Rejection. We’ve all been there. Whether it was a college letting you know you were not accepted into the program or an employer telling you another candidate was chosen for the job, we have all faced rejection at some point in our life.
How have you bounced back from rejection?
This weekend my book proposal was rejected (exact words: I’ll pass”) by two literary agents that had initially expressed some interest in my book topic. After having horrible flashbacks to my high school crush asking someone else out to prom, I realized I could either dive into a week of self pity or delve into what I can do to chart my own course to success, book or not.
In trying my best to take the later path, here is what I found :
1) Rejection can fuel the fire: No matter what anyone says at the time, rejection is horrible, but it is what you do with it that matters. A rejection can make you work harder, study more, or take a new direction in life. You can sit in misery with a letter from someone who does not know the real you, or you can go and prove them wrong. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team and every time he wanted to give up and stop practicing he remembered not seeing his name on the varsity list.
2) Apparently rejection IS directly correlated with success. Stephen King, Anne Frank, and J.K. Rowling (among countless other writers) were rejected by a dozes and dozens of publishing houses. I am sure many of them wish Mr. Potter could cast a spell to turn back the clock now. Soichiro Honda was turned down for a job as an engineer at Toyota and Walt Disney was fired as a newspaper editor for his lack of imagination.
3) Find a professional network of support: Friends and family are great at the soft side of recovering from rejection, but women in business groups, job seekers networks, or writing groups can give you constructive feedback on your ideas and help you navigate an extended professional network. My Work Butterfly, the National Association of Women Business Owners, and Make Mine a Million are great places to start finding new professional networks.
4) Believe in yourself: While it still hurts to be told you are not good enough or you do not live up to a certain expectation, rejection teaches us how important it is to have confidence. If we do not believe in ourselves, no one will. Take a minute (or more) to process the rejection and then move on. If you believe in your product, abilities, and desire, eventually others will too.
Yes. rejection hurts. It is not that I want anyone to fail, but something failing and falling is the best way to flourish. How have you bounced back from rejection?