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?