Let’s talk about rejection.
Rejection is a part of life. At some point in your life, no matter who you are or what your status is, you will experience that feeling of not being picked, being let go, or being left out. It isn’t an easy pill to swallow and sometimes the very feeling of being left out can oppress the very best parts of who you are in this world. I’ve been rejected many a time in my life. Whether it was in friendships, relationships, or in a job, it has never, ever felt good. In the spirit of being completely candid with you, as a wedding photographer in an oversaturated market, I am rejected often. Almost weekly in fact. On a weekly basis, I get a few “we like you, but we decided to go in another direction” emails. In the past those kinds of emails would eat at me, and leave me curled up in my bed in the early mornings wanting to quit, and thinking I’m not good enough. They would make me question my skills, the way I run the business, and they would oppress the very best part of who I believe I am in this world. At some point many years ago, I had an “Aha!” moment after one of these rejection emails, and I have used that same thought process and these three questions to overcome rejection time and time again. I want to share that with you today.
1. Ask yourself this question: “Did I do my personal best?” It sounds simple, but in the example of someone not choosing your business, it is super healing. Almost 100% of the time, I can look at the entirety of my life, my business, my brand, my hustle, my response to these brides + grooms and say, “yes, I did my absolute best that I know how to do at this point in my life. I was professional, timely, and I have a consistent brand. I am not complacent and constantly trying to learn more to be better than before. And I have integrity and 9 years of great reviews to prove that I serve my clients well.” By reminding myself of those simple facts, I feel relieved of the burden of rejection because being their best fit photographer was completely out of my control. Now, if you ask yourself that same question and the answer is, “no…” then you can find something to improve on: that rejection has become an opportunity for growth.
2. Where is your identity in? I am a believer in the Bible and Christ and so this is an easy question for me. My identity is in Christ. I know that doesn’t resonate with some of you, so here is how it plays out in my head: “At the end of my life, is this ONE booking (one party? one group of friends? one job? fill in the blank) going to matter to me?” The answer to that question is undoubtedly, no. The bible says, 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” In summary, turn your eyes to the kingdom of God and how you can serve the Kingdom and not yourself. Use the rejection as a way to glorify God and not yourself. Here is a little tip: falling into a funk and letting your light get snuffed out, is not glorifying to God.
Which brings me to my last point + question to ask in times of rejection…
3. Do I believe God is in control? Yes. Yes. Yes. So, if I believe it to be true, then I can trust He will give me the clients HE chooses for me to serve. In the past 9 years of being a wedding photographer I have shot over 150 weddings. That is 150 couples I have served well. That is 150 couples I have become friends with. That is 150 unique couples that I truly believe God has given to me to really care about. Some have challenged me and that was for my growth. Some have shown me more love and gratitude and friendship that I could ever imagine, and that is for my heart. If you don’t get the role/invite/job, the best you can do is to learn from it and move on; do not be ashamed. Shame is NOT from the Lord. Which means, HE does not want you to be oppressed. I used to question everything upon every rejection: Is it me? Was that last IG post too personal? Am I too ugly? Am I not cool enough or young enough? Etc. etc. Y’all, my inner critic is fierce. But now, I try to ask myself questions #1-3 and then I lift the couple or situation up in prayer. I don’t even question it anymore. I just say something like, “God, they aren’t a couple you want me to serve. I hope they are served well and I pray you send me the perfect couple or a perfect family day on that date instead. Let your will be done.”
Being rejected is a fact of life. You can either use it as an opportunity to grow in your character and trust that God has it all under control or you can let it snuff out your light. Don’t let it be the latter, friend. You are worthy to move on and be accepted by the exact right person for you.
“Joy is an incredible alarm clock. It will wake you up and keep you up and pick you up and gently pull you through a thousand rejections along the way.” – Jon Acuff