Wednesday, April 17, 2013


My friend, co-author and favorite editor today asked me to explore the importance of learning to handle rejection. The topic came up when he asked how many times certain books of mine were rejected before I ultimately found a publisher. The range was from 1 to well over a hundred (and I still have not found an agent for my memoir- but that is a different  story!)

Here's the truth- you are going to be rejected. Or really, you will not be rejected, but your work will be rejected. That is an important distinction. Too often, when scholars have an article or some piece of work rejected, they take it as a sign of personal failure or inadequacy. They become rejection phobic, and start to not produce work, in fear of subjecting themselves to the painful emotions associated with their fear of rejection.

You have to develop thick skin,  and resolve your emotional and cognitive barriers, and realize that your work is going to be rejected. You have to learn to be ok with it.And the more you write, the more rejection you are going to have. If you struggle with feeling rejected and become demoralized when an article gets trashed, you have some work to do. If you don't, you are going to have a painful career, and the pain you feel from perceiving yourself as being rejected is going to get in your way.

Self help book, therapist, best friend, journal, or coach: work on that fear of, and over-attachment to, rejection.

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