Lessons Gleaned From Repeated Rejection
When I was a little girl I used to cry to my mom every time I didn’t get my way. I then matured, slightly, and cried to her only when I felt rejected—you know, if I was dumped, or didn’t make a team etc. When I entered the “okay, really what do I want to do with my life” phase, she cautioned me this: Well, the one thing I know for certain you hate is rejection, thus never pursue a career in sales my dear. And I listened. What she didn’t warn me of, however, is that if I don’t like rejection, to also never pursue a career in public relations…whoops! (I still love you mom.)
When you’re rejected in sales it’s fairly obvious, as you’re often face-to-face or on the phone when it happens. You also have numbers to hit, thus getting rejected = not hitting numbers. In public relations, however, rejection can be far less obvious. How? Well, the majority of the time you’re hiding behind a computer screen, and getting rejected via email. Furthermore, you only publicize your wins — not mentioning that it took you 100 “Nos” or ignored emails to get there (at best.)
I mean truly, it’s exhausting. You spend all this time coming up with what you think is the perfect pitch—you customize it, you put you or your company on a platter for judgment— and then either A. REJECTION or B. (and in my opinion B is far worse) Silence. Nothing. Nada. Zip. You are ignored. Again, and again, and again. Find me a publicist who can’t relate to what I just said, and I’ll call bull….
To be in PR you must be able to shove a big piece of humble pie right in your face…repeatedly.
Here are a few fun examples:
One time I had a journalist literally tell my boss during an interview that I am incompetent and they should fire me—ironic, however, because I had gotten the writer to take the interview.
One time I addressed an email “MR. John”. Turns out John was a she, and SHE didn’t appreciate the MR title whatsoever. In fact, she sent me a two-paragraph response telling me how ignorant I am, and to never dare pitch her again, she had me bookmarked.
One time I spent over an hour creating a custom pitch that I was sure would land my client a feature, or mention at the very least. I didn’t hear back. I sent a follow-up. Still, I didn’t hear back. In fact, I never heard back. Wait, did I say one time? I meant hundreds of times…(actually, thousands.)
Yeah, GOOD times.
Now, before you stop reading what you’re probably deciding is a super depressing or pessimistic piece about a publicist who clearly hates her life, I want to throw this out there — I LOVE PR, well, I love who it has helped me become rather.
Yeah, I’ve come to embrace the rejection. Why? Because it has engrained, I mean truly and deeply instilled into my very core of being this fact: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger (sing it Kelly!)
Literally though. When you reframe your mindset and start viewing rejection as a tool that aids in enhancing both your personal and professional self, it’s a total game-changer.
Repeated rejection also enables you to experience an abundance of gratitude and excitement for when things do go right. You learn how to enjoy and celebrate the small wins in life. I can’t tell you how often in the past few years I have had colleagues and peers comment on how easily excited I get. They go “Wow, I wish I could get excited about something so small.” And you know what, whether they meant it as a compliment or low-key dig, it totally is their loss. Why NOT choose to be happy. Why NOT choose to be grateful and enthusiastic for a job well done. Pat your own damn self on the back.
So, readers, I leave you with this. Next time you feel or are bluntly rejected, seize it as an opportunity to better your badass self. Brush away the nay-sayers, and when you do find that YES MAN or WOMAN, heck—celebrate!