Last week I received a message from a friend asking if my positive psychology study could help her with a rejection she had received. I paused for a while and looked out of the window at the surrounding countryside while my new puppy whimpered a bit in the back of the car on his first trip home.
I had an easy way out. I was busy, our family was about to accept a new arrival and I had promised myself the afternoon off. But then I arrived home, showed Phoenix his new home and sat down to respond.
I realized that the lessons I have learned from life and positive psychology gave me a great opportunity to answer this question. I have received many rejections since I decided to become a writer and an actor and, so far at least, I have not given up and don’t want to give up.
How have I done that? What have I told that helpless part of me that grumbles and says this is proof that I am not good enough? How have I persuaded my inner cynic to get back with the programme rather than stew in a sense that all my dreams are destined to be crushed and it’s all very well for all those successful people out there but my role in life is to fail and keep failing, acting as a source of pity or a cautionary tale for other, luckier people.
Well, here are some of my strategies, a top ten if you will. I hope it gives you some inspiration to carry on building a life where you can be thriving and leaves you rocking that rejection as you continue to step forwards.
OK, are you listening, feeling the sting of that rejection? Right, here we go!
Second, recognize that rejection doesn’t feel good and it is OK to be disappointed.
Third, make a cup of tea. I find tea always makes things better (not positive psychology just Estherology).
Right, now you have a cup of tea here’s how to break it down:
1 – This is ONE opportunity where you have not received the answer you hoped. It is only one of many hundreds out there. You can try again.
2 – You have done what is needed to approach this opportunity so that is one step closer to success. There was a time when you were not at this stage. You are allowed to feel grateful that you have given yourself a chance to fail at something you really want. Many people don’t even try.
3 – Their decision not to accept your offering is out of your control and is about THEM and THEIR situation not you. Just as you have pressures and targets and limited resources, so do they and your offering may not quite fit with what they are looking for. It doesn’t mean that others who have been accepted are better than you, they are simply a better fit for the person you approached.
4 – Do you need them at all to do what you want to do? The internet and the global economy make many more things possible for you alone than were available before. There is a great democracy now in that content can come from anyone and anywhere, it is no longer filtered through self-appointed gatekeepers. You can make your own films, publish your own books and set up your own life in a way that fits you perfectly.
5 – Taking into account that you don’t necessarily want to add to the giant heap of garbage bombarding us through the internet and the media, and that you do want to meet a high standard of competence, the harsh truth is they may think you are not good enough. They may have a point. In which case can you ask for specific feedback from them? If not, can you ask someone you trust as being willing to be honest with you, who is a little further ahead of you on your journey, to critique your offer for you and give you some pointers on what you can learn from this?
6 – If there is something in you that says you are not good enough where is that coming from? Is it insecurity? Is it a niggling feeling that your offering is not the best you could do or you need some training in a particular area? If it’s insecurity, lick your wounds, relax and try again later. If it’s a genuine lack then do what you can to fill it.
7 – EVERY success has been rejected from something or given awful reviews by someone. They are not successful because they were never rejected but because they didn’t give up. Take some inspiration from Stephen Hawking – he was meant to die 2 years after his diagnosis and instead went on to live a full and meaningful life, leaving behind a fantastic legacy and a very inspiring story, all because he didn’t give up.
8 – What you are choosing to pursue is not the be all and end all. If it is not for you, it is OK to stop and choose something else. But if it is for you do not let one person stop you. The walls and obstacles are there to help you realise how much you want to overcome them. And if you still want to overcome them you will regroup, rejig what is needed and get back out there.
9 – One rejection is not enough to determine that what you have to offer isn’t good enough for the world. Do your research, know who you are targeting and why they may receive value from you and then approach a number of them. Depending on what you are doing a sample of 10 – 12 can give you a fairly representative idea. If that doesn’t work see point 5 above and work on filling the gap, if that is what you still want to do (see 8).
10 – In all things the best and most important way to be noticed is to be so good they can’t ignore you. And you have control over that. Be a little bit better every day and before you know it you will be rejecting them!
There you have it, my top ten for bouncing back from rejection and rocking your chosen life. Let me know what your top tips are or how these worked for you! Xx