A little over a year ago I interviewed for a position with a non-profit that worked in public schools in helping students excel. I actually had a couple of interviews, first by email, then over the phone, and then in person. Most would describe me as a friendly person who gets along with, and can talk with anyone. So, during these interviews I made it a point to be the authentic me. I'll never forget that in-person interview because I felt that I had blown it out of the water. I made the interviewers laugh, expressed clearly why I felt I was perfect for the role, and even made a connection on how we both came from Jamaican background. I remember calling my friend afterward to let him now how well I had thought it went(even though I'm pretty sure my armpits sweat through my shirt) and that there was no way they would want to go with someone else.
One day passed and nothing.
On the third day I received an email that read;
"At this point in time, we have decided not to move forward with you in the process..."
I was crushed. Here I was putting myself out there, being vulnerable, showing the best of me only to be rejected. Now I know for some of you this may not seem like a big deal. For some, you're able to take rejection and move right on to the next thing. I'm not wired that way, at all! I felt like my core being was under attack. What about ME did they not like? Why wasn't I good enough? In my mind it was less about anyone else and more about how I wasn't good enough. To be honest, that rejection crippled me, for months. It caused me to retreat back to my safe space, not putting myself out there for other opportunities because I obviously wasn't good enough for anything.
There's probably not one person walking this earth that hasn't gone through some feeling of inadequacy at some point in their life. We've all been there, whether it was a job that decided to go with someone else(like myself), a crush who didn't return the same feelings, or even a family member who didn't show that desired love and affection. It's a feeling that is almost impossible to escape at some point. I've learned that how we respond to that feeling though is everything!
I don't remember where it was when I heard it, but I remember listening to a talk on the subject of rejection. The speaker was talking about how rejection comes into everyone's life at some point, and the only way to get over it is to realize, "if they reject you, it's their loss". It was simple, yet profound. So many times when we REALLY want something we tend to view rejection as if we are losing something, or we are missing out on what could be. To a degree that is correct however on the flip-side the other party is missing out on what YOU have to offer! A lot of times it's hard for us to remember that we have great things to offer. Great ideas, great skills, great gifts, great love. When you are interviewing for a job, or maybe go out on one date with someone they are making a definite decision based off of what little they know. But you know the real you. You know what great things you have to offer that they haven't taken the time to see. When I started to lock in on that thinking, it made handling rejection a lot easier. It still sucks don't get me wrong, but I'm able to not allow it to cripple me anymore.
The worst thing someone can say when you put yourself out there is "no". That's the perfect time to remind yourself on all the great things they are missing out on. Heck I would even say create a list! Then you take yourself from a victim mindset of "I must not be good enough" to "It's not my loss because I am good enough. I am a hard worker. I am a committed person. I am able to give love. I am a leader. I am compassionate. I am fearfully and wonderfully made".
So my challenge to you is this; don't be afraid to shoot that shot because of past experiences. Don't allow a past "no" to hold you back from trying again. And when that next "no" does come, because it will, remind yourself of all the great things about you and what they are missing out on by not seeing that!