Let’s face it: nobody likes being rejected. As much as we dislike to admit it, human beings are like most animals, always looking for acceptance from the pack. But how much rejection can you take before deciding to switch packs or alienate yourself for good? If you are like me and when you started following your dream you knew that quitting was not an option, the answer to this question is simple: you just take it all.
We creatives face rejection every day of our lives. And it hurts, badly. Because for us our creations are like our little babies and nobody wants to hear that they have an ugly baby. We see them as the most beautiful creatures in the world! So when someone says that they don’t like our work or that they think that we should be doing it differently, we automatically feel defeated. But we shouldn’t. Why? Because everyone has the right to have an opinion and opinions are very subjective. This person (client, peer, friend, relative) might not like what you do but the next one coming along might think that your work is the most amazing work in the planet. Learning to deal with feedback is one of the most important skills in the creatives toolset.
So how do you learn how to handle feedback? How do you cope with rejection? Here are a few things that I do that hopefully might work for you as well:
- When it comes to positive feedback I embrace it, I feed my creative ego for a few seconds but I don’t let it go to my head. As I said before, this person’s opinion is subjective. The next person might think my work is rubbish.
- But when it comes to rejection, that’s when I feel that the way you deal with it separates loosers from winners. Negative feedback comes in two flavours and you must be able to identify them. Is it constructive feedback or destructive feedback?
- If it’s constructive, I feel thankful. There are people who are taking their time to help me be better. Then, I analyze the message. Do I agree with what they say? If I follow their advice will my work get better? Do I want to follow their advice? You don’t always have to do what other people suggest you to do. It’s still their subjective opinion. I have had plenty mentors in my career who have given my valuable pieces of advice. Some of them I have followed, some of them I have not. You have the power to decide what to do with the feedback and when to decide to follow it.
- If it’s destructive, I try not to let it affect me. Instead I tell myself that at least my work is not being taken for granted and is causing some sort of reaction. I obviously feel hurt for a moment but then I try to be objective. Is there any true in what this person is saying or are they just being mean? Can I learn something from their words? Either way, I try to find a positive outcome for the experience.
People say that there are only two certain things in life: death and taxes. But I would add a third one: rejection. It’s always going to be there and if you don’t like the idea you might as well move to a deserted island because rejection is inherent to social interaction. Learning to deal with it and to keep on going even after you have heard a thousand “no’s” will only get you closer to the people who will be giving you the “yes”.
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