"Rejection isn't failure....Failure is giving up. Everybody gets rejected. It's how you handle it that determines where you'll end up." Richard Castle, from ABC's Castle (in reference to his first manuscript rejection that he had framed in his office)
I love Castle on ABC. I love the storyline, the characters, Nathan Fillion...there is nothing about this show that I don't like.
I was on the phone with a friend a few days ago, discussing my manuscript. I submitted it into a contest and those who will move to the second round will be announced tomorrow. At the time of this conversation though, tomorrow was still a week away, and I was already panicking. Not that there was anything I could do. It was still a week away, and no matter what I did, I wouldn't know the results sooner than that. But she referenced an episdoe of Castle during my mini freak out and it got me thinking.
In my last post, I talked about how we all needed totry, even if our chance of success was a lot smaller than our chance of failing. But I was wrong. Failure would be not trying at all. A rejection or elimination doesn't mean that I failed and that it's over. It just means that I need to try again, and try harder. But it's not a failure.
Failure would be if I took that elimation or rejection and let it consume me. Let it tell me that I wasn't a writer, that I wasn't good enough to try again. Failure would be letting the fear of that rejection take away what I love, and what I love is writing. No one can take that away from me. I am a writer, whether five people read my work or 5 million.
I'm not saying I won't be devasted if I do get eliminated tomorrow. Because I know I will be. But I won't let it take away part of who I am. I will use it to make the part of me better than it ever was.
This is my challenge: Don't let failure define who you are.
Too often I have given into failure. I was scared of failing, it was one of my biggest fears. So I held back, stood back quietly and didn't try for certain things because I didn't want to fail. I didn't realize until recently that I was failing myself the whole time. By not trying, I was failing anyway.
I've let people walk out of my life because I didnt want them to reject me if I tried to fight for them. I was scared of the rejection, scared of failing to keep them in my life. But I failed anyway, letting them go without them knowing how much I wanted them to stay. It's too late to do that differently. Too late to tell them how I felt, too much time has passed for it to make a difference. But my challenge is to not let it be too late again. Don't be so afraid to fail that you refure to try. Because that is failure on its own.
So whether it's an opportunity, a person, an experience, etc., put yourself out there. Do what needs to be done, say what needs to be said. You may get rejected, you may not get the outcome you want, but you won't fail. You can't fail, not if you at least try.
So while I await the results for tomorrow, I will fret and worry and probably do a lot of pacing. And hopefully I will be celebrating once the results are posted (and then once that excitement wears off, will go back to fretting and worrying about the eliminations for the next round). But if I'm not celebrating moving on to the next stage, then I will celebrate getting to perfect my manuscript and sending it elsewhere (after eating an entire tub of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and watching some sappy movie so I can pretend I'm sad for the characters in the movie, not because I was rejected...). One rejection does not mean it will never get accepted by someone. One hundred rejections don't mean that either. All it takes is one person to say yes. One person to say yes that makes every no worthwhile.
So look failure in the eye and tell it to get lost. Because someone out there will say yes, so don't stop until you find them.