How to build resilience against rejections as a Creative

Practical ways to overcome inevitable rejections

A sketch note of Viv Groskop's podcast, How to own the room with Marisha Wallace

Creativity is about pushing boundaries, making connections that aren’t obvious, and thinking of things that have never been done before. Unfortunately, not everything you create will be a raging success and therefore it is essential to understand that failure and creativity go hand in hand. A bit like Joy and Sadness in Pixar’s film, Inside Out, you can’t have one without the other.

When you’re exploring new ideas, of course there will be some that don’t work. But you must kiss a few frogs to get to the good stuff. Failure is inevitable, so you need a strong sense of self-belief as a Creative to be unafraid of getting it wrong, riding out the rocky ideas, and separating your work from your skill.

Strengthen your rejection stamina

I’ve had *cough* thousands of rejections over the course of my career, and there will be many more to come. Job applications, award submissions, ideas I’ve put forward, creative proposals, you name it. I feel like I’ve broken through part of a rejection barrier now. It’s like running; when you build up your strength, the first stretch is tiring but once you push past that, you get into the flow and start to enjoy the process. A few rejections can easily put you off going any further, but once you get into the habit of putting yourself out there, it starts to get a little easier.

If you’re like me, you’ll love the opportunity to flex your creative muscles and enjoy the process of pulling together your application, ideas, or proposal. Taking that final step to submit your work only takes a few seconds but takes gallons of mental strength to cross the finish line. It doesn’t matter whether the answer is a “yes” or “no” because you’re a true Creative and can repurpose your work somewhere else. Quality work never goes to waste.

How to be brave in the face of constant rejection

“It’s the biggest act of bravery to put yourself out there like that.”

Marisha Wallace

As Viv highlights, bravery is not the absence of fear; it is combining insecurity with judgement and going ahead to pursue your goals anyway. As a Creative, the biggest takeaway for me was reframing ‘rejection’ as ‘redirection’ which leads you to the path you’re supposed to take. Work on being the best version of yourself to go to where you want to go faster and create for the many people who want to see your work.

“What’s for you will never pass you”

Marisha Wallace

To build your resilience against inevitable rejections as a Creative, keep putting yourself out there, be brave, recognise your superpower, let go of perfection, be a role model for others, be your authentic self, and create for the people who accept you. Don’t waste your time on worrying about rejections.

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