This week I received two rejections: one from Amazon Studios, and another from the popular blog site Hello Giggles, famously ran by Zoey Deschanel. As a writer/actor/blogger I face an insane amount of rejection. But in reality, we all face a large amount of rejection throughout our lives, and it’s how we respond to it that determines our destiny. As one of the few black kids in my elementary school growing up I was rejected by classmates constantly. The only time I was not rebuffed by them is when I was on stage as the lead in a play, or performing in the talent show.
As an actor/writer you’re constantly told you suck. Really…you’re told your audition was not up to par, you are not skinny enough, pretty enough, tall enough, black enough, white enough, funny enough, and so on. I know so many of you have faced the same things. You have been on what seems like hundreds of job interviews that never pan out. Your relationships seem to never go anywhere, you just can’t save enough, or your career goals seem incredibly far-fetched. So, how can facing constant rejection actually help you? Here’s how rejection made me a total badass.I wrote To Live & Date in LA the webseries in a few short months, all eighteen episodes. Then, I thought they all sucked, and I re-wrote them a bazillion times. I had no budget, and frankly no money for a budget (my job pays me pennies) and no equipment, location or actors. What I did have, was an arsenal of rejections in my mental compartment. I barely got called in to audition and when I did I rarely received a callback.
Agents never called me in no matter how many times I submitted, and the one agent that did call me in told me I needed to, “talk blacker” watch the episode I wrote about that experience in this post. With all of the odds stacked against me and help from my parents, I wrote, cast, filmed, edited, produced, did hair/makeup and everything else you can think of to get my seres made. I knew there’d never be any studio heads calling me to make my show, so I used that rejection energy to fuel my determination and got it done.
Rejections have been such a constant in my life, that I use them to make me even more aggressive in achieving my goals. My mom was such a badass. She literally never took no for an answer and always found a way to accomplish her goals. That’s exactly how rejection has made me a badass. Everyone at some point in your life will reject you or your ideas. Whether that be your family members, friends, agent, supervisor or partner. What you have to do is literally train yourself to not let other people’s rejection of you determine your destiny.
If I had let every rejection deter me then I never would have started blogging. My posts would not have been featured on Uptown Magazine’s digital site (uptownmagazine.com/author/cjones). I would not have written To Live & Date in LA as a series. It would not have made it into the Women’s Fashion & Film Festival etc. My point is when we let rejections deter us we literally miss out on events, people and circumstances that can change our lives. You have to be your own motivator and not seek validation from other people to start living the life you want. Kick yourself into badass mode and keep going.
You will accomplish your goals. Your dreams may seem impossible but with patience, like an obscene amount of patience, hard work, and self motivation you can accomplish them. You’re going to want to quit one million times, so you better kick yourself into bad ass mode one billion times. Overnight successes rarely happen, and if they do, they are usually fleeting. Build for the long haul not a quick buck, because it will go as fast as it came. Which rejection are you allowing to hold you back? Let that go. I am keeping the rejection email from Amazon for one reason: to motivate me to try harder, be better, write more, and never give up. So, you can’t give up either. Let’s do this.
Have a motivation mantra? Holding onto past rejections and unable to let them go? Sound off below and let’s motivate each other!
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