From Jia: when you think about people traveling across America in RVs, you envision people with gray hair and fat 401(k)s, not this couple... It's a strange story: one day a young guy wrote me an email asking for a meetup over coffee. Fast forward six months, he's driving an RV on the East Coast with his wife while contributing as an integral part of my business. It's also a great story though - one with courage and adventure.
From Heath: The ALS Ice Bucket challenge sweeping across the country is a really unique way to raise money for charity. I think it’s great so many people have gotten involved and the charity has gained so much awareness. I did not participate in the challenge, probably because I’m lame and didn’t get nominated. However, I did accept another kind of challenge this year that radically changed my life.
Hi, I’m Heath Padgett and this year I accepted the challenge of working a different job in every state across America.
Who challenged me? I guess you could say I was led to going on this adventure because of discontent in my “normal person” job. However, specifically, Jia Jiang challenged me.
He said it right to my face.
I had heard of this “rejection guy” from a mentor of mine. My mentor told me there was a guy who got rejected a bunch of times, had a viral video, and then something about donuts? I wasn’t sure of the details, but I wanted to find out more. I sent Jia an email, mentioned our mutual friend, and a week later we were sitting down together at lunch in Austin, Texas.
Jia told me his story and I listened in amazement as he mentioned being rejected from nearly a hundred people. When he finished talking, he asked me to share about myself. Why did I want to meet him? What was I trying to do? How could he help?
I told him I was about to quit my job, get married, and take a long honeymoon across the United States. I said, “I’m not content to just travel. I want to have a cool mission during my journey. I wanted it to be meaningful, and not just a long vacation.”
My current job wasn’t fulfilling to me. I had accepted a sales role in a company after college and didn’t see myself working there for forty years and then retiring. I wanted to do entrepreneurial things, I wanted to write, and pursue meaningful work.
He listened, and five seconds later said, “You’re young, and still figuring out what you want to do for your career. You should do something like work a different job in every state across America.”
It was the first idea that popped into his head. He clearly was just giving an example of something I could do while traveling, not that I should necessarily do that specific challenge.
I thought about it for a moment and said, “Yep. I’m going to do it.”
At this time, Jia was receiving a lot of inquiries from young people such as myself, so when I told him I was going to accept his challenge, I don’t think he really believed me.
A few months after meeting, Jia looked me up online and saw not only had I listened to his advice, I was actually working different jobs across the country and I was in California, where he was living! He immediately reached out to me. He told me so many people had come to him for advice, but few had actually done something with it.
It has since been seven months since my initial meeting with “the rejection guy.” However, he first empowered me to take one of the biggest risks of my life. Indirectly, he also caused me to get rejected by a lot of people when I asked for jobs on the road (I think this was his intention all along). So far, I’ve worked 23 jobs over the last four months and I’m nearly halfway through my challenge of working a different job in every state.
What have I learned? I’ve learned that sometimes challenges can be a great catalyst for life changing journeys. Jia experienced a self induced challenge to get rejected for one hundred days, similar to how I’ve accepted a challenge to work different jobs all across America. At the end of this type of journey, you can’t help but be changed for the better.
Since leaving Austin and embarking on this adventure, I’ve learned how not overthink things and instead take action on what I want most. I wasn’t confident about my writing skills or job skills before my journey began, however, through action I’ve grown confident in these areas of my life (similar to how Jia learned gained confidence through rejection).
A willingness to take action is all you need to get started in a journey or challenge of your own. Jia’s challenge to me launched me into the journey of a lifetime. I’m grateful for his council, and extremely honored to announce that I will be joining him and a group of other brave entrepreneurs, creatives, and risk-takers in what is being called the Rejection Gym. An online course that will empower you to overcome the fears in your life by seeking rejection, joining a community of like-minded people, and exclusive lessons and hang outs with Jia!
If you’re interested in joining us in an effort to overcome our fears through facing rejection head on, place your name on the wait list and we’ll be in touch!