Over the past two years especially, I've applied for a variety of opportunities, big and small, and received many, many rejections along the way. That's just part of the career dev game, and you can't possibly be accepted if you don't even apply. In that time, I've also been fortunate enough to receive a fair amount of yeses, for which I'm very grateful.
However, today I received a rejection for something that I knew was a longshot but that I thought I had a reasonable chance at getting accepted for this year. There's no way of knowing how far I got in the selection process, but I found myself spiraling out a little emotionally because of it...even after a productive and validating week at GDC, even after speaking at several game industry conferences and other impactful events, even after winning assorted competitions, even after finding myself in my current writing jobs (which I love!).
So I started thinking - when will it be "enough"? When will I feel like I've "made it" and can therefore stop living in fear of the rejection side of the application coin? Does that time ever come? I will never expect to always be told "yes," but I was hoping that the sting of rejection would eventually fade once I was "good enough."
It's a little obvious, but here's an important to thing to remember as you continue putting yourself out there, reaching your goals, and setting new goals: the more you achieve, the higher you'll reach each time you apply for something new, so it's going to get harder. Frankly, that's one way you'll know that you're doing it right. You're not just going for the same goals that you've already reached; that would be easy and you wouldn't grow from it. You already know how to get to X, so why not build on your success with X and figure out how to get to Y up on the next tier?
Maybe the way you know you're "enough" is when you set your sights on loftier goals, get rejected, and keep striving for those more difficult goals *anyway*, in spite of the consistent (and often increased) possibility of rejection.
In the meantime, do what you can to learn to love your rejection slips, too, because they're concrete proof that you haven't given up.
Copyright Alexandra Lucas 2017