• emkate_utter

100 Rejections

Updated: Aug 11, 2018

In May I delivered a Pecha Kucha about my 'creative journey' as part of the Look Again Festival in Aberdeen. I decided to take a slightly different approach to sharing my story, and be totally open and honest about one huge aspect of my journey: my failures.

The feedback was incredibly positive, quite a few people told me they found my approach refreshing: 'We don't talk often enough about that side of things', (the things that go wrong), especially when we're standing up in front of a large group of industry professionals. Which is kind of ridiculous, really, because I'm sure that we had plenty of rejections between us.

The fact is, rejections are generally, quite rightly, negative experiences. My best pal once told me, years ago, (regarding a relationship quandary) that we're always pre-disposed to believe our negative reviews. That stuck with me. Why do we do that? My instinct is that it is a universal thing, but that women are more likely than men to take a negative review and run with it.

In terms of receiving feedback, I've worked extremely hard over the years to try and balance the positive with the negative, and not, at the drop of a hat, assume that the negative review is the one worth dwelling on. Personally, that meant growing a thick skin: feedback will not always be positive - nor will it always be constructive. It also means asking for feedback when I know I'm ready to hear it, and asking for feedback from peers I can trust and who know what it is I am trying to achieve. I took a whole year out from getting feedback and it was an extremely valuable experience - I learned to trust my gut. I became my own bullshit detector.

I read an article recently that put me onto the goal-oriented approach of aiming for 100 rejections a year and letting the successes take care of themselves. Fresh from a rather frustrating rejection it was exactly what I needed to get me back on track. The idea is that by aiming for those rejections, you apply for and submit to things you may not have otherwise and in the process you open yourself up to more opportunities. Yes, you get loads of rejections, but there's bound to be a few successes in there as well. It's essentially a numbers game.

Being a bit late to the game, there's no way I'll get to 100 by the end of the year. But I did write up a wee tally of where I'm at just now:

Rejections: IIIII

Successes: III

The tally comes from things I've either applied for or submitted to. This is not counting awesome things that have just fallen into my lap. The big rejection from a few weeks ago has motivated me to pursue a similar opportunity (one that, as it turns out, is better suited to me anyway). I have a few other applications and submissions out there in the universe as well, and I'm genuinely interested and excited - either way - to see what side of the table they fall on.

According to the Chinese zodiac, this is not a good year for dragons. It's a fire year, and as a wood dragon, I could risk overheating - so to speak. But 2018 is supposed to be all about enduring and persevering - laying low and sewing your seeds - so that in 2019 you can reap the rewards. This resonates with me on plenty of levels just now.

What's your tally? Anyone reached 100 yet?