It won’t kill you. You think it will. You think that if you ask and get rejected, or if you go for it and don’t make it, then it means something bad about you. That you are less than: less than worthy, less than others, just less. So you don’t ask. You choose not to go for it: the job, the client, the project, the book deal. You don’t ask for the opportunity, for the date, the favour, the support.
It can feel safer to stay where you are. But it’s not safer, it’s just you may be stuck in the proverbial comfort zone. Stuck for fear of failure. For fear of someone saying no. For fear of the dreaded rejection.
But here’s the message that will set you free. Rejection won’t kill you. It won’t. It may sting a little. It may feel like a set back. It might even hurt for a while. But you won’t die. You will survive it.
If you keep moving and trying and hoping, it will get you to your next thing, your next opportunity, your next yes. The no’s you receive along the way to your dream are the no’s you need to become who you’re meant to be. Pile them up. Pin them on the wall. Celebrate every single one them. Say a quiet thank you.
We all fail a million times in our lives. We fail in our personal lives: relationships end, we fail in our parenting, we miss the opportunity to show up for someone. And we can certainly fail in our professional endeavours. Best selling author Stephen King’s manuscript Carrie was rejected dozens of times before he landed a book deal. Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, received more than 60 rejections for the manuscript that went on to be one of the highest selling books and highest billing movies of all time. Michael Jordan, arguably the best basketball player in the history of the game, was kicked off his high school basketball team.
Sara Blakely, founder of women’s apparel company Spanx, was taught by her father that failure is everything on the path to success, a lesson that served her well. As she was trying to get her idea for her hosiery product up when she was 27, she was rejected from every company she approached. They didn’t see the value in her idea. Then one man said he would back her concept and the rest, well, you know what they say. She should know about success, Spanx is valued at more than a billion dollars.
Here are four ways you can learn to fail and thrive:
- Give yourself permission – give your permission to try lots of new things, or to go for the one really big thing you’re dreaming about. And give yourself the permission to fail if that’s what you need to get to the next yes. If you have a growth mindset then everything is a learning experience, so take the lesson and move on.
- Hold it lightly – we can get very serious about it all can’t we? The job, the date, even the kid’s cake stand at school. We don’t want to mess it up. Sometimes there’s a lot riding on it – like that job you need to pay the rent – but much of the time, if we fail we just get to move on to the next thing. So stop taking it all so seriously. You’re going to be ok.
- Fail fast – If it’s inevitable that you’re going to fail, and you can usually tell, then do it quickly and get it over with. Don’t agonise over the fact that you’re going to fail. Complete the cycle so you can get to the next success.
- Don’t give up on everything – It’s not so much the failure that gets most of us. It’s how long we stay down licking our wounds after the fact. Take a minute. Do what you need to do to heal that wound, restore yourself, renew your confidence. And then get back at it – whether that’s your career, your business, your relationship status or your life in general. Get back in the game.
- Be kind to yourself – Pratice self-compassion and speak kindly to yourself. I’m talking about your inner dialogue here. Go easy. Beating yourself up will not help you. Speak to yourself like your best friend would, calmly, kindly and with the faith that just because this didn’t go as you had hoped, it doesn’t mean that you won’t win next time.
- Remember, rejection won’t kill you. Failure won’t stop you. Unless you let it. Believe in yourself. And keep moving forward.
Women Love Tech would like to thank Megan Dalla-Camina for her article.
Megan Dalla-Camina is a best selling author, speaker, award winning entrepreneur and business coach. Her latest book is Simple Soulful Sacred: A Woman’s Guide to Clarity, Comfort and Coming Home to Herself. For more visit megandallacamina.com.
Simple Soulful Sacred by Megan Dalla-Camina RRP: AU$22.99 Publisher: Hay House