I don't think people running a small business talk about rejection all that often - I know I don't. It's the sort of thing you don't really want to shout about as I guess it makes you appear as a 'failure' and we naturally worry that it might make our business look bad. I guess that might be true and although I am not going to talk about specifics I do want to share some thoughts on rejection today. I experienced it recently (and it could be anything from not winning a job, not getting a stall at a market you wanted to sell at, not being featured somewhere etc) and it knocked me a little bit and my natural reaction was to let it get me down and make me doubt and question myself. I wanted to think about it a little deeper though and try and look at it from a more positive perspective. I came up with three points to keep reminding myself of that actually really helped so I thought it would be good to share!
1. Your worth is not tied up in your creative business and work.
I think this is hard to remember because so much of our identities are tied up in our 'career' and what we do but even if your business/creative activities stopped tomorrow you would still have worth as a human being and something to offer to the world. Although it would be hard, your creativity and your work is not the only important and valuable thing about you. It really helps me to be reminded of this, and even if everything doesn't work out with my small business and even if it isn't considered a 'success' it won't have been a waste because I have, and am learning a lot, and I still have something to offer.
2. Everyone has to deal with it - even the people who you think are 'successful'
It is always really encouraging to me when people who I class as 'successful' in this industry open up about their journey and often you realise that it hasn't been smooth or quick for them, it is often slow and difficult, full of ups and down and has involved a lot of hard work. Everybody has to deal with rejection and things not going exactly how they planned and so I find it helpful to remember that this is normal. I work in a creative industry and that is full of subjectivity. Not everyone is going to like my work or want to buy what I make and that is ok - and that is the same for other wildly successful businesses too. It would be pretty sad if we all had the same taste and liked the exact same things. Recently I have made friends with other people doing similar things to me but who are maybe further along on the journey and they have been so generous sharing the behind the scenes to me, and opening up about struggles they have had. It really does make it easier to remember that failure and rejection is part of the process and everyone goes through it.
3. Keep going and get better at what you do
A lot of people don't deal well with rejection (understandably) but they let it defeat them and give up. Sometimes it is right to call it a day and change direction but a lot of the time you just need to keep going - and get better, learn from your mistakes, try again, work out what you can do different next time and grow a better and stronger business as a result. I am really trying to do this...and when I have thoughts of giving up I remember that there are ups and downs and that I just need to keep going and try harder.
I often get into bad thought patterns and things spiral a bit out of control, so having these three things to remember and keep reminding myself of has really helped and encouraged me. Do you have any ways of dealing with rejection? I would love to hear if you do.
I hope you all have a great Friday and a lovely weekend!