I don’t know anyone who likes rejection, but sometimes it can be a blessing.
Today’s “no” can pave the way for a much better “yes” tomorrow.
Let me share a personal example that illustrates how this can happen. A few years ago, when I discovered my passion for inspirational public speaking, I started looking for an audience apart from my friends. I decided to start locally at public libraries, so I went to the one near my house and inquired with the manager about giving free classes on how to create a life according to our dreams. The series of talks would be based on my personal story of emerging successfully from a small Ukrainian town to prosper in the land of opportunities, the United States.
I aspired to spread the word within the community. I was confident and hopeful that this would give me a great start in developing a speaking career. However, my intentions were crushed when I received an email of rejection from the library manager. I was truly devastated. I thought,
“If people don’t want to receive my services for free, how am I going to turn my passion into business?” It shut me down for quite some time.
Looking back, I now realize that it was a good thing the library manager said “no” to me. It propelled me to look for other venues where I could practice and polish my speaking skills. I joined Toastmasters, where I had an opportunity to speak almost every week and receive an evaluation and feedback from the other members of the group. When I first got on stage in front of an unknown audience, I realized that I wasn’t very good. I didn’t have enough clarity in my message; my flow was not smooth and easy; and I was missing the “aha” moments, as well as the entertainment, drama and excitement: all essential elements in making a great speech.
I’ve now studied and listened to many great speakers, and come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a “natural” great speaker. “Every master was once a disaster” is a phrase that accurately describes world-class speakers. It takes hours of practice to become a “natural.”
I wasn’t a polished speaker at first, but I had a supportive audience in Toastmasters pointing out my strengths and helping me overcome my weaknesses. Even when I would go blank, forget my lines, or get visibly nervous, I still had attentive listeners. When I wanted to give empowering classes at the library, I didn’t know or have what it actually took to be a good speaker. I just had a burning desire and a great deal of impatience. Given the opportunity, I surely would have floundered, delivering a devastating blow to my confidence. I’ve since learned that it is not enough just to have a passion; I must have competence and that takes patience and practice. A lot of practice…
Furthermore, no matter how much I love reading and books, libraries are not always the most inspiring places to hang out today. It is unfortunate, but many homeless people now frequent libraries in my area, and they are doing everything but reading books and learning, often causing disruptions. While I value all people and respect their individual journeys, it was unlikely that I would have found an interested and attentive audience for my message among the “regular crowd” at this branch. As Russian writer Sergei Dovlatov said, “It is pointless to suggest an idea of the flavor of melon to a man who has been chewing footwear laces for years.”
One of my favorite quotes from Steve Jobs is,
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will connect in the future.”
My dots have connected: I am speaking in front of interested audiences now, receiving invitations to share my message and story at universities and schools. I have the honor and privilege to be mentored by world-class speakers. I am in a growth environment, one filled with people who inspire and motivate me.
The library’s rejection was indeed a blessing in disguise. So I remind you: Don’t be afraid of rejections because they can serve as springboards for something amazing to come in your life. And never take rejections personally. It is not what happens to us—it is what we make out of what happens to us.
Anna Trishch is a lover of life, an author, a life coach and a public speaker. Coming from a very modest background in a small Ukrainian town, she faced many challenges and financial hardships as a child and teenager. Although Anna’s parents were loving and caring, they came from a victimhood mentality that did not resonate with her soul. A believer that we are the creators of our own life, Anna went on to study at Ostroh Academy, one of the best Ukrainian universities. Today, she speaks four languages and lives her dream life in Miami. She helps people to discover the universal truth about human greatness and unlimited human potential; it is never about resources, but always about resourcefulness. Visit her online at www.annatrishch.com, email email@example.com or call 786-768-4130.