On Monday we talked about my weekly confessional and today I have something to confess: I'm addicted to reality shows that involve singing and/or dance. Sometimes schedules conflict to the point my DVR can't handle it, but if I could watch them all, I would. I'm neither proud, nor ashamed of this fact.
Generally, these shows make me very emotional. I remember when I was a little girl and we'd watch Miss America or something like that and my dad would get misty and say, "her parents must be so proud of her."
I didn't get it then, but I get it now. I cry when someone does a good job. I cry at proud parents. I cry at back stories. I cry because it's beautiful to see someone channeling a force greater than themselves. And I suppose I cry a little for all of my own triumphs my parents weren't here to be proud of. (Oddly, though, I don't cry when they fail...haha. I have little sympathy for them when they screw up.) :D
Anyway, last night I was watching the Voice and was rooting for a guy named Robert Lee who didn't end up getting a chair turn. I couldn't find video to post so you could judge for yourself (but I do have a link to this audition from Idol that I'm still bitter about. Even Ellen is pissed.) He was a mailman and desperate to break out of that life to create a better life for his wife and children. But that won't happen this year. His audition wasn't perfect, but better than some people they let through. All the potential was there. He just needed to be coached. It always disappoints me when the judges get it "wrong".
My entire career has been a series of rejections...haha. More often than not, I'll send samples of my work to people and never hear from them again. That's part of being in a creative career and it's part of being a consultant. But sometimes, when you really want it or need it, that silence can hurt.
If I weren't certain I'm a good, strategic writer, I never would have made it this far. You don't last 27 years in an industry as competitive as advertising without being your own best fan. It's less of an ego thing than it is a survival thing. Some of the rejections and comments I've gotten in my career still sting. I won't lie. But if I filed the rejections in my head using the information I have now, rather than the sensitivities I had then, I might have had just the added bit of confidence I would need to shine a little brighter. But would it have been worth bypassing the turns that rejection brought me? I don't think so.
What do I know now that I didn't know then? Well, back then I realized it's all about opinion, plus a ton of other factors I have no control over. Maybe the person who got the work had better contacts at the agency or was more proactive in their approach or answered a question better or whatever. So I always knew not to take it personally. But deep in your darker reaches, you kind of do anyway.
What I know now, however, I owe to American Idol and its counterparts. And that is that rejection doesn't make me "less than" in any way. Sometimes the best talent is passed over simply because the picker has a lack of vision. Or they're in a mood. Or you don't fit their profile. Or, as I've always reminded myself, because they're an asshole you don't want to work for anyway...haha. Sometimes there's so much "rough" that it's hard to see the diamond in its midst.
Rejection doesn't mean you're not good enough or that someone's better. It just means the universe has you set on a different trajectory than the one in front of you. All the jobs I didn't get inspired me to freelance. Had I gotten those jobs, I'd probably be a creative director somewhere today working 5x harder for twice the pay, and afraid to walk away from the money to become an author. I wouldn't have had time to create my Amazon bestseller. I wouldn't spend so much time blogging and creating fodder for future books.
In fact, I might be on a different path altogether—one where I don't watch sunsets every night with my Kizzie by my side. One where I have to worry more about what people think... where I have to hide my tarot cards, run from my flaws or deny my psychic friends in order to fit in.
So Robert Lee is probably back at work today as a mailman with a hidden talent. That doesn't mean he won't make it or have a gratifying life. He'll probably have more time to spend with his kids this way. And Jessica Basset from Idol got her self-written song on iTunes, backed by Ellen. She might become a song writer or singer. Or something else entirely.
What we end up getting in life is partly about what we put out, true. You have to be prepared to greet your opportunities. But more than that, what we end up getting in life is what fits the trajectory we came here to ride. Sometimes that looks like rejection, but ends up turning into a blog that's healing for its readers and writer. :)
If you can keep your mind open long enough to get past the disappointments and all the preparation you have to do to greet your opportunity, you'll end up seeing the incredible wisdom and suitability of this life you created. You'll see how a hand much greater than your own guided you here. And you'll cry because it's beautiful.