A couple of years ago I received this email from an editor in response to my pitch application for an open freelance writer position:
“Thanks so much for your submission. Unfortunately, we had a really strong group of writers this time around, so we won’t be able to bring you on board. Good luck with everything, though.”
If you thought that was bad, check out this email response:
“After much deliberation, we have decided to move forward with other candidates whose skills more closely match our requirements at this time. This was a difficult decision and, we realize, most likely a disappointing one for you. We hope that you will look upon the selection process as a valuable experience in your on-going personal and career development.”
You’re probably wondering why I kept these messages. I do it for two reasons. It helps me remember how far I’ve come when I look back at them.
For each of these messages, I have about 20 to 30 other messages telling me how much they were inspired by a piece I wrote or how happy they were with the service the team I lead provided.
Plot twist: I don’t keep these messages. Well, the majority of them anyway.
Remembering rejection lets me know what I’m made of. Resistance can either build or break. I choose to let rejection build me up to the level that no opportunity is big enough for me to not shoot my shot.
“What if?” is a 50/50 question. At least rejection lets you know where you stand. What you do with that information will determine how successful you decide to be.