Embracing Rejection

A huge piece of any endeavor is finding a way to deal with rejection. Whether you’re trying to find a new job, trying to expand your business, or trying to make sales, get booked, or shop a manuscript, hearing the word “No” is a big part of your life.

Rejection is hard. It’s hard to hear someone tell you that you’re not what they’re looking for and not take it personally. Sometimes it’s downright impossible to get the “thanks, but no thanks” response without spiraling into the self-defeating vortex of “I’m not talented enough, smart enough, pretty enough, good enough.” If you’re a creative soul, you may be very familiar with this world, in fact, you may have made yourself a cozy little life there, with cushions and comforters and cocoa, so you can rest easy in the knowledge that you KNOW you’ll never get anywhere.

I used to do that.

And then I hit a point where I was tired of hearing myself complain about how I wasn’t doing what I wanted: I was newly graduated from college, working retail, and sure that my life was never going to get anywhere. So I applied for a teaching job. I knew I had no chance of getting it – especially when I found out one of the other applicants was a former classmate of mine – but I applied anyway, and went for the interview, presenting myself as only myself. Since I already didn’t have the job, I figured I had nothing to lose.

While I would love for that to be the final turning point in my refusal to be scared of rejection, it certainly isn’t. I’ve struggled with fear of inadequacy, rejection, and ridicule in all areas of my life; secure only in a belief that it’s safer to avoid making waves than it is to make a splash.  I still have a hard time putting myself, my words, and my work out into the world. But every time I find myself hesitating, I remember what I told my Relay For Life volunteers: In order to get to the YES, first you have to dig through the NO.

I turned our collective fear of rejection into a game, for every twenty-five “No” responses that they got (asking for donations, etc.) they were entered into a prize drawing. For every one hundred rejections, they were entered into a drawing for an even bigger prize.

100 No'sTo date, it’s one of my favorite ideas; the only thing I didn’t like about the original, was how it’s designed for just one thing. To that end, I made an even better version:

Embrace Rejection

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Set your goals: will you get something for each NO? For each five? Will you play it like a bingo game? Will you challenge a friend or colleague?

A PDF version is available here for your use.

So, how will you Embrace Rejection?

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2 thoughts on “Embracing Rejection

  1. denniscaristi2014 says:

    First of all I think your idea is brilliant! I just want to make you aware of a minor typo in this line: “I knew had no chance of getting it” should read, “I knew that I had no chance of getting it”, I should think. And finally did you get the teaching job?
    I know of what you write, if I had a nickel for every rejection letter I received in response to my sent Queries I’d have a lot of nickels.

    • maggiemcg says:

      Thanks for noting the typo, edited to fix 🙂
      I’m so glad you like my idea! Feel free to use it: print off a copy and put a nickel on each space, then do something fun with that $1.25!
      I did get that teaching job, it was the hardest seven months of my life, at Cathedral High in Springfield, MA… but I met some amazing people and learned a great deal about myself.

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