By Maria LaMagna
Many celebrities have this experience before they achieve success
Co-hosting NBC's (GE) "Today" show once seemed like a long shot for Hoda Kotb -- a very long shot. The announcement was made Tuesday following Matt Lauer's departure (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hoda-kotb-replaces-fired-matt-lauer-as-co-anchor-of-nbcs-today-show-2018-01-02), and she will continue to host the network's fourth-hour show with co-host Kathie Lee Gifford.
In fact, she was rejected 27 times while interviewing for her first-ever job in TV news.
When Kotb, 53, graduated from Virginia Tech in 1986 with a degree in broadcast journalism, she borrowed her mother's car and drove from news station to news station in the southeast U.S., getting rejected each time when she showed news directors her first news reel tape, she said in a 2016 interview (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/hoda-kotb-failed-her-way-success-our-interview-christina-daves/).
Finally, she heard a "Yes" from a station in a small city, Greenville, Miss.
Her story is the latest reminder that resilience is often a key part of eventual success.
Dwelling on past experiences can make tasks harder and lead to unhappiness in the long term (http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2011-21907-005), a 2011 study found.
Kotb and others who have experienced professional success say it's better to keep moving forward.
"Everybody doesn't have to love you," Kotb said about her experience. "You just need one person ... 27 people thought I was terrible, and one didn't."
Kotb continued to work in local news, including at a CBS affiliate in New Orleans in 1992, until eventually being hired as a correspondent for NBC's "Dateline" in 1998 (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/01/03/27-rejections-in-10-days-how-hoda-kotb-battled-for-the-news-career-that-led-to-today/?utm_term=.290df7a470a4), where she covered stories including Hurricane Katrina.
Don't miss:Here's what NOT to do if, like Hoda Kotb, you get a big promotion (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-what-not-to-do-if-like-hope-hicks-you-get-a-big-promotion-2017-08-18)
Kotb isn't the only prominent person who had a long and slow path to success. "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling, who today is thought to be one of the richest women in the world, was a single mother relying on public assistance (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/harry-potter-at-20-how-jk-rowling-went-from-welfare-to-wizards-2017-06-26) until she wrote the series. Her novel was rejected at least a dozen times (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/mar/24/jk-rowling-tells-fans-twitter-loads-rejections-before-harry-potter-success) before it was finally accepted by London-based Bloomsbury.
"I am prouder of my years as a single mother than of any other part of my life," Rowling has written. "Nothing makes me prouder than what [my daughter] Jessica told me recently about the first five years of her life: 'I never knew we were poor. I just remember being happy.'"
Author Stephen King was reportedly rejected 30 times (http://mentalfloss.com/article/53235/how-stephen-kings-wife-saved-carrie-and-launched-his-career) before his first novel, "Carrie," was published. He saved his rejection letters in his bedroom (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/10877825/The-rejection-letters-how-publishers-snubbed-11-great-authors.html).
Entrepreneur Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla (TSLA) , has also faced many setbacks in his career (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-many-failures-of-elon-musk-captured-in-one-giant-infographic-2017-05-24), including unsuccessfully applying for a job at the tech company Netscape in 1995 and being ousted as CEO of his company Zip2 in 1996.
And Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon (AMZN) , said at a 2014 conference he has "made billions of dollars of failures" (https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/behind-amazons-success-is-an-extreme-tolerance-for-failure/) at the company.
Kotb said rejection made her eventual success "sweeter."
"Had I gone to Greenville first, I'm not 100% sure I would have taken the job," she said. Hearing "No" first, Kotb said, "made me love my job more than I would have if it had been handed to me."
She will reportedly make $7 million per year at NBC (https://pagesix.com/2018/01/02/hoda-kotbs-today-salary-wont-even-compare-to-lauers/) after her new deal -- the same as co-host Savannah Guthrie, but still less than the $25 million a year Lauer received.
-Maria LaMagna; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
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