Many of you were kind enough to take the time to comment on my repost last week of Dr Darcy Sterling’s blog “Rejected. Thank you – I appreciate it – and am feeling the need to dwell a bit longer – Rejected Pt 2.
This section especially resonated:
“I told people I was applying to this program…I wanted them to see in me a willingness to brave rejection in their presence.”
Right now high school seniors across America are hearing from colleges and I am experiencing the highs and lows of the yeahs and the nays through my daughter and her friends. Even with several letters of acceptance I guess it’s human nature to focus on the rejection and that strangely offensive limbo – the waiting list.
Like not getting the part or the job you know you are right for you can’t help but ask, WHY????
Like casting, it is a brutal process. You’ve worked hard, trained, met the criteria, are a perfect fit according to the marketing materials. The interview (audition) went really well, nay great. You have people putting in a good word for you…and then comes the email that starts “we are sorry…” followed by a lot of words saying how competitive the process is and this was a record-setting year in terms of applications blah, blah, blah…
Pilot season with a non-refundable application fee.
To be fair, unlike auditioning, everyone lands somewhere, for the most part.
But the hard part is the why.
Switching between my casting director, coach and mom hats I can say – with deference to Lord Alfred Tennyson and Margaret Atwood – ours is not to reason why. At least not right away. With distance comes clarity.
In the meantime, there’s often no tangible answer to wrap your head around. You didn’t suck. You were really good. Maybe even really, really good.
But if this helps:
The process doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Your awesomeness isn’t the question. On the college front, maybe there were too many similar people who canceled each other out. Maybe someone really did call last minute to donate a gym and their kid got accepted. Maybe they are downsizing a department to invest in another because there’s grant money. Maybe it was a question of making the gender and racial balance work.
In TV/digital there’s a programming slate, a growth model, a brand direction, advertisers – that’s what drives the process. Maybe you are great but not in the way they need to make their larger business plan work. Maybe you are right for today but they are already looking ahead to where they need to be 5 years from now.
You can’t compete with that. All you can ever do is your best. And leave it in the room.
To quote my friend and executive coach, Roy Cohen, embrace rejection. It means you’re in the game. The more you’re out there, the more you increase your options and opportunities.