The Power of Rejection

ABI ScreenshotThis month at CHF, we’re talking about failing better—dealing with our failures and rejections in ways that are constructive instead of stagnating.  

In their blog post Use Rejection as a Catalyst for Change, CHF partner Arts Business Institute makes the point that you can learn from your rejections. While it’s easier to put it out of your mind and move on to the next thing, the more comfortable we get with rejection, the easier it is to use that information in a constructive way.

When I’m job-hunting, I aim for four rejections a month. This started as a joke among friends when we were asking for anything—a grant, job, post-doc, book deal—it was a good gauge as to whether we were putting ourselves out there enough: “how many rejections you up to?” It’s shorthand for seeing failure as a way to expand, take advantage of opportunities, and turn the negative perception of rejection and failure into something more useful.

Asking for anything means getting out of your head and interacting, and in dealing with the consequences. It’s easy to repeat the same mistakes over and over again, but that can get tedious—it’s more interesting to try something different, even if you end up with yet another failure. ABI’s advice involves having a systematic approach to analyzing what went wrong. Read their post here.

For more about Arts Business Institute, visit their website and listen to the CHF podcast with ABI’s Carolyn Edlund.

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Jennifer Orbom
With a background in health sciences, Jennifer Orbom has done operations work for political and health organizations, and conducted research in Nicaragua and Hawaii. Returning to academia in 2011, she earned her Master's degree in social and cultural anthropology from the University of Leuven in Belgium. An avid photographer, she grew up in an artists' community and enjoys learning about the business side of the art industry through her work with CHF. She now splits her time between Belgium and the United States.

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