Put yourself in the shoes of the person you are asking or seeking help

I’ve written or called hundreds of people during my career who have never written back or returned my call. I’ve learned that people are often overwhelmed and overcommitted, and therefore unable or unwilling to help me.

Instead of feeling defeated, I try to focus instead on how grateful I am that many other people have returned my calls or answered my letters.

Many years ago, I wanted to get in to see a certain professional and was told that I couldn’t because he wasn’t taking any new clients. I persisted, but never succeeded. Finally, I spoke to the receptionist in an impatient tone and said, “Look, I really need to see him. Isn’t there anything you can do?” she responded to me in a very calm and respectful manner. Her words were, “I’m truly sorry, but the doctor has a three-year waiting list. He works six days a week, twelve hours a day, and hasn’t had a vacation in over five years. He’s doing the best he can, but he too would like to have a life.” His schedule put my own busyness into better perspective.

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