How to keep going when things get tough

Rejections, setbacks and self-doubt: acknowledge them and move on

Everyone knows the feelings of rejection. That phone call or email telling you that you haven’t got the job, that awkward meeting with a boyfriend or girlfriend to say that things are not working out, that application to your first choice university and you didn’t get a place. It’s hard and most of us feel it and take a knock to our self-esteem.

Most successful people (think Michael “Air” Jordan, Arianna Huffington, Vera Wang, or Jeff Bezos, to name a few), or dare I even claim all successful people, know what it feels to fail, to have an idea rejected or turned down.

It’s easy to get disheartened and discouraged. It probably seems enticing to throw in the towel and to just give up. But think about what kind of world it would be if Michael Jordan hadn’t kept on shooting hoops. We’d have never seen one of the greatest basketball players of all times. What if Vera Wang had buried herself in self-doubt and pity when Vogue rejected her as editor-in-chief? And what would the world be like if Jeff Bezos had not persevered? I for one know that the lockdowns would have been much duller without all those Amazon deliveries.

So where is the difference between someone who “makes it” and someone who doesn’t? First of all, making it in my definition does not mean that you’re filthy rich in monetary terms. That’s a nice bonus, but I for one know that I would rather wake up every morning and feel joyful about what I am going to work on, rather than earn an obscene amount and dread walking into work.

If you have a dream, if you have a passion, then stick with it. Don’t listen to those voices in your head that whisper that you’ll never make it.
It’s difficult to silence them and to rewire your brain to acknowledge those emotions, yet move past them. It takes some practice and it isn’t always possible to ignore them. Everyone has days where they doubt themselves, and that is OK. But remember that, if you really want something, then it’s also worth fighting for and to keep working towards it.

Remember that you only have one life and that your dreams matter. You matter. What you do matters. There will be another door that opens, even if 10 have closed before.

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