Friday, March 11, 2016

Day 2339 - How to handle rejection

How many times can we get rejected, before we start rejecting ourselves?
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Rejection is a part of life.  Although the word itself is probably not worth having in the vocab because it reeks of sadness.  Let's just say we're going to experience the word "no" a lot.

We go out there and market ourselves in social situations, relationships, business, school and career, and after our sales pitch people have the option to say "Yes, I want you," or "No, I don't".

We've all experienced it.  As a child when other kids leave us on our own in the playground, as a teen when we go through our first break-up, as an adult when we don't get the job we applied for, as a parent when our child becomes too old for hugs, as a business person when our proposal gets rejected and as a writer when a publisher returns our manuscript in our own self-addressed envelope.

Some people can have the confidence to push through the "No's" and some people just pull back completely and withdraw from whatever it is they were striving for.

I was rejected this week.  Well, I get rejected a lot as a writer if the truth be known.  But for whatever reason I keep pushing onward.  The rejection this week was from an organisation I wrote to to get a few facts for my latest book and I then offered to list them in my credits.  I thought they would actually jump at the opportunity because they are (supposedly) passionate about their cause and getting it talked about by children would help promote the issue at a grass roots level.

Anyway, they said no.  Something about being too short staffed, no time to answer my three iddy bitty questions and therefore no point mentioning them in the credits.


I didn't see this as a "this is not you, it's them" moment. I felt really rejected.

Why did I take this so personally?   Maybe they were short staffed and maybe the woman at reception was having a bad day and maybe there were bigger issues going on in their world than helping an unknown children's book author with her new story.

For whatever reason I took it to heart.

I think "heart" is the key word here. I felt strongly about it and I expected that they would feel strongly about it too.

So this all got me to thinking about rejection.  In particular the rejection of people who are passionate about what they do and are trying to achieve some major dreams.

Walt Disney once got fired from a Kansas newspaper because he "lacked imagination and had no good ideas."

We all know that JK Rowling's Harry Potter got rejected a bunch of times before it finally got published (I was once told 36 times ... but I have since read 12 times ... either way, she got knocked back a lot). She was also told "not to quit her day job".

Apparently Oprah Winfrey got fired as a news reporter because she couldn't remove her emotions from the stories she was covering.

After a performance in Nashville a stage producer told Elvis Presley that he was better of returning to Memphis and going back to his old job of driving trucks.

An interesting but little known fact is that before she got her role in Scandal,  Kerry Washington had tried out for two other pilots.  The shows made it to TV but she was replaced by other actresses.

When Marilyn Monroe was first starting out, modelling agencies suggested she think about becoming a secretary instead.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is we can either give up, or we can believe in ourselves and our dreams enough to keep pushing through.  Just because other people aren't heartfelt about it, doesn't mean we should stop loving it too.

The bottom line is DON'T TAKE IT PERSONALLY.

So that boy doesn't want to date you?  His loss not yours.

So you didn't get the promotion?  Then it's not the right job for you.

So the publishers didn't like your manuscript?  Find a new publisher.

So the organisation you wrote to weren't interested in featuring in your book?  Who needs their input anyway.  Google works just as well.

Just because we get rejected doesn't mean we should reject ourselves.

When was the last time you felt rejected?

How did you deal with it?

Any tips on how to handle rejection?


  1. I find it really hard, and I think as a writer you get it more than most. I just celebrate the wins a little more, to try and have those be the over riding memory in my mind, rather than the countless rejections. I saw an editor talk once, at the height of the Harry Potter success, and she said, once that book broke, there were a lot of publishing houses looking into their files to see if they'd rejected it, and there was a lot of uncomfortable people waiting to discover who's name was on the rejection letter....

  2. I try not to take it personally. I've applied for jobs in different parts of my organisation that I haven't gotten. Patience paid off because I finally won a three moth spot for later in the year in a department I'm interested in, so applying a couple of times was the key for me. If my writing gets rejected, I take that more to heart because writing is closer to the real me than work is- I imagine you'd feel similarly- it's hard when your passion isn't received well or generating interest.

  3. I try not to but i can't help it sometimes. The key is to keep moving forward and to not let others stop you because they think so.

  4. I'm still no good at handling rejection, to be honest. Especially when its over something I'm deeply invested in. What I have gained after all these years of living is perspective. Which sometimes helps when my emotional reaction to being rejected fades a bit.

    Keep the faith and keep on keeping on, Leanne!

    SSG xxx

  5. Yesterday. I got the 'thanks but no thanks' letter for a job I applied for. I thought I'd at least get an interview. It's hard not to take it personally when you know you can do it. I didn't particularly want that job but still ... it hurt. But I know I'm good at what I do, so yes, their loss, not mine. Someone else will get my awesomeness! And that company who rejected you was being short-sighted. It was probably someone junior who didn't even take it to someone senior who would have realised the marketing opportunities. But what do you do?

  6. I find that rejection is usually more about what others have as preconceptions, and not in the slightest about you. It stings, but usually doesn't matter.

  7. I love that Oprah Winfrey quote so much! I think she's right, whether it's a job, a love interest or a piece of writing, I think we have to think that it's not so much about rejection, it's about being right. If I don't get a job, then I know it's not the right job for me. If someone can't love me as I am, then they're not the right person for me and if I get a knock back on my writing, well then, that's dandy too, they're not the right audience for me. And as you can see from the examples you've shown, rejection can lead to success and lots of it!

  8. Love that Oprah quote! I just think the more I get rejected, the closer I am to my real win.


I love hearing your thoughts! Keep them rolling in :)

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