I used to get distressed if I was working on something in business or getting into a conversation, and then things just dropped off. I worried that I screwed up or did something wrong. Maybe whoever I was talking to hated me, even?
But no, it's not like that. Nobody hates you. Everyone's just busy, and people you're looking to work with are probably more busy than normal -- after all, you found out about them and want to work with them, meaning they're doing something cool, which makes them more busy than normal.
When you don't get a reply from someone or something falls off, it's usually not because people hate you. They most likely didn't judge you harshly. Probably they just got busy. I've got emails and calls to return from people I really like and know pretty well that I haven't returned yet, because I've got a long list of other stuff to do too. Everyone at least somewhat busy has stuff like that.
That doesn't mean you give yourself a pass on whatever it is -- if you write interesting compelling emails or calls, if you get introduced through someone trusted and well-known, and you can find a way to stand out and make it really interesting right away (not always easy!), then you've got a better shot.
But, even then. People are busy, things drop off. Nobody judged you harshly; nobody even cares. Followup a few more times. Or contact someone else. But don't get down on yourself. People are busy, and you've got to followup with them a bunch to get things done. It's just how things are and is no reflection on you. No reason to feel bad. You just hustle some more.
Always good to keep this in mind. And I'd add the corollary that if you're engaged in negotiations, lack of response doesn't necessarily mean that they are rejecting your offer. I'm in the midst of restructuring one of my businesses right now. I've had to really rein myself in a few times to avoid going back with a lower offer just because I haven't gotten a response. It never pays to be needy.
Well, this is embarrassing. Day Two of my "Most Productive 90 Days Ever" was off the rails. I'll share why it happened to the best of my understanding, along with some best practices on what to do during bad days (some of which I abided, some I broke).
Here was my "the night before" plan for yesterday --
Wake around noon Morning routine, modafinil, etc. Write observations from yesterday on blog
1PM: Prepare questions I'm trying to learn and things I want to understand about the nonprofit space. Go through my email, reply call or write to everyone who responded, call people who were out of Beijing when introduced. Ask questions and/or invite to lunch next week.
Okay, I've almost got all my email inboxes almost empty now.
I get a ton of mail. I hired an assistant and automated some of it, and I still get a ton of mail. More than I can answer normally.
I'm gradually building more systems, both technology, decisionmaking, and people to process all of this, because I have opportunities worth a lot of cash, a lot of cool stuff, and a lot of ability to connect with interesting people sitting in my inbox. At any given time, there's probably 3-4 very interesting things buried in the dozens of mails I get.
And I also get a kick out of helping people. I like getting and answering questions when I can.
But then I realized, one particular type of questioning makes me cringe, and I dont want to write back to people that write like that.