Each Rejection Makes Me Stronger
Although I’ve done little more than share the first chapter of my novel “Sasha’s Journey” at a writer’s conference, and make an ill-fated attempt at having “Rebuilding After Suicide” edited, I’m no stranger to rejection these days. In my other guise as an Accountant, I’ve submitted proposals on a couple of projects; both of which I lost. While it’s disappointing to repeatedly receive negative responses, it’s neither the end of the world, nor a time to throw in the towel.
Hearing the word “no” is something you have to expect at least part of the time when you’re brave enough to put yourself out there, no matter what your area of expertise. You have to appreciate the fact that the potential client has expectations you can’t possibly be privy to, no matter how well you might do your due diligence. As I see it, those nos aren’t meant to discourage you, but to encourage you to keep trying. As someone said to me recently “every no brings you closer to a yes”.
While the courage to submit so much as a short story, much less one of my longer projects has been noticeably absent thus far, getting used to accepting a rejection and moving on in an area where my confidence is greater is essentially a good thing. I get to thicken my skin and learn those nos are never personal long before I submit something that contains a piece of my heart and soul to the hard, cold world.
Choosing the Longer Road
Meanwhile, minor wins like being asked to write for a couple of publications on Medium are balm to the wounds I try hard to shake off. Sure, I’ve put some pressure on myself by promising a small reward should I win a contract. Thus far, I continue my streak without rewards, but in reality, I owe myself a couple for simply continuing to jump into the fire over and over again. If I allowed the losses to discourage me, I’d have long ago gone in search of another salaried position. Yet I continue to insist I will make a go of this, and I keep showing up.
I know I’ve chosen the longer road by insisting on building relationships, not only because it takes longer to find and establish myself with my tribe, but because I’m still learning how to build those relationships after spending a large portion of my life as a loner and an outcast. I suspect I’d go further faster if I were willing to invest thousands of dollars in a coach or mentor, but I tend to take the longer, harder route wherever possible, and ultimately learn greater lessons as a result. My innate stubbornness insists I make my own mistakes rather than learning from the trials and tribulations of someone else. Perhaps it’s not the wisest path, but it’s the one I choose to tread.
Maybe I’d see less rejection if I gave someone else’s methodology a try, but I run the risk of feeling less authentic, and settling for something that doesn’t fit me right. I love loose, comfortable clothes, but when it comes to clients, I want to be able to bring real value to them, and to love doing it. Call me crazy. Tell me I’ll never get rich with that attitude. The truth is, it doesn’t matter. I spent too many years not loving what I did, or who I did it with. Part of the reason I set off on my own was because I knew that pattern had run its course. I was ready for something new and was willing to accept any and all associated risks.
Rewards are in the Eyes of the Beholder
Has it been a smooth path? Not even close. Has it had its share of rewards? I guess that depends on what you call rewards. Financially, it’s been more miss than hit. Emotionally and mentally, it was the best gift I could ever have given myself. I’ve been free to write when, where, and what I want. I’ve done 3 NaNo’s, finished the memoir I started in 2009, written thousands of blog posts, not only for myself, but for other people.
I get up when I want to, and go to bed when I decide it’s time. Sometimes, I sit in front of the TV binge watching a sitcom or Hallmark movies, and sometimes I pound away at the keyboard until the room grows dark, losing track of time, barely aware of the cats wandering through demanding attention (they aren’t especially happy about those times, but at least I’m here with them, and that counts for something).
Though I’ve always taken advantage of home delivery for a lot of things, I’ve done more since the pandemic began. I still go out to fill my water bottles and pick up groceries, but I’ve gone from weekly to semi-weekly, and even bought another 5-gallon bottle to stretch out the time between trips. I exercise at home via Zoom instead of going to the gym, and dance in my living room every Thursday night.
Learning from the Losses
Life overall isn’t perfect, and I’ve had to give up a lot of the things I love, at least temporarily. So what’s a little disappointment over a rejected pitch or proposal? The wheel will turn. New opportunities will appear. Some of the things I enjoyed doing will be back, and some may either change or disappear. Like the rejections, I can either dwell on what’s lost, or shake it off and move on to the next one.
There was a time I’d spend days mourning the losses, and mere moments celebrating the successes. I’ve come to realize I had it all backwards. I know it sounds weird, but I celebrate the losses as stepping stones. I learn, I let what I can’t control go, and I keep moving forward. What’s gone is gone. The past can’t be changed, so why dwell on it? Why mourn things that are, in the general scheme of things, inconsequential. The successes are fleeting, and don’t really teach me anything new, but they do break up the monotony a little.
I think about how hard it would be if I didn’t have any losses to learn from. It would mean I was still hiding in my little rut, scared to take any chances and put myself out there. Fear of falling and earning a few bruises would keep me from living a full life, and frankly, I’d be a lot more miserable than a loss or two will ever make me.
So bring on the opportunities. Give me more chances to earn rejections because eventually I’ll nail the formula and connect with the right people, and when I do, I’ll be Golden!
Expressing Gratitude for Every Little Thing
My gratitudes today are:
- I’m grateful for the losses that are teaching me how to win.
- I’m grateful for supportive friends who know you have to dive back into the pool many times before you learn how to swim with the big fish.
- I’m grateful for my tenacity and persistence even when it seems ill-advised.
- I’m grateful for a strong, resilient spirit that’s learned rejections aren’t personal.
- I’m grateful for abundance; opportunities, tenacity, inspiration, motivation, joy, love, friendship, relationships, health, harmony, peace, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income.
If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward