I haven’t always been able to say this, but as a creative, I am okay with rejection. Really, I am.
In pursuit of our careers and passions, we have likely been warned all our lives that life is not fair, and that we’d better get used to not having it our way (because this isn’t Burger King). That we’d better be prepped to move on to plans B-Z. That we’d better get used to hearing the word “no”, or even worse, no response at all. Ouch. When literally working your ass off, and seeking to get to the next level of growth, this can be a tough pill to swallow. You WILL bat an eyelash, no matter how much you insist that you’re unbothered. It will hurt you to the core, as well as have you completely second-guessing yourself.
But the truth is, you will never “get used to it”. Instead, if you’re truly determined, the nays will likely trigger a response within you to press even harder – revisit your overall approach, your credentials, your path, and even dust yourself off and try again…many, many times over.
“Don’t be afraid to have a reality check. Taking risks is OK, but you must be realistic.” – Joy Mangano
Here are some reasons why you should be okay with rejection, and how to get refocused:
Others will not necessarily view you the same way you view yourself. However, don’t be discouraged – what you think may be the perfect fit for you, may not be all it’s cracked up to be beneath the surface. On the other side of the coin, something may absolutely be the opportunity of a lifetime, but you may not be as “ready” as you believe you are. To this, keep plugging away at whatever it is you’re doing. Do you need a bit more experience to further build up your portfolio and contacts? If you’re requesting a seat at any table, come with your ducks in a row and ready to work. Also, many great opportunities come with a moment’s notice, so stay ready so you don’t have to get ready. It’s no secret that there is a slew of competition out there!
Validate yourself, but be honest with yourself.
DON’T TAKE IT PERSONAL
Listen, what’s for you is for you. As it comes to business, try not to overanalyze situations that you have very little control over. Bring your A-game, and that’s the extent of what you’re responsible for. The criteria by which selections are being made remain unknown in many situations, and for all you know, they may have decided to take a different approach and go with someone they know personally or through a network connection. It’s not always necessarily about you or something you did or didn’t do. You know what you bring to the fold, and they have the option to take it or leave it.
“Nobody cares. Work harder.”
SHOOT YOUR SHOT
Rejection is a sign that you are stepping out there and applying for opportunities. A “no” suddenly doesn’t seem half-bad once you realize that you walk away having learned something through the process, as well as knowing that you are now on that particular brand or business’ radar. Keep leveraging these experiences and “shooting your shot.” Take what you’ve learned and make your next submissions even stronger.
“I say luck is when an opportunity comes along and you’re prepared for it.” – Denzel Washington
CREATE YOUR OWN OPPORTUNITIES
Another thing worthy of mentioning is creating your own opportunities. If at any time you notice a void that needs to be filled or lack of diversity in opportunities being presented within your niche, roll up your sleeves and get to work creating and bridging said gaps through collaborations.
There is that.
KEEP IT MOVING
The most important lesson is to not remain stuck in what may seem like the “sunken place”. Be fearless, be bold, and try not to feel deterred in going after your hearts desires. You will continue to hear nays all throughout your lifetime, but it is important to celebrate every win in your journey. And most of all, never lose sight of your “why”.
“I didn’t work hard to sit down and not work.” – Kevin Hart
Upward and onward.