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Handling rejection

Every entrepreneur and speaker deals with rejection. How you handle it is likely to make or break you
Standing oration
Handling rejection
By Kristian from Speakers Loft • Issue #46 • View online
Every entrepreneur and speaker deals with rejection. How you handle it is likely to make or break your career. 

Imagine you are at a job interview. The company seems to be passionate about making a positive impact on the world. You will get full autonomy to solve your tasks (and support if/when you need it), and the pay is a substantial improvement over your old job. You can even walk to your new work through a beautiful park.
But there is a catch.
You will be kicked hard on the shins twice a day.
Would you take the job?
If you work as a public speaker or entrepreneur, you may already have done so.
A lovely walk through the park on your way to work. Photo by Zeno Thysman.
A lovely walk through the park on your way to work. Photo by Zeno Thysman.
Ain’t that a kick in the head
To get it out of the way, no one is going to kick you. At least not anyone affiliated with our company.
The kicking is a metaphor. According to the American Psychological Association, the pain of rejection hurts just as much as physical pain. From an evolutionary standpoint, it makes sense. We need to be part of a group to survive, so we should strive to avoid rejection.
Which kind of stands to experience if we think about it. If you ask someone what their most painful experience ever was, very few are going to say a root canal, a broken arm, or good toe-stubbing. Almost everyone will talk of lost love, friend, or family member.
The pain of bad emotional experiences - like rejections - is just as real as the pain of being a poorly coordinated klutz.
Speakers get tons of rejections. They come from events that do not reply, do not have the money to pay, or that doesn’t think out story is a fit. Add to those bureaus, that never gets us gigs. Training that doesn’t change much, meetings that come to nothing and social updates that saunters into obscurity, although we thought them smart.
You do not see it on LinkedIn, but everyone I talk to person-to-person tells me the same. Rejection is the watery soup de jour at the Speakers Inn. Every. Goddamn. Day.
Some get good at shrugging it off. Others let it wear them down. Be the former.
Thin watery soup of rejection. Photo by Louis Hansel.
Thin watery soup of rejection. Photo by Louis Hansel.
Three quick tips for shrugging it off

Realize the immense number of reasons organizers can have for not choosing you. Most have nothing to do with you.
For instance, You can be disqualified because you have not given the talk before, and you can be disqualified because you have given the talk earlier (I.E., It is not unique). Or you can be disqualified for being too specific, or for being too abstract in your coverage of the topic.
These are catch-all conditions and can apply to anyone. You are not your submission anyway.

Make an action-list, not a win-list
If you mean to get on five stages by answering Calls for Speakers, then don’t make a to-do list that says ‘get on five stages.’ Make a to-do list that has the simple task 'Apply to speak at a conference’ one hundred times. Cross them out as you go.
You will get more done, and the rejections (that will still come) will not count against your goal of applying to a hundred conferences. Some conferences will take you.

The win will come
Winning will happen, so every rejection brings you closer to your golden ticket. For every rejection, take a walk and enjoy that you are now closer to getting the speaking opportunity than you have ever been.
Learn to enjoy the trip.
I make a small goal every day. When I leave the office, I want to be able to point to one thing that our members now have or that look better on the platform than it did before.
They don’t mean a lot individually, but the compound effect is quite something.
That is all for now, keep making the world a little smarter
Kristian
Welcome to our new members in Stockholm (Sweden), Washington DC (USA) and Las Vegas (USA)!

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Kristian from Speakers Loft

Standing oration is a bonfire for public speakers. Huddle around with the rest of us, as we talk about living and working as a public speaker. We're also creating www.speakersloft.com.

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