. But every time we hear “no” and we lose hope and give up, our lack of perseverance is a direct reflection of our character.
Guy Raz, the interviewer, asked Ms. Hughes what made her keep going back to lending institutions after all that rejection? She said her father was an accountant so she understood the Law of Averages. I had to look this up to fully understand her comment.
The Law of Averages is the principle that supposes most future events are likely to balance any past deviation from a presumed average.
Okay, let me give it to you in layman’s terms- it’s essentially a belief that a rare occurrence will happen given enough time. Ms. Hughes went on to say “keep asking and a yes has to come up!”
We are to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). When God says “no”, we have to remember that DELAY IS NOT DENIAL. Keep asking and believing until you get your yes!
We cannot live our life in fear of failure. We’ve all heard Luke 12:48, to whom much is given, much is required. Luke 16:10 goes on to say “whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…” You have to step out on faith, show God that he can trust you, and you have to trust him, for whatever you are asking for.
The interview closed with Guy Raz posing this question: “what kept you going?”
She responded, “A belief in God. Because when you really believe in God, you can believe in yourself.”
Thank you for joining me in my journal to Finding Grace…
Enjoy the journey