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Last week, writer and Buzzfeed’s AM to DM host Saeed Jones (The Ferocity) began a conversation on Twitter by sharing a quick note of his many rejections from Breadloaf, the annual writer’s conference at Middlebury College.
He’s since gone on to write and curate content for Buzzfeed, host their live video program, and author two books, the latest on Simon & Schuster’s forthcoming roster.
In his tweet, he asked folks to share their own rejections, hoping to crowdsource some good examples of rejection failure — and subsequent successes:
Let’s just say there are a lot of people out there who have been rejected. A lot. And they’re all sharing their experiences (you can see them by checking out the hashtag #ShareYourRejections, or the hashtag #ShareYourRejection for people who can’t follow directions!)
I’m loving the updates; there are some big names there, opening up about some seriously harsh rejection they’ve experienced in life. It’s a great reminder that when you start putting yourself out there, you will probably experience rejection.
Whether it is professional or personal (ugh, who among us hasn’t worked up the gumption to finally ask someone out or admit our feelings to that special person, only to have the object of our affections decline our interest), rejection is hard. And scary. And often seems like a good enough reason to not even try, or to give up.
Now, I’ve gotta be honest with you. The hashtag is a bit of the Survivorship Bias that runs rampant among successful folks. Which makes me cringe, even though I love getting inspired reading all those messages.
Those who say “Yes, I struggled before, but I was able to work through it and overcome” are sometimes outliers.
I don’t want to tell you that every article you write will be accepted somewhere. That every book you toil away at will pick up a six-figure publishing contract. That every business idea will be the business idea that makes you a millionaire.
There’s no way to guarantee that if you keep chipping away at something, it will eventually land. Sometimes rejection doesn’t lead to success…it just leads to rejection.
The secret is in learning from the rejection, figuring out what you need to adjust for next time (and actually doing it), and deciding whether you dare to take a chance on it happening again.
I hope you do.