Let's Get Some Career Advice From Emmy Rossum, Shall We?

I absolutely adore Emmy Rossum. She seems sweet, down-to-earth, and like a girl you could drink mimosas with at Sunday brunch. The other day I saw an interview with her on Elvis Duran’s show and my girl crush grew stronger.  During the interview, Emmy was talking about how hard it is to make it as an actress. She explains how the constant rejection can become crippling, and is actually the reason why many talented people don’t end up making it in the business. They can’t handle putting themselves out there time and time again, only to hear no. She talked about all of the rejection she’s faced in her life, and how it wasn’t always easy to move past it.

I can definitely relate to her experiences with the word “no.” Unfortunately, I know people in plenty of other fields can too. As a writer, I have become quite familiar with rejection. Whether it’s “No thank you” or “We’ve already run a similar piece” or no response at all, it can become disheartening to pour your soul into an idea and really get behind it, only to find out that the organization you’re pitching doesn’t feel the same way. It’s easy to want to give up and give your ego a break. This struggle is applicable to any field, creative or otherwise. So how do you keep dusting yourself off and trying again? A few things I’ve learned:

  • Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing: After dealing with rejection, it’s easy to compare yourself to other people, which only worsens the blow to your ego. “They accepted her story idea” or “They said yes to his presentation” you think to yourself. But that quote “Comparison is the thief of joy” is spot on in this situation. In order to stay motivated and keep going, you can’t worry so much about the kind of progress others have made. As somebody famous once said, life is a marathon not a track meet.
  • Don’t take it personally: I have to fight really hard not to take rejection personally. When you’re passionate about something you put plenty of feeling into an idea, so to have it rejected can feel like a personal insult. It’s not, though. Remember that. There are various reasons for rejection. Maybe the idea was great but they had already gone with something similar in the past. Maybe there’s not a budget for it. Maybe they chose someone they’ve worked with previously. Whatever the reason, it’s not personal and is not a reflection on you or your talent.
  • See the greater goal: When you’re focused on the big picture, it’s easy to keep slaving away during hard times. So maybe that one project or idea didn’t work out, but ultimately you’re making progress in the long run. Little failures along the way are just part of it. Move past them and keep focused on the long-term results.
  • Don’t stifle your feelings: While you shouldn’t take rejection personally, it’s also normal to feel a little miffed. No one enjoys getting told no, and it’s okay if you feel bad for a little while. You don’t have to put on a happy face and pretend you’re a heartless robot. If you feel sad, let yourself feel sad. If you’re pissed off, go with it. Just don’t let these emotions derail you from your ultimate goal.

How do you handle rejection? How do you keep yourself focused on your long-term goals? 

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  1. As you may know, I adore Emmy as well. And was listening to that same interview. And I kid you not, last night I wrote up a post about her as part of my blog’s “Girl Crush” series for next week. Lauren, we were meant to be friends! haha she is adorable and I loved that she said it took her all that rejection to really “make it”. It’s so true- all the job offers we never get, all the people who tell us “no” just makes us stronger.

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