I hit send about 20 minutes ago on a speaking proposal that has a good chance of being rejected.
But instead of feeling nervous, I feel exhilarated.
I feel alive.
When I was just starting out as a writer, most of the advice I received from more experienced souls was to “start small.” Send ideas to the smaller markets, the smaller magazines and publications. There is less competition there and you may have a shot at publication, I was told.
My first proposal went to Family Circle. Not even close to a small market.
I figured, what did I have to lose? If they rejected my idea outright, I could always drop down and send it to one of those smaller publications. But what if they said “Yes?” To me that was the more important question. What if they said “yes.”
And they did say “yes.” And, I did publish that story and others in Family Circle. I’ve had plenty rejected by them too. And, I do publish and get rejected by smaller publications too. Every success is backed up by plenty of rejections.
I don’t love it. I’m not happy or always comfortable with rejection. Sometimes, I complain about it. Sometimes I become an emotional eater. Chips anyone? I get irritable.
Then, I move beyond the hurt and recognize the opportunity that is there too. Because with every rejection, there is a chance to regroup and recommit. Every rejection is a chance to decide again how much I care.
Following the Dream – Or Not
If I care a lot, if I decide this dream is still worth pursuing then no yahoo (no matter how smart and powerful) is going to stop me. I will keep going even if it means I must adapt, change, practice, improve and grow before I try again.
Or, I may decide I don’t want it bad enough. Good to know. Our goals and desires will shift as we go along. Our values will change. No sense in giving our time and resources to something we no longer give a rip about. But, when you discover you no longer want to get after this goal, pick a compelling new one to pursue. We do better that way.
And then take the step toward it. There is nothing better than making that first big move toward an even bigger dream.
The e-mail I sent out today was a little leap toward that bigger dream. No matter the outcome, the fact that I went after the gig, gave it my best, invested myself emotionally, took the risk despite fear and the potential for disappointment, means I’m one step closer to getting where I want to go.
Will You Back Yourself Up?
This isn’t just me. I am surrounded by dream makers – people who go after their goals. They work and learn and grow and strive to accomplish their dreams and I get caught up in their wake of inspiration. These people are going after it and they are brave enough to back themselves up after every setback or failure. They keep going. They are willing to risk — and experience — rejection in order to grow. Are you?
Your dream may not be a speaking gig or a book deal, but whatever it is for you it’s important to understand what your commitment is. Can you answer “yes” to these questions?
Is your dream important enough, interesting enough, exciting enough for you to invest your time ?
Will you back yourself up when nobody else will?
Is worth the risk of failure and rejection?
Did you answer “yes?” Then keep going. And know this, every step you take makes this elusive dream a little more of a real possibility and that is, well, invigorating. It is alive-making. And fun.
Course, the setbacks will come. And you must weather them and find your way through them. On Wednesday, I’ll share some simple strategies to help you do that.
For now, consider this: What are you willing to do right now, to get behind your dream?
When you know the answer get out there and get after it.
Image by artist Erin Cairney White.Her original artwork is available through the little details company.