When I was a young girl, every time I didn’t get my way the waterworks would start flying and my mom’s patience would be tested yet again. As I entered my teen years, I matured, slightly, and cried to her only when I felt rejected—you know, if I was dumped, or didn’t make a team etc. When college came and it was time to decide what I wanted to do with my life, she advised me the following. “Well, the one thing I know for certain is that you hate rejection, thus never pursue a career in sales my dear.”
And (for once) I listened.
However, my mom didn’t warn me that if I couldn’t handle rejection, to also never pursue a career in public relations…whoops! (It’s okay, I still love you mom.)
Most of society is very familiar with the fact that choosing a career in sales comes with its fair share of rejection. Public relations, on the other hand, is often stereotyped as a glamorous industry associated with red carpets, celebrities, magazines, and segments on Good Morning America. What a surprising amount of entrepreneurs don’t realize, however, is that for every “PR win” they see, it likely took months, hundreds of “no’s”, and countless ignored emails to get that one win.
I mean truly, PR can be exhausting. You spend copious amounts of time coming up with what you think is the perfect pitch and then either A. REJECTION or B. (and B is far worse in my opinion) silence. Nada. Nothing. Zip. You are ignored. Time and time again.
I can confidently assume I speak for almost all publicists when I say that to be in PR you must be able to shove a big piece of humble pie right in your face…repeatedly.
Here are a few fun examples:
One time I addressed an email “MR.” Smith. Turns out Mr. Smith was a she, and SHE didn’t appreciate the Mr. title whatsoever. In fact, she proceeded to virtually rip me apart and told me to never dare pitch her again; she had me blacklisted.
One time I spent over an hour researching to create a custom pitch that I was confident would result in a feature, or a small mention at the very least. I didn’t hear back. I sent a strategic follow-up. Finally, I got a response! Here it was: “No.” Yup, that was it. When I respectfully inquired why, I received crickets in return. Wait, did I say one time? I meant hundreds of times…
Yeah, super fun.
Now, before you stop reading what you’re probably deciding is a super pessimistic piece about a publicist who clearly hates or is bad at her job (which I’m not I swear !), I want to throw this out there — I LOVE PR (plot twist!) Specifically, I love who it has helped me become.
Yup, I’ve actually come to embrace the rejection. Why? Because it has engrained, I mean truly and deeply instilled into my very core of being this fact: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger (sing it Kelly!)
When you reframe your mindset and start viewing rejection as a tool that aids in enhancing both your personal and professional self, it’s a total game-changer.
In addition to making you one tough cookie, repeated rejection also enables you to experience an abundance of gratitude and excitement for when things do go right. You quickly learn how to enjoy and celebrate even the smallest of wins in life. I can’t tell you how often I have had colleagues and peers comment on how easily excited I get. It usually goes something like, “Wow, I wish I could get excited about something so small and insignificant.” And you know what, whether it was meant as a compliment or passive-aggressive dig, it totally is their loss.
Why NOT choose to be happy when you succeed? Why NOT choose to be grateful and enthusiastic for a job well done? Learn to pat your own dang self on the back.
So, readers, I leave you with this. Next time you feel or are bluntly rejected, seize it as an opportunity to better your badass self. Learn how you can improve, brush away the misplaced egos and critics, and when you do finally get that yes, heck—celebrate!