Have you ever sought out someone’s support or backing, and got rejected?
It’s so disheartening, isn’t it?
I mean, think about it. You’ve got this idea, something you’ve always wanted to do. You got yourself to the point where you felt confident enough to show or discuss your idea with someone else – perhaps your spouse, or your boss, or your best friend, or the barista at your favorite coffee bar.
You’re anxious but also excited about sharing it with the world… one person at a time. Perhaps you’re looking for this person’s input, or approval, or buy-in, or sponsorship… maybe even just a simple “atta boy/girl” to keep you going.
You don’t get any of these.
Instead you got a questioning look, a raised eyebrow, a comment that downright put your idea down. Or deadly silence. No response, no nothing.
Oh, it STINGS.
You start questioning everything about your idea (and your sanity for having the idea to begin with). You want to crawl back under the covers and give up on the whole thing.
You feel like it’s not just your idea that got rejected – it’s YOU that got rejected.
You feel horrible. But you don’t want to allow yourself to feel down, after all you’re not the first one to get rejected.
A simple Google search yields you plenty of famous rejection stories out there. Just look at these 3:
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s stone was rejected by 12 publishing houses before it was accepted by Bloomsbury, a London publishing house. Still, J.K. Rowling was told by a Bloomsbury editor not to quit her day job as it’s unlikely she’d be making any money on children’s books.
- Steven Spielberg was rejected by the school of his choice, University of Southern California (USC), not once, but twice. In 1994, USC finally awarded Spielberg with an honorary degree.
- Howard Schultz’ proposal to gain investors for Starbucks was turned down 224 times. Schultz was talking about something that had never been done before, and people simply could not imagine this picture of a coffee house chain, that he was painting.
You read these stories and try to tell yourself not to give in to the feeling of despair.
At the end of the day though, you still feel awful.
While these stories give you hope, the rejection that you just heard/received feels a lot more personal than Howard Schultz’ or J.K. Rowling’s.
You know what?
If you can brush away the rejection easily and not let it hit you, then absolutely do that.
But sometimes, you just can’t. It’s bad enough that you’re feeling humiliated or put down. It’s worse when you deny yourself the reality of your feeling.
It’s okay to mope. Rejection can sting. Some rejections come with harsh words. Some come so unexpected that you reel from it.
If you feel like moping, then mope. Cry if you want to. Pull the covers over your head, if you must.
The most important thing is what you do after the wallowing and self-doubt.
The day, the week, or even the month later… when you brush yourself off and say “Okay, enough of that. Here I go again”.
That’s the key.
You get back in the dang ring. That’s when you read all those famous rejection stories that help you find the hope and the belief in your idea and in yourself.
But most importantly… THIS: Give yourself a break. Don’t put yourself down even more by denying yourself to feel awful. It is what it is. THEN, brush yourself after and get back in the dang ring.
(A similar version of this post first appeared at Second Breaks.)
Lou is the Founder and Chief Instigator at Second Breaks, a site dedicated to the pursuit of the re-imagined life and deliberate second acts. Visit her at http://www.secondbreaks.com
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