I’ve been reflecting a lot these last few months about my journey as an entrepreneur. I’m still pretty new to this, spending just 18 months in this gig out of a corporate career of more than 18 years. What has struck me more than once is just how distinct the highs and lows are. There is no medium!
A huge part of the lows is dealing with rejection. Honestly, I’m not great at it. I take it personally and I take it hard. I am however getting used to it, which I guess is good and bad. It’s made me wonder if because I’m getting rejected so often I’m doing something wrong. Or I am wrong.
The first time I faced major rejection was when I was 17 and auditioning for dance schools at university; my dream was to become a contemporary dancer. I attended a dance school that was incredibly serious and most of my peers were destined for work with the Australian Ballet, Sydney Dance Company or major International companies. They were bloody good. I was pretty good. I auditioned for four schools across Australia, but I desperately wanted to go to VCA in Melbourne. DESPERATELY. The audition process for each school was really tough, technically and emotionally, and unfortunately aside from my class mates and teachers I didn’t have a lot of support as my parents were living overseas at the time. The day came with the letters of acceptance and … I didn’t get in. A lot of my friends did. Just thinking back on this moment I still feel the pain and the questions rising within me; Why? What could I have done differently? Was it just that I wasn’t good enough? Unfortunately in that case it was true, I wasn’t good enough.
Fast forward 20 years and here I am. Getting rejected again and again. But what I’ve realised is that the reason I’m getting rejected often is because I’m putting myself out there … often.
Just to get auditions at those dance schools was tough, it involved a stringent application process and video auditions. All of which I passed. It’s the same as being an entrepreneur. I’ve applied for accelerators and have been a few places away from being selected … which really hurt at the time as I WANTED IT so badly. But actually that’s not a bad result if you think about how many people I leap frogged to be in that position. I’ve pitched to angel investors and have been told that it’s too early or the business model isn’t right for them. And in each case, while it’s been tough to be rejected, I’ve had the chance to pitch to amazing, intelligent, successful people and have had great feedback along with the more ‘constructive’ feedback.
I’ve had many doors open for me and many great auditions (pitches), and what I’ve realised is that while I REALLY don’t like having doors closed in my face, I have been the one to make those doors open. They haven’t just opened automatically. IT WAS ME! Yeah I’ve been rejected and I’ve had to pick myself up, dust myself off and start again … but if you’re not being rejected then you’re not putting yourself out there.
In the end, I was accepted into a dance school in WA and it was the most incredible experience. I thrived as a dancer and as a person, and I met my now husband :)
In my career, I am surrounded by an awesome team at Our Little Foxes who I love working with, I am building a business that I’m passionate about and I’m happy. I still don’t like being rejected but I’m not going to stop putting myself out there. No way.