How to overcome rejection?
In my career of acting, writing and freelancing, I’m very well acquainted with rejection. Rejection usually pops up in the word: NO!.
“No you didn’t get the dream job” or “No you can’t get an appointment” or “No…(fill in the blank space)”. It’s never fun to hear a no, but it’s part of the journey. Thus I’ve done an investigation of ‘NO’ in order to claim some victory over the enemy... (or is it an ally?) Here’s what I’ve gotten to know:
1. Don’t take NO for an answer:
Since I was a little girl my mom has recited the same mantra with gusto: “don’t take no for an answer”. It seems so simple. Yet, it’s a mindset that takes practice…plenty of practice. For example:
When I was at University I once got flu during exams and needed to see a doctor ASAP. However, the doctor’s receptionist informed me that they were fully booked for the day. Later my mom called to check up on my progress when I told her about the doctor’s unavailability. Her response: “rubbish, I am calling them right now.” I tried to explain to mom that the doctor was fully booked… she hung up the phone. Five minutes later she called: “You have an appointment at 3 pm today.” I was left speechless. “ But..but… that’s not possible, they said that there was NO way…”. She had a chuckle and cheekily responded: “I don’t take no for an answer”. Since this day I’ve paid attention to the ways in which my mom doesn’t take no. It’s an attitude that she’s mastered. Ok, it doesn’t always work. But the mantra aims to try again. Sometimes it means thinking out of the box and getting creative. But there’s tenacity, perseverance and courage in the woman or man who says: “I don’t take no for an answer”.
2. It’s a numbers game
Getting up close and intimate with ‘no’ on a regular basis has taught me that ‘no’ is a numbers game. After about 10x no’s, I know that there’s a yes waiting to show up! So I just get through the numbers in order to get where I want. This same method can be applied to many different scenarios. For example, when I’m pitching brand collaborations for my YouTube channel and blog there’s always a few no’s in the pipeline. That’s why I don’t limit my pitching to only one brand but rather I spread the net as wide as I can for better fishing results. You can apply this method when you’re looking for a new job, applying for bursaries or scouting for clients. The more you put yourself out there, the closer you get to the yes. It’s purely a numbers game. Let’s get playing!
3. Grow from the no
A ‘no’ can have the power to send you into a tidal wave of self-doubt and disappointment. I recently got a ‘no’ from a brand to collaborate on a project that I thought was the bee’s knees. When I read the rejection email I immediately heard the all too familiar voices in my head: “you’ve made a fool of yourself.” and “you’re aiming way out of your league”. I had to acknowledge my thoughts and my feelings. But then I had a choice: abandon the project or go ahead and contact more brands (spread the fishing net wider). I approach more brands. What happened? Better brands signed up to be part of the project…maybe I was aiming too low. It’s so easy to let a tiny no send you into paralysis mode. But no’s are actually fab teachers that strengthen our grit in order to achieve our dreams. And sometimes they lead to better outcomes. Yes!
4. When a NO means ‘not now’
It’s all about timing. You don’t need to figure out every single why behind the no. It could be that the timing is off. The project is not ready for you or there’s another dream project that you can’t see that has your name written all over it! This is always easier to identify when looking back. But trust in the process. The no’s might come tumbling down, but they aren’t dead ends. They can be guiding posts if you allow them to. They can either be a ‘not now’ or a ‘something better’. So dust yourself off after a no, be active and creative as new doors open. Better yet, if you can create your own doors.
A ‘no’ isn’t a dead-end, but rather an opportunity. Each time my mom says her mantra: I don’t take no for an answer- she opens herself up to new and creative ways to overcome obstacles. Whether that is asking again or asking differently. Remember, it’s a numbers game. Allow yourself to grow from the no. Furthermore, no can protect you from playing too small or guide you on a better path. Therefore, a simple rejection can be your greatest ally. Lastly, don’t let the no’s send you into fits of sabotage, but rather let them fuel your creativity as they push you to think out of the box.