The Upside of Rejection, Part III: Motivation Builder


Rejection as motivation builder? Am I smoking something? Yes rejection stinks. Worse than my daughter's diaper pail at the end of a hot summer week. I was reminded of this earlier in the week, when a plum job opportunity floated into our household, only to be booted out with an abrupt rejection. (Begging the question of whether it's possible to invite rejection by writing about it...)

There's nothing but pain in the Rejection Process. I totally get it. Too vividly at the moment.

BUT, after the pain, there's something more. Or at least I theorize that there is. If we do things right.

So I give to you, for the first time ever, an RFT Original Theory, presented in graphical form. (You've been breathlessly awaiting this day. Admit it.)

As you can see, I theorize the following:

  • Our motivation climbs from our typical, baseline level when we're working on applying to a job or graduate program (this may include the application itself, a round of interviews, requests to stand on your head, what-have-you).
  • We then sit at baseline for a while - sometimes a LONG while - waiting to hear our fate. (The fingernails dwindle into nothingness.)
  • Rejection hits! NOOOOOO! (To be said like Rachel on Friends.)
  • Despair, bitterness, hopelessness, a 5-pound weight gain borne completely of Pop Rocks and Slim Jims follows. (Why Slim Jims? Beats me.)
  • But here's the good part:  I strongly believe that once we get over the rejection, we not only can find a more authentic path and be open to serendipity - the topics of the first two posts of our rejection series - but we can also reach a NEW baseline level of motivation, such that we're more fueled than we were before the rejection.

To get that boost in motivation, though, we have to do two crucial things:

  1. Not ignore the rejection. We have to be willing to look the rejection in the face, think about what it means, and regroup with a plan that's true to ourselves and that intentionally compensates for any weaknesses exposed during the Rejection Process.
  2. Be open to looking everywhere but where you've been looking. In the early phase of the Rejection Process, we're so hyperfocused on one goal that we tend to forget to think about the goals that may be waiting for us in the absence of that particular goal. Clear as pond scum? Alright, let's try an example:  All of the rejections my hubby & I have faced in the recent past have been freeing up tons of time for the goal I'm most fascinated by - and most afraid of:  making a real go of building this blog into a fully-functioning business, complete with freebies like live, no-pitch, kick butt webinars; email newsletters chock full of useful stuff; and blog posts that deliver valuable content readers can USE; alongside paid products like expanded coaching services, e-books, and online courses, such as on the topic Should I Go to Grad School? Sometimes rejection is the very thing we need to keep a dream alive. Especially a dream that we'd love to run from. Bottomline:  At times we're our own worst enemies and we may be rejected so that we get our heads screwed on straight and finally get down to our real work.

And that's that. All the thoughts I've ever had about rejection. And then some. As we wrap up our rejection series, I want to hear your closing thoughts on rejection. What did I miss? What did I get wrong? What do you still want to know?

Programming note:  Speaking of the anxiety-and-avoidance-inducing new website, this is the last time you'll hear from me before it launches on Monday the 24th. (Albeit a soft launch; I don't anticipate everything will be fully functional, but since it's just you guys and me at this point - i.e., my super-supportive seedling crew who have enabled me to dream big - I can totally handle that.) This site will have posts next week, though, before the changeover occurs:  two awesome guest posts by twentysomethings! I hope you enjoy them.

See you on the other side of my fear!