This summer I applied, for the first time, to be a teacher at a bead show. About a week ago, they returned my jewelry samples, along with one of the kindest, gentlest rejection letters I've ever read.
It was still a rejection letter, though, and it was disappointing to get it. I was hoping this was my Big Chance to break into jewelry instruction... and to earn more money to buy beads from BeadAlgo.
Sad, right? But not the end of the world. In fact, it might even be good for me in the long run.
I remember the second semester of my infamous chemistry class. After a successful first semester, I was a little bit cocky, and I didn't study as hard as I should have. I got a 75 on the first exam. I was upset at first, and embarrassed, but I realized it was a wake up call to study harder and better.
I went beyond the easy problems in my textbook and focused on the practice tests the instructor had given us. I did them until I was sick of them! The next exam was brutal, but while the top students in the class got scores in the 60s and 70's... I got an 87.
And the test after that? I got a 98. It would have been 100, if only I hadn't changed one of my answers on the multiple choice.
I learned two important lessons from that experience. One, working efficiently is just as important as working hard. Two, failure can be a good thing because as long as you let it, it can be a stepping stone to even greater success.
The classes I submitted to the bead show were fun and original, but they weren't my best. For reasons both outside of and within my control, I did a rushed job. Now I have time to make my good classes great. To polish the instructions, add photos, and present bigger, cooler projects. I have a humble goal, which is this: to send in such an awesome application, the lovely folks at the bead show beg me to teach. At which point I will cheerfully and enthusiastically accept. And perhaps bake them cookies.
So if you've been rejected, if you've failed to reach one of your goals, it's OK to be disappointed and sad. For a little while. But then, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and know that you succeeded where it's most important -- in putting yourself out there. Failure isn't a reflection of who you are, because you are awesome (I am a Doctor of Sparkly Things, so I must be right).
And who knows? It might be the kick in the pants you need.
PS: There is now a second part to this post, which you can read here!