Instead of sloping off with my tail between my legs, I thought, “Ok, fair enough, but whilst you’re here I’m going to milk you for all you’re worth.” I put that rejection to one side and enquired about other things: If you think the work’s “alright”, what would you do to improve it? If I’m not right for you, who else should I speak to? What would be a good fit?
You take the information that’s useful to you, and rejection ceases to be rejection. It becomes insight. It becomes something you can learn from, evaluate, and use to build towards your next experience. And that applies to all scenarios – it doesn’t matter whether it’s a portfolio review, a job interview, an idea, a project, your fees, or anything else. You’ve gotta keep going.
Rejection can feel tough and hurt like a fucker, but really, we learn much more from pain than we do from pleasure. When something hurts we want to fix it, and make sure it never happens again. When something’s good, you don’t question or challenge it. So when you think about it like that, rejection is actually just problem solving, and that’s something all good designers and creatives need to get better at. Rejection will make you better.
For more Craig wisdom, his book ‘Oh Sh*t What Now?’ is available via Laurence King.