Archive for September 22nd, 2008

Rejecting The Three Big Rejection Traps

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

“The boy will come to nothing.” (Jakob Freud, father of Sigmund)

“We don’t like their sound. Groups of guitars are on their way out.” (Decca Records, rejecting the Beatles in 1962)

“Balding. Can’t act. Can’t sing. Dances a little.” (Warner Bros. talent scout, on Fred Astaire)

Have you ever experienced Rejection from a loved one or colleague? If not, be patient – your time is coming.

I won’t go so far as to say that Rejection and I are old friends, but we are acquaintances of long standing. And if I’ve learned one thing from the experience, it is that you and I are making 3 big mistakes when we accept another person or group’s Rejection as a universal truth about ourselves.

Here’s what I mean: I have a beautiful wife and a wonderful son whom I love more than life itself. But I wouldn’t have known either of them these past two decades, if the first Mrs. Tanner hadn’t traded me in.

Nor would I have worked with the same group of musicians for the past 28 years, unless my previous band had kicked me out.

You see, just because I wasn’t right for somebody doesn’t mean that I’m wrong for everybody. So, our first big mistake is to give those who reject us the power to define how we view ourselves.

Our second mistake comes when – in order to forestall rejection – we attempt to become all things to all people. Or – as Bill Cosby so eloquently phrased it: “I don’t know what the key to Success is, but the key to Failure is trying to please everyone.”

When you decide against a particular pair of new shoes, they may simply be a bad fit. Likewise, we don’t fit in with every person or group. But that has as much to do with who the others are as it does with ourselves. All we can – or should – do is to be true to ourselves, while striving to always do right by others.

Does this mean we should not be open to constructive advice from the people in our lives? Not at all. But – as Donald Trump advises – “Consider the source. Should this person’s opinion matter to you? If so, take a few minutes to consider if you can learn anything helpful from the criticism.”

While you evaluate the gap between how you picture yourself and how certain others view you, try to avoid Mistake Number Three – selling yourself short. Remember the immortal words of Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, who said: “It is too early for a Polish pope.” (Two days later, he became John Paul II.)