By: Zac Leonard
Rejection sucks, it just does. You pour over ideas, plans, and work your heart into being part of a school or position, only to come up short. Having just been hit with rejection I know this feeling well. For some, me included, there is pain that comes with being rejected. I have thoughts that sometimes haunt me if I don’t remind myself of the truth. For me, not being chosen for a position leaves me feeling like there was something more I could have done, or done differently. I tend to over think everything, and when I get into a downward spiral of negativity here’s how I get out.
1.Who are you?
For me this question is essential because I need to re-center. What was I looking for in this new endeavor? Why was I drawn to it? What does it mean now that I know I’m not the right fit for it? I have to start at my core, what do I know about myself? I know that I am a loving person! At my core I want to communicate compassion to all those I interact with. What is at your core? When faced with rejection remember that although you weren’t what the organization or person wanted it doesn’t mean that who you are at your core isn’t the same.
2. How am I perceived?
After the blow of rejection hits its easy to become bitter. That bitterness, if not tamed and ultimately removed, will most likely damage future endeavors you seek. As the saying goes, “Perception is Reality”, and when you face rejection all eyes are on you. For me I long to be known for my friendship. I long to be a loyal person, and help those that I work with become better. If I allow that bitterness to control my thoughts and actions I won’t be acting out of friendship towards those I work with I’ll be acting out of self preservation. Success is not what you achieve, but how many you bring along with you.
3. How is my family doing?
So often we move towards an opportunity with a passion that pushes all other things out of the way. When faced with rejection after that pursuit your family can feel left out, and bitter for being placed in the back seat. How are you pursuing your wife or husband? How are you showing love to your children? I guarantee that no matter how much you need that new position, promotion, or friendship your family will love you the same with or without it. Sure having more money helps keep the family machine running, but its not what powers that machine. I like to remind myself that I want to be a loving husband, and father. That my professional goals need to be secondary to my family goals. I’ve seen many families destroyed because professional goals were made the priority.
4. Why do you DO what you do?
I know the wording of this question is somewhat confusion, but its exactly how I worded it in my head so I wanted to keep it the same. I love seeing students and teachers awaken their passion for learning. I love seeing a teacher try a new piece of technology and realize that this item will make their lives not only easier, but more effective. I am a great educator, I don’t say that from a place of arrogance, or do I try to back it up by test scores. I know that because I have a passion in my heart that burns to see the development of life long learners. That passion has driven me to improve my practice through reading, connecting with other educators, and blogging.
5. How are you a leader of others?
We are all leaders, we tell our students that all the time. Are we going to lead towards a place of positivity, or a place of negativity? Are we going to lead by complaining, or lead by encouraging? I know I am a leader. Over the past few years I have taken hold of the opportunity I’ve been given to use digital curriculum. I’ve shared with teachers from across the country, not because I am some guru who knows more than anyone else, but because I’ve taken advantage of the opportunity I’ve been given to share. Leadership isn’t about a position you earn, but about how you share your experiences through relationships you’ve built. We can’t allow the frustration and pain of rejection to reroute how we lead.
6. How are you moving forward?
The greatest temptation when faced with rejection is to bury your head in the sand and give up. To believe the lies in your head, “you’re not good enough”, “you’ll never make it”, “you failed your family”. When facing those thoughts we have to remember who we are outside of the rejection. Being rejected doesn’t change who I am, and it will only change us if we allow it. I am committed to making a difference in the lives of those I serve, whether that be students in the classroom, parents at an event, or the administration who leads my school. I know it’s not easy, as I’m writing this I’m wrestling with this very question, but we have to keep moving forward, learning from our experiences and using the knowledge to get better.
7. Do not allow your story to be about the mistakes you’ve made!
We’ve all made mistakes, and when facing rejection there is a chance that a mistake played into the decision to go in a different direction. That mistake does not have to define you. It needs to drive how you learn and grow moving forward, to ensure you avoid similar mistakes in the future. You are the only one who can keep that mistake in your story, free yourself from the guilt, the shame, the anxiety that can sometimes suffocate us. It’s ok to fail, its ok to make mistakes. Pick yourself up and join your PLN as we all move forward together.
Rejection sucks! It hurts, and at times it can be debilitating, but know that through all the pain, the struggle, and rejection we here at EdTechAfterDark are here for you. We want to be the part of your PLN that you can count on, to remind you of all the ways you’re amazing!