Learning from rejection.

I’ve been feeling the pains of rejection recently. Within the last month, I’ve been turned down for two jobs. And, not so long ago, my boyfriend ended our relationship. Needless to say, it’s been tough. I’ve eaten a lot of cake. Drunk a lot of beer. Had a lot of weepy conversations with anyone who would listen.

It’s really easy to fall into a the trap of feeling as though you’re just not good enough when one ‘no’ is piled on top of another. As though the whole sum of you just isn’t right; you’re a failure as a human being. I’ve had my moments of huge self-doubt and it’s really just been the support of good friends and family and the rediscovery of my inner resilience that has stopped me from really struggling.

Yet, when I look at the reasons I’ve been turned down, it makes sense. Putting the failed relationship to one side – I’m not ready to unpick that for examination just yet – I can see exactly why I didn’t get the jobs I applied for. Earlier this year, I did the Strengths Finder 2:0 and so I know that my strengths lie with research and learning. I love to teach small groups or individuals and I’m good at that. I’ve taught lots of things from social media to horse riding and I love to see people get enjoyment and understanding through my teaching. It’s fun. I like coaching people and helping them to see their own strengths and live out their goals. I like to find ways of developing understanding, improving conversations  and making relationships work better. And, yes, can even see the irony there, given that mine has just ended.

I’m a strong ‘I’ on the Myers-Briggs scale; my introverted nature means that I need quiet time alone to recharge, not day after day of stressful conversations, deadlines, urgent questions that require immediate responses. I like to think, plan, and collaborate. I can see clearly that the most recent job I applied for really doesn’t require those strengths – it needed someone to thrive in very different circumstances. No wonder I was in a panic about the job, even before I’d been told that I didn’t get it! Yes, there is feedback to seek, and obviously, areas that I can improve upon. Sometimes you’re just not the best candidate on the day, even if it is something you’re right for. But, regardless of that, I can’t change the things that I love and the things that I really dislike. So no matter how hard I work to improve to fit a role, if the role isn’t the right one, I’ll never truly feel comfortable and competent.

Re-discovering my university thesis (Changing Attitudes to Equine Welfare from 1700 to 2000!) in an old box of stuff this week, I remembered the joy of spending hours ordering books from The British Library to pore over, make connections and see patterns emerging. Even now, I love a Google hunt. Research and learning are cornerstones to my life; being someone who has multiple interests leads me to constantly want to know more.

These are the things I need to focus on. These are my joys and my passions. And they should be the requirements for the kind of jobs I apply for. I need to play to my strengths, not focus on the things that I’m less-than-great at. And, they will enable me with my skincare project. I’m so excited to learn and research ingredients for skincare formulas. To find out what will make people feel happy when they use my products. What will make them be effective and uplifting to use. How to get the branding sorted out. And the e-commerce site. And all the million other things that I need to develop. I’m even planning to run small skincare-making workshops to share that passion with other people first-hand. I’m really excited about those; earlier this year, I realised that large scale event planning isn’t for me. A small group of happy people in a cosy, positive environment with the time to teach something I love? That definitely is…

Being rejected isn’t the worst thing in the world if you take some time to figure out why. Not to let a rejection make you feel as though you’re not enough, just being who you are. And, my advice is to play to your strengths. Build on them. Make them how you decide how you earn your money, spend your time, make your mark on the world. And I’ll be there, cheering you along. Because that’s one of the things that I’m really good at.


PS: In a recent great post, Elizabeth from Rosalilium predicted a return to more honest, diary style blogging, rather like my last few posts. Although I’m still going to write about allotments (loads more on that to come soon) travel (Amsterdam is on the horizon!) books, environment, and all the other things that I love, I’m really enjoying going back to this kind of  blogging too. What do you think? Shall I carry on with it? 


15 Responses to Learning from rejection.

  1. Laura says:

    Yes! Keep writing like this! I’m sorry you didn’t get the job but it’s great that you’ve identified why (& recognised that it’d have been awful if you HAD got it). Sometimes we look for quick solutions but they’re rarely the right thing for us, they’re just things we cling to in desperation. Well done on taking a breath & being able to see it for what it is. Good luck with your new ventures 🙂

    • Elizabeth says:

      It would have been awful, I just know it. I was having palpitations at the mere thought of it, after the interview. I think that I was trying to find something to help fix my money stuff, without really considering whether the additional stress was really worth it. There are other ways of improving things that will be a better fit. I’ll keep writing like this! It’s rather cathartic, even if I’m the only one reading…

  2. bushra says:

    Yes! This is the style of blogging I have always enjoyed and related to. You hit the nail on the head with your Instagram post (more hugs) about how people have started to hold back on their vulnerability instead of saying how they are really feeling. I’d like to see more of it just because it’s great to see people offer their support.
    bushra recently posted…#tbt to first pregnancy. i miss my blog sometimes…My Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hello! More of this, then, for definite. I’ve really appreciated the responses that I’m getting. This is how I used to blog in the ‘olden days’ when the audience was just me. It’s not much more than me now, but there’s definitely a feeling of empathy and community coming back, which is utterly bloody lovely. xx

  3. I’m really enjoying your blog posts at the moment. I’m starting to re-focus on more personal topics too.

    Well done for having the guts to say that you didn’t get a job because you weren’t the right person for that particular job.

    I have lots of experience of being on interview panels. The most likely reason for not offering a post to a rejected candidate is that another candidate was better. However, sometimes, a candidate seems unconvinced that this is right job for them – and if they are not convinced why should we be?
    Ruthy @ Minibreak Mummy recently posted…Decluttering with Sam Walker on the radioMy Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      I think that you’re so right – I was definitely unconvinced, and it probably showed… I definitely wasn’t the right person. But I’m the right person for this! Personal blogging feels good right now, doesn’t it? Less magazine emulation, more real stuff.

  4. Jo says:

    Yes please! X

  5. Anna says:

    Yes, please continue to write. You are an authentic voice in a sea of increasing fluff!
    Anna recently posted…Happy Things #6My Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thank you! That’s really good to hear. Authenticity is really important to me – it’s right at the heart of what I want this blog to be xx

  6. I love that you’re choosing to focus on your joys and passions. You have such a great outlook on life and it’s something that I really admire about you. I’m also loving that you’re going back to this diary style of blog writing just like the olden days 😉
    (Mostly) Yummy Mummy recently posted…The one where I am chasing my tailMy Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      I’m really enjoying going back to diary-style writing. It feels like exactly the thing I should be doing right now. It’s cathartic too – in a way that other blogging doesn’t seem to be! It’s how I used to blog all the time in the olden days, right at the start. And it feels easier, somehow, to find the words – maybe because I can just spill my guts! Thank you so much for reading and for your lovely comment. xx

  7. Mummy Plum says:

    So many people fear rejection or failure it stops them doing what they want. I admire you for trying new things and making difficult changes. In terms of blogging style, I love personal, heart on sleeve blogs. Yours is right up there as one of my faves. X

  8. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been having a crappy time of late. But do embrace the failures, they help us grow and learn. It just means something better is going to happen. I’ve found that since I’ve started chasing failures more I’m finding more successful moments.
    I think you have some very exciting times ahead of you! Good luck.x.
    Elizabeth @ Rosalilium recently posted…Outfit: Obsessed With Boyfriend JeansMy Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hello there, thank you for your lovely comment. I think you’re right – there’s something about embracing vulnerability and admitting failures that allows us to grow, and take on more risks and challenges. Feel like perhaps it’s time for me to re-read Brene Brown on this subject! x

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