I used to think I was weak n’ needy for wanting my “big break.” I dreamed of being discovered. I toyed with the willingness to enter some Svengali deal where an agent dude or silver foxy dada would see my raw talent and shape me into a formidable star–a fresh new voice on the scene. I longed for Someone Really Important to give me a Yes that would change my life.
One day, that Yes came.
My first literary agent is one of the most powerful people in the business. With an agency roster like Malcolm Gladwell, Al Gore, Camille Paglia, Michael Moore, Jane Fonda, Anderson Cooper, even Danielle Steel… publishers and producers trip over themselves to take her call. The day she signed me, my life changed. I was in bed for the teleconference. 10am EST, 7am PST. It was snowing out. She was extolling the merits of the book proposal, and in my state of stunned glee, I had to interrupt. “May I ask a question?” I said. “Does all this meaning that you’re taking on the project?”
She laughed. “Yes!”
I had it. It felt like someone had lifted the red velvet curtains to my heart. I hung up the phone and cried. And I thought to myself, “God really wants me to do my work, ’cause this is it.”
It’s natural to crave the sacred Yes. Ideally, you give yourself the Yes first. That self-love methodology is all neat and tidy and evolved. But I think you still get evolution bonus points even if it takes a dozen power people to convince you that you are fabulous. Neil Young said that he didn’t know for sure if he was talented until his albums sold. Fair enough.
It’s the kernel of our humanity to want to be seen, recognized, understood–celebrated, even. And when that kernel is watered, magic tends to proliferate.
The sacred yeses you get don’t have to be exceptional or prestigious or catapulting. The yeses can be votes of confidence, offerings of counsel, connections, a bitta cash when you need it most.
And you don’t need to be a big league power broker to give someone a sacred affirmative.
We are all power brokers. Yes?