Today I wanted to touch on the oh-so-lovely topic of REJECTION. Its not pretty, its not necessarily fun, and tears are normally shed, but ask around to anyone who’s come a long way from where they started, and its down right crucial to their success. This success doesn’t mean you just plain thicken your skin and protect yourself further from the world around you, it means by after putting yourself out there, in a very scary “this is my first time and I’ve never done it before now… because I was scared to look stupid” manner, you have faced realities, critique, a lesson, and an opportunity to grow, now stronger and more equipped then before. Every time I’ve faced rejection, after my broken heart begins to heal (normally after a night of crying and a week or two of pretending everything’s fine), Ive absolutely gained clarity AND conviction.
Rejection helps me remember how important certain things are and gives me a chance to confirm that I absolutely, without a doubt am going to continue to go after them. Even better- it helps me realize what NOT to focus my energy on and what to absolutely throw myself into. When Im rejected, I clearly have a situation close their door to me to either realize 1) I need to knock back on it after learning what didn’t go right the first time or 2) realize that the next door over makes SO much more sense, I just didnt see it before. The times that hurt the worst, and feel the most abandoning to our dreams, are the ones that will mold us the most. I know this first hand, as many of you too can relate. Thats why I wanted to further connect with you all and hopefully help (as small as it may be) with any difficult times you may have encountered, are going through right now, or will be sure to face. This is the first time Im openly rehashing some sensitive stories of rejection… for hopefully your and my growing pleasure.
My 5 reasons why I, personally, LOVE rejection:
1) LOVE: If I never had the courage to ask out a guy to a Christmas dance with a big fat no at the other end of the phone, I would have never accrued the experience to meet the man Im in love with today. I completely bee lined for my now boyfriend when we first met. I couldnt resist, and if I hadnt had years of being comfortable asking people out (even if it meant dances in grade school and less than formal dates in college) then I wouldnt have had the cahoneys to chat up the blue eyed dimpled love of my life Im with now. All the no’s and shut doors growing up as an awkward kid AND adult helped me with the “whats there to lose?” attitude that landed me my best friend.
2) INJURY– Rejection from my own body. Now this one plays a huge role in who I am today. Growing up I tried tons of sports out that I just didnt click with. My poor Dad just wanted me to move, have fun, meet friends, and learn how to work with a team- but I learned so much more in my later years encountering 3 major knee injuries. I have torn both ACLs and had multiple meniscus trouble, as well as subluxing patellars (dislocating knee caps). As a young kid, this really shattered my confidence as a player, as I felt my body was rejecting my desires to be Mia Hamm. Despite tons of rehab, getting back in shape and gaining confidence towards the ends of seasons, Id get injured again. I finally hung up my soccer cleats in college…after going to a University with all intentions to play, I called the coach …crying surprise surprise…alone …having no one but my Mom in my dorm room to break down to, confirming that I would not be coming back to tryouts due to my injury that happened AGAIN on the first day. I vividly remember all the soccer gear laying on my bed we had bought before my tryout that said “DePauw University Soccer” all over it, with the reality of giving up soccer forever. I never really played again…but what happened? I found group exercise, became an instructor, coached a Little 5 team with no experience, and kicked some major tail as a cyclist and fitness leader. After my body rejected me for so many years in soccer, it led me to appreciate my health and the ability to find alternatives where I feel MORE than a rockstar than I did when always rehabbing for soccer. It was meant to be and I had no idea thats what all that was for. I do now.
3) POPULARITY– Rejection from pretty, rich, and popular girls…ouch. In college, not only did I go to DPU thinking Id play soccer, but I also felt excited about the sorority program. A bunch of new friends, social events, formals and charitable causes? Sign me up! I rushed a sorority not one time, but twice, and got rejected not only one time but twice. I could go the long route of the story, again more tears and sulking, but after going out a lot and compensating for not being in a house, I began to really come into my own at DPU as a leader. Being the president of my Diversity Organization, Being a Fitness Instructor, Cycling Coach, Winning different “Independent” contests so we could live in the coolest residential area on campus, and forming close friendships with some amazing gals that the Greek system didnt work out for- but, like me, DIDNT give up, didnt transfer, and had a ball at a college where we were the minority. I still lived up my experience at DPU and had amazing memories, but because of the rejection from the pretty, rich, and popular girls, which I now dont take personal at all- in fact still close friends with all sorts of previous Greek girls and guys, I was more prepared for life. Youre not going to get asked back everywhere, or many places, maybe just one or two, but the communities you can build yourself are often the best ones. Especially if theyre inclusive versus exclusive. I wouldnt be the community builder I am today if I hadnt been rejected by some major ones in college.
4) SALES I applied for a handful of sales jobs that never called me back before I was hired at Angie’s List. I finally nailed an interview (couldnt have been a better place) where my future manager asked me if I had a “lack of fear of rejection” in which I responded, “Absolutely.” Good thing I prepared myself by confirming that that was completely fine in my book, because the job led to no’s ALL THE TIME- hello sales. I wouldnt have had that lack of fear if I hadnt had my fair share growing up. I was hungry to make my name in the world post graduation, so no’s meant nothing as long as I could move on and accomplish my goal with the few “yes’s” that mattered. I apply this to almost anything in life now, and it helps me with my lack of fear. Which is just another way of saying, “yeah rejection is scary and it sucks, but you gotta blast past it in order find your ideal customer who’s more than ready to go and will make all the no’s worthwhile”. Im still in sales 5 years later, and I still dont mind the “no’s”, because I love what I do.
5) CAREER/PASSION rejection. Im sure many of you read how excited I was to be named an Oakley ambassador. I was able to rep the brand for a year, meet the most fantastic ladies ever with such ambition and proof that you can have a life and career in fitness, and travel to some wild places (Napa Valley, Ca and Snowbird, Utah). However a year later they mentioned that they were going to be doing revisions to the team based on location and fit of the brand, and unfortunately myself and a handful of ladies didnt quite get continued. I definitely, guess what, cried and felt hurt and wondered what was wrong with me… but after the normal cycle of “what, why, and how come” questions in my head, I realized that as great as an opportunity as this was, I can now really focus on my business. Theres a time in my life where I wanted to talk about anything and everything that was cool, be a part of anything that was shiny and moved in fitness, not commit to one thing, and not decide on anything either. However, with the closed door with Oakley, I realized I could really promote “Like the Lettuce” and focus on my own events, my own challenges, and what I specifically can offer to further my goal in this whole process: helping others with health and fitness. As amazing as the gear is and the overall message behind Oakley, it didnt make me, and it wasnt necessary to be a better leader, helper, fitness instructor or health coach. That was all inside…and its something I needed to be challenged on, realize and move forward with in confidence that Im absolutely doing the right thing, whether or not Im the right fit or in the right location to be sponsored by a brand. I can walk away SO thankful for the opportunity to grow and connect versus bitter from a door shut. I have Oakley to thank for a year of encouragement, belief in myself, amazing trips to fascinating places, and connecting with inspiring ladies who are just as after their dream as anyone else. I have them to thank for the opportunity to put myself out there and an opportunity to help me better focus my dreams as a health coach.
Id be tickled to hear your stories of rejection and how its helped you. Comment below on how YOU love rejection so you can help your fellow lettuce-head put themselves out there in the game! We are always learning, growing, and fine tune-ing. Thanks to rejection, there will always be a chance for further clarity and conviction…so I dare you to start falling in love with it too.