What I Learned from Rejection

Like most people, I’ve experienced plenty of rejection.





Here are a few examples:

  • When I was in college, I was engaged – for a short time – to a guy who told me when one of his buddies saw me for the first time, the buddy said, “That’s the ugliest woman I’ve ever seen.” At the end of the semester, my fiancé decided we should be free to date other people during the summer because he wanted to have fun back in his hometown.
  • At the end of my first week on the job as an employment counselor, my boss asked me for a report I was supposed to have turned in. When I answered that I’d never heard anything about such a report and didn’t know how to prepare it, he answered, “I had things running pretty smooth around here, and you’re so stupid, you’re destroying my smooth operation.”
  • After I finished my first novel, Stroke of Luck, and started submitting it to agents and publishers, I was told over and over again – even to my face as I sat in a wheelchair, “No one wants to read about a cripple.”
  • In my interior landscape business and in my network marketing business, more prospects rejected me than did business with me.

However, the rejections weren’t the end of the story:

  • While my erstwhile fiancé was enjoying his summer of freedom to date the girls in his hometown, I met Jack on my summer job. When we returned to school, my old flame was ready to put the engagement ring back on my finger, but by that time I was wearing Jack’s ring. We were married the following summer and have lived happily ever after – for more than forty years.
  • As I learned the job with the employment commission, my boss decided that, rather than being the stupidest person around as he thought, I was the smartest. Of course, it didn’t necessarily make me popular with my coworkers when he said, “Why can’t you do your job like Mrs. Ammann?” But I felt vindicated when I received outstanding performance evaluations – from that supervisor and the ones that succeeded him.
  • After I’d given up on Stroke of Luck ever being published, I found a publisher who was actually looking for books with handicapped characters. Though sales of the book have been modest, I’ve had some wonderful reviews, and, more importantly, have heard from readers that they or someone they loved found encouragement in the story.
  • My interior landscape business grew to become one of the three largest in the area, and I eventually sold it to a national corporation. I earned some nice extra income in the network marketing business and have experienced health improvement from the products.

So, what have I learned from rejection?

  • Rejection by one individual represents only that person’s opinion. My husband didn’t see the same “ugly woman” my college fiancé rejected. He saw me with different eyes.
  • Rejection isn’t permanent. My boss with the employment commission came to judge me on my performance, not on his first impression.
  • One YES can make up for a lot of NOs. No matter how many publishers rejected my story, it took only one acceptance to get the book published.
  • Success is a numbers game. All of us will face rejection many times in our lives. If we pick ourselves up after each rejection and try again, we will succeed. Failure is quitting, giving up, believing the rejections. Success is moving forward (no matter how slowly), getting back up when we fall, and never letting the naysayers have the final word.

Related Posts:
Every “No” Is Just One Step Closer to a “Yes”
Rejection: Your Baby Is Ugly!

This post is a part of Middle Zone Musing’s What I Learned From … group writing project.

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