“I love my rejection slips,” said Sylvia Plath. “They show me I try.”
People are raised to seek out validation, not critique and I am no different. Before I started working I was the kind of person who’d do my best to make sure that I was being commended, a part of me is still that way, but I have learned that true success does not come with constant validation.
People saying no, things not working out, you being challenged by instances; all of these things make for success.
All of these things will also not validate you.
I have been in a lull period with my work in that I have been slightly less busy and had quite a few no’s thrown my way. The no’s aren’t bad, but they are disheartening.
I started thinking to myself, what if this means that I have peaked? What if it’s already gotten as good as it will get – what if all that’s next is a constant stream of ‘No.’
I stewed in that worry for a little while, but then I went out searching for work again and I am slowly coming out of my lull and refocusing. What I have learned is that when you’re doing work that you love and are good at, it won’t be easy.
In school, we’re validated by marks and friend groups, in school we follow style choices set by some unidentifiable being, but in the big wide world a lot of that validation is non-existent and chasing it won’t lead to success.
What will lead to success is coming back from things that knock you down, learning to keep going.
There will be lull periods in your life and in your work, like me you can either fill them up, or you can sit back and enjoy the ride; but as long as you keep moving forward in some way, then you will be okay.
Rejection is just as important as validation, the world doesn’t teach us that, but it is true – and to be truly successful, you’ve got to learn to grow from rejection; because it’s a part of the ride.