On Friday I got some disheartening news: my proposal to speak at the TedxVictoria event wasn’t accepted. It was disappointing because I’d been pretty excited about the possibility of speaking at a TEDx event, and I had spent time in my mind envisioning myself there, doing what I love, wowing the crowd with my words. (Yes, I really had.) In my mind I was “putting it out there” to the Universe that it would happen, which is what people say you should do when you are setting your intentions.
But it was not to be.
When I read the email that told me that my proposal had been one of many and unfortunately not picked, right away (well, likely after an audible “Oh, man!”) my thoughts turned to how I could take this setback and turn it around. How well was I going to handle this news, I challenged myself. I recognized that I had a choice and I wasn’t going to let one rejection get me down.
Thinking about my own reaction to this unwanted news got me wondering what other people do when they’re in the same position, so I went and asked some others for their advice. The good thing about rejection is that we’ve all experienced it, so we can help other through it. Let’s tap into that expertise.
A small group of creative souls that chimed in when I asked this question on a closed Facebook group that I’m on. “How do you handle rejection?” I questioned. Here are the six pieces of great advice they had to give:
1. Commiserate with a friend or business partner. Two heads are better than one to talk about and deal with rejection. Many of us feel better after a good heart to heart conversation. Get it all out.
2. Think about what else you can get if you can’t get the thing you wanted. One contributor got turned down by an art show where she had submitted her work and the returned cheque came back in the mail just in time for her to use the money to enroll in an amazing course that she wanted to go to. Karma!
3. Know that everything that happens to you teaches you something in the moment that you need to learn to get you to wherever it is that you are meant to go. “Rejections very often lead to something better.” I really like this concept!
4. Take comfort in the fact that the rejection happened because you took a risk. And taking that risk was better than not taking it in the first place. “Leap and the net will appear” we have been told.
5. Treat the feedback you were given as a gift from a passing stranger. “If I like it, I keep it and enjoy it, perhaps even cherish it. But if I don’t like the gift then I would simply throw it away.” (Click here to read this contributor’s full post.)
And, if all else fails:
6. Drown your rejection in chocolate. Most things can be solved by dark and sweet temptations, can they not?
I know having these folks share their wisdom with me has helped me to see that whenever rejection happens, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Which is what we all want to hear when we’re following our dreams.
Thanks to fellow flyers Ursula, Jill, Kanchan, Janet, Kathleen and Lori for their collective wisdom in writing this post.