October 31st, 2011
Did you get rejected sometime this month? If so, that’s good. The most successful people I have met get rejected every month. Why? Because they’re always stretching, growing, trying new things and contacting new people. And they’re inviting people to support their projects or purchase their products. Or they’re pulling people together to make things happen. Top professionals handle rejection well. Here is a process that can help you do well in the face of rejection: We’ll use the C.A.N. process:
C – cancel “rejection” in favor of “we did not have match”
A – appreciate
N – notice
1. Cancel “rejection” in favor of “we did not have match”
If you feel bad, you’re probably thinking some disempowering thought like “they rejected me.” Now, imagine a “cancel” button. Then visualize pressing the button and simultaneously say aloud, “We did not have a match.” In this way, you are taking action to reframe your view of the situation. To “reframe” is to shift your interpretation. Instead of the disempowering idea “they rejected me” you can “press the cancel button” and replace the first idea with something better: “We did not have a match.”
Unfortunately, “they rejected me” carries the baggage of “there must be something wrong with me.” Instead, when you use the neutral “we did not have a match” you avoid throwing a negative judgment upon yourself. Instead, you’re allowing the idea that something neutral happened: There was no match.
Recently, a friend and I discussed “rejection.” Suddenly, I had a thought: “You can’t reject me (that is, reject my essence). I’m a spiritual being. But you certainly can disagree.” When I say “disagree,” I mean that someone can disagree with how I made something (a book, for example). In essence, they “disagree” about how useful the book is. I’ve learned that when you say something from your heart, some people will agree, some will disagree and others will ignore it. That’s all okay (even if it’s tough to take sometimes). I remind myself that it is okay that “we did not have a match.”
When you do something original, some people will NOT like it. Great! You’ve done something. If you did nothing, there would be nothing to disagree with [or "reject."]
If you didn’t show up for the job interview, there would be no possibility for a positive response or a negative response. So appreciate your courage and your efforts. You are one step closer to a positive outcome.
One time when I felt the sting of a negative review, I decided that there must be some way I could turn around my feelings. That’s when I devised something new: a “Celebrate Someone Disagrees” Ritual. In essence, I reward myself for having the courage to take a risk and “put my voice out there.” My sweetheart listens to me as I write my books so I’ll take her out to have a “Celebrate Someone Disagrees” Ritual. We may go to See’s Candies — she usually wants to celebrate with chocolate. And we’re likely to go to a bookstore, since I like to celebrate by getting a book. We’re celebrating courage and taking action.
Notice that it takes just a simple shift of thinking to go from sad and feeling rejected to a new pattern of thinking: “I’m okay. I’m proud of myself for putting my work out in the world.”
Also, notice that people seem to be complaining a lot recently. Certainly, I’ve seen some really mean comments on YouTube.com. Along these lines . . . recently, I read how Barbara Walters held it together while being criticized early in her career. She received a note from John Wayne that read: “Don’t let the bastards get you down.” Well, that was concise.
My point is that the people I know who enjoy fulfillment are the ones who are creating artwork and getting things done. They refuse to allow critical comments to slow them down. Let the critics amuse themselves with criticizing. But let you and I find fulfillment in expressing ourselves and learning as we go.
I remember Steven Spielberg said, “I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. And I don’t have to prove anything to myself. I just need to stay interested.”
So I invite you to celebrate each rejection. Because you are one of the few courageous people who goes out and expresses yourself and gets things done. Remember to treat yourself to a “Celebrate Someone Disagrees” Ritual (reward).
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(Johanna E. Mac Leod is the photographer of the image with this article.)
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