Yesterday my 15-year-old daughter Maddy emailed me to say she'd just received a rejection letter from McDonalds where she'd applied for part time work. She was feeling deflated.
I emailed her right back. "Maccas Shmaccas," I said. "One day you'll look back on this and laugh. I promise!" Of course I understood her disappointment. But I've not one iota of doubt that she'll find a part time job if she sticks at it. Call me biased, but Maddy isn't only extremely personable, she's just an all round fabulous young woman. Who wouldn't want to employ her?! Maccas Shmaccas indeed!
Maddy's experience bought to mind some of my own experiences of rejection. I've had my share. No doubt you have too. Who hasn't?! But while it's hard not to feel some sting at times, it's vital not to let fear of future rejection keep you from putting yourself 'out there' and risking more of it.
The most successful people I've met have risked rejection time and time again. What they haven't done is misinterpreted someone else's subjective assessment of them to mean anything about their own worthiness. Rather they've used their knock backs to fine tune what they were offering or polish how they offered it (e.g. interview skills).
It's simple arithmetic really. The more often you put yourself out there, the better your odds of achieving what you want. I must have submitted my first book Find Your Courage to over 30 publishers before I finally landed one. It's now in 6 languages. As my dad always says, 'You've got to be in it to win it'.
By refusing to get sucked into negative comparisons, blame, self-rebuke and self-pity you can turn your 'rejections' into stepping-stones that take you closer to your goals. Sadly though, too many talented people spend their lives avoiding the possibility of rejection (or criticism or failure). It's not the rejection itself that they fear, it's what they make it mean -- that they aren't attractive enough, clever enough, good enough, lovable enough. It means none of that!
I dedicated a chapter to just this topic in Brave because it's such an important one. I mean, just imagine the possibilities that would open up for you if you embraced the mindset that risking rejection is crucial to achieving success in your work, relationships and life!
This weekend Maddy will be applying for more jobs. What about you? I dare you to risk being rejected more often -- not to injure your pride, but to expand your possibilities. Isn't that worth the occasional sting?