I never thought I'd say this, but I am really glad I've been rejected.
It saved me from some situations where I wasn't smart enough or too stubborn to see the writing on the wall and too afraid to pursue my real dreams. If I wasn't rejected, I'd still be clinging by my fingernails or doing laps in my comfort zone, completely limiting my potential and impact on the world.
Specifically, I was let go from a non-profit job I held from 2006-2009. I had even moved from my home state of New Jersey (no one there says, JOOISEY, btw) to live in Boston for this job. And after three years of professional (but imperfect) success, traveling around the country and delivering great presentations and building positive relationships with colleagues, I was asked to leave my position. It was six months after helping my friend secure the highest position in the office, and when he called me into his office, I knew something was wrong. Things hadn't been going well for a while, and I played a huge role in why that was, but I hoped that time would help us adjust to our new roles, responsibilities and working relationship.
Nope. He fired me, instead.
And while I sat there, sort of shocked, I remembered the prior evening when I said out loud, "I just wish someone would give me $10K to start my [health coaching] business." Why I chose $10K is a mystery, but I actually GOT what I asked for in my severance, and then some. Imagine if I had asked for $100K?
And I walked out the door, bitter as anything but willing to accept the reality of the situation.
And I started my coaching business--something I had wanted to do for almost a year but I lacked the courage and confidence to do it. I was waiting for some kind of sign, I guess, and boy did I get it!
Six years later, I'm still here. Through a major break up and a gender transition and even graduate school, my business is doing better than ever. My "failure" in my prior "job" helped launch what I was really here to do, or wanted to do, since there is significant overlap. The only thing that took a hit was my ego, and that lasted until I decided to give it up and see the blessing, instead.
I think the reality about rejection is that it is really a blessing in disguise. It helps keep what isn't meant for us AWAY from us to make space for what IS. But we are stubborn idiots who keep wanting what we want, even when all signs point to it not being right or good. It also challenges us to keep going in the face of defeat, which is part of life. It helps us build resiliency which is an incredibly valuable character trait. Why? Because life is a long time, and it will continue to be challenging, so why not build up your muscles around bouncing back as quickly as possible?
What if we stopped seeing rejection as something bad and something helpful and wonderful, instead? Like God or the Universe is sending us a love letter or extra special present. If you aren't spiritual, you can turn it into coincidence or something, I don't know. I'm too connected to my spiritual practice to NOT think about life in those terms, but you don't have to.
What if we considered every NO as an ultimate YES for the thing we really, truly want but aren't being brave or honest enough to pursue? Or haven't even considered but is actually meant for us?
A dear friend of mine tried to get pregnant for a very long time. And it wasn't working and she was completely devastated. All signs pointed to, "you're not meant to be a mom." It's a crushing rejection that many potential families know all too well.
So, she and her husband began to consider the new alternative of adoption. And one day she received a phone call that a miracle baby was waiting for her. He was coming into the world despite tremendous odds---his birth mother had several procedures to prevent more pregnancies, but somehow he was accomplishing the impossible to exist in the world.
Within weeks, he was in my friend's arms and has one of the biggest smiles I've ever seen. Completely healthy. Completely happy. And that family is now complete because they considered an alternative when all the signs pointed in that direction.