I didn’t hear my very first “yes” until late December 2015.
I had been auditioning for every film, television show and play since I graduated from my acting program in 2006. And guess what? I didn’t book a single professional acting gig until December 16, 2015.
Yeah, that’s right, for 9 whole years all I heard was “NO!”. For 108 months I had to sit there and watch doors slam in my face. For 3,285 days I had to put on a brave face when my friends and family asked; “Did you get the part?” and look them in their eyes, hold back hot tears and say no.
I am the queen of rejection. Well not anymore. Eventually, I booked. Big things. Awesome things. National commercials, radio spots, and tv shows. 11 years later I can now say that I am a working actor. But OMG! It was such a heart breaking and maddening experience and to be honest, I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I know right? I sound crazy! But all of those nights that I cried into my pillow, wondering why I wasn’t enough– taught me more about myself, God, trust and dreams than anything else in this world. Rejection has been such a blessing in my life, and here’s why.
The 3 Lessons Rejection Taught Me.
You can either wait for a yes or create your own.
For years, if I wanted to create (act) I had to wait for someone else to say yes. If I wanted to be on the stage or in front of a camera, I had to wait for my agent to call me. I had to wait for the casting directors to decide if they wanted me to come back to the callback. I had to wait to be told: “no, we decided to go in another direction”. And so the cycle of waiting would start all over again. Agent. Wait. Casting director. Wait. “No”. Wait. Over and over again.
After awhile a sista got fed the F up! I hit 30 and something clicked. “Why in the entire hell am I waiting for someone else to give me permission to live my life?”. And just like that, a fierce fire grew inside of me. I took my power back! I grabbed my camera, took some pictures, purchased a domain name and created my first post for #NRJ. I didn’t have to audition. I didn’t have to pitch. I didn’t have to go to a cattle call. I booked me! I told the story I wanted to tell. I got to be on camera when I wanted to be on camera. I got to model even though I was “too built and with acne”. I turned 9 years of no’s into my own yes.
Rejection sucks big time. No one wants to hear no, but what can you do in the meantime until you get your yes? What books can you be reading that will help perfect your craft until you get accepted into your dream graduate program? What workout videos can you watch to get in shape until you can afford that Instagram trainer that charges $125 an hour to train? What’s one small thing you can do each day to get you closer to your dream as you wait on your yes?
I am living proof. The minute I gave myself permission to take charge of my own dreams, the very people that told me No– were the same people knocking my door down with gigs that I only dreamed of booking.
Rejection taught me that there are two options–wait around twiddling your thumbs waiting for your dreams to fall in your lap. Or take your power back and put your dreams back into your own hands. Which will you choose?
If you claim to trust God, you really have to trust God.
Do you know how incredibly hard it is to keep the faith after you have evidence that you should probably give up? It’s hard as heezy! There were so many times where I wanted to throw up my hands and just work at McDonald’s because the rejection was starting to wear me down mentally and emotionally. But I kept holding onto the promises of God. This one promise in particular.
“Your gift will make room for you and put you in the presence of great men” Proverbs 18:16
If there was one scripture my mom said on repeat as a kid, it was this one! She always talked about how the gifts + talents that God blessed us with will be the very thing that brings promotion in our lives. Good with kids? Boom you’ll be a teacher. Persuasive and have a gift of gab? Perhaps you’ll be a lawyer or entrepreneur. So since childhood, It has been my belief that my talents and gifts weren’t just a coincidence. The gifts I have within me are there on purpose for a purpose.
I think that belief is the one thing that kept me going even when it looked like I should’ve quit a long time ago. Sheer crazy insane faith and trust in God. I had to trust that God wouldn’t put a dream in my heart without helping me achieve it. Why He had to wait a whole decade I don’t know, lol! But I’m glad He did because now I know how to push even when I can’t see results.
I almost killed myself because I was so worried about things I had absolutely no power whatsoever to change. Did I get the callback? Did I book the gig? Does my agent hate me? Just complete and utter mental anguish for no
damn reason. In order for me to have some semblance of peace of mind, I had to learn really quickly to let go. To show up. Do my best and keep it moving. I had to learn how to detach myself from praise. I’m so Type A! If I do a good job, I want a round of applause lol! But all of that rejection showed me how to clap for myself and not need it from others.
I had to learn to abandon the part of me that obsesses over what I shoulda, coulda, woulda done. I had to be happy with how I chose to show up for that day. I learned the hard way that if I ruminated too far backward (dang I wish I chose a better monologue) or too far forward (dang, shouldn’t I be further along in my career by now?) I’d be bitter, depressed and angry. Rejection showed me that peace is in the present and in the trust that God is working everything out for my good behind the scenes.
If you’re going through a season of rejection right now my prayer is that you hold on. I know that it’s rough right now. Trust me I got 9 years worth of knowing. But I want you to know that one day– there will be a yes. Whether you give it to yourself or your big break lands in your lap. Your “yes” is yours and it has your name written all over it. Just keep showing up.
Want to hear the rest of my story and how I deal with rejection? Check out Episode #134 of Being Boss where I chat it up about Rejection + Resilience. PS. I used to be a major fangirl of the show and now I am a guest speaker on it! See, God can make your wildest dreams happen!
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