Rejection. Ugh. Grrrr. I hate it. HATE it. I remember one "we decline your submission" letter that I sat for hours depressed. Or maybe it was days. I've had so many rejection letters I don't know how long it was. As creatives it's a reality that we have to face.
The 3rd thing I learned at Michaels Store - Michaels Makers Summit - Learn to Eat Rejection. Well I didn't learn it directly from the Summit but more indirectly.
I did this painting in 2009.
Receiving rejection letters would make me question myself. Question my ability. Then berate myself. Next wonder why I even tried. And then go for long periods without creating. I knew I needed to come to terms with rejection. Hence the painting. But it wasn't as easy to embrace as making the painting. In fact, it's been an 8 year battle.
I entered the Michaels Makers Summit contest on the last day. Why wait until the last day? Because somewhere inside I just figured I wouldn't win a spot. But on the last day I thought, "If I don't enter then I have guaranteed no chance and I've written the rejection letter myself." Truth bombs hurt. So I entered. Then I got the acceptance email and something clicked.
Shortly after, I actually entered another contest I KNEW I wouldn't win. Who does that? I did. And I will again. I realized I'd come to terms with rejection. I saw so many other benefits (like making myself deliver on deadline, creating patterns, analyzing the brief, etc) from participating even despite the known rejection. By the end of designing for the contest I wanted to be rejected because I was so pleased with my output that I wanted it for other things. This happened twice this summer. That's when I realized that I had a place for rejection.
As I sat at the summit having a great experience I thought to myself, "Self, you almost didn't enter because you feared being rejected." That would have been a big mistake. So I'm glad I've learned to eat rejection instead. It's made me stronger.
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