OUT LOUDERS, a week or so ago, I applied to be a speaker at a well known women’s conference. I carefully considered my answers on the application form, took the all important decision to be honest about the story I wanted to tell, was thoughtful and considered in the reasons I gave for wanting to be a speaker. I truly felt that this time … THIS TIME … I had a good chance of being chosen – not least because this is exactly the type of event where I would like to share my message and more importantly, where my message would have meaning for the delegates.
There was full alignment – I had a good feeling about this one.
And yet …This morning I received the email which would tell me whether I’d got through or not. It’s funny isn’t it – in the olden days you could tell from the weight of an envelope whether the answer was a positive or not. But now with emails, unless there’s something obvious in the first few words, you’d think it impossible to tell what’s inside. Even so (and I’ve noticed this on other occasions), I knew before I opened that email that the answer was a NO.
There’s no point in trying to pretend – I feel really disappointed, down and a little defeated. And I must confess a little (ok a lot), like I never get chosen for things. I see others dancing in the spotlight, winning awards, getting publicity. And as happy as I am for them, I ask myself, when will it be my turn? When will I hear the applause and congratulations? Ever destined to be the bridesmaid never the bride, when will I get to be the ONE?
Well, once I’d got over the self pity fest, I asked myself what if anything, can I and hopefully you, do to pick ourselves up again after a rejection be it from speaking gig, publisher, potential client, audition or even relationship?
I’ve come up with these 10 top tips which I hope you’ll find helpful.
1. Yes, it’s a bummer and you’re fully entitled to be upset – feel free to have a good, old rage at how unjust, unfair, stupid, biased, blinkered the selector/selection process was. Cry, throw things, rage, stamp your foot – it’s all allowed. Being rejected is one of the most hurtful, painful, unjust experiences we humans have to face and it’s natural to feel, well … rejected.
2. Lean in (really go all out on this one) to the obvious and irrefutable fact that ‘they’ have made a mistake. Clearly they’ve made the wrong decision – it should be you standing up there, or at the book signing thingie or whatever. They obviously didn’t see your brilliance and it’s one humungous mistake. Most importantly someone needs to know about this error so they can take immediate action to correct it. And you are the one to bring it to their attention. Quite honestly, you’d be doing everyone a favour.
3. So …Complain – yes really. Sit down right now and compose an email explaining exactly how the decision making process must have been flawed and how it would be better for everyone concerned if they re-considered. Really take the opportunity to vent, put down everything you’re feeling, don’t omit a thing and especially explain why it’s so important in the name of justice to have a re-vote.
4. Do not, and I can’t emphasise enough how important this is – do not under any circumstances send that email. Instead let it sit festering in draft on your screen for a while for you to read back to yourself later – and who knows, maybe even expand upon?
5. After a decent interval during which you might go have a cuppa, eat something large and calorific, or perhaps catch up on some daytime TV, return to your laptop and read said draft through. Try reading it OUT LOUD, giving full dramatic emphasis if you feel like it. Now honestly ask yourself what’s true about the contents of that email. Chances are the bits about how bad you feel are true (although hopefully now not nearly as acute). But also you might just be beginning to see that the bits about how unfair it all is and how ‘they’ have got it all wrong are based on some pretty big and perhaps, unfair, assumptions about the ‘winner’ and their ability. You may even see that this is all in your head, that none of us can control why one person is chosen over another. Especially, that none of it’s personal and all of it’s subjective. Let all those healing, calming thoughts really sink in and wash over you. And of course on no account, forget to breathe.
6. NOW it’s time to delete the email or better still, print it off, tear it up in to little pieces and flush. It’s also time to go about your business and stop wasting your life fretting over what could/should have been, worrying about other people’s success (it has nothing whatsoever to do with you although you may have something to learn from their work – you’re right, probably now is not the moment), and get on with the all important job of living your life, your way.
7. Believe me – one day your moment will come and it will be all the more satisfying for the wait.
8. And if it doesn’t, hurrah, you tried. And ultimately that’s really what matters – to have the awesome courage (despite the risk of all the pain and hurt), to try; yes, maybe be rejected, yet still, get up and try again. And again.
9. Finally, be OUT LOUD AND PROUD and feel free to shout to the world about the pain of rejection.
10. Congratulations. You are a human being.
What do you do or think or feel to pick yourself up after the pain of rejection? Do you even see rejection as rejection? Maybe you just see it as another learning step? A marker on your road to greater enlightenment? Whatever your perspective or experience, we’d love to learn from you so please share.
I promise not to reject your comment.