Can we be honest? Rejection sucks. You put yourself out there. You put your best foot forward. And instead of getting the affirmation you’re looking for, you end up back at square one empty-handed as you’ve unfortunately been told no.
The truth is that I know the feeling of ‘no’ all too well. I do my best to maintain an optimistic outlook being that I’m in the middle of a vigorous job hunt, but there’s only so many canned rejection responses from potential employers I can read in my email inbox before I start questioning if I’m on the right path altogether. However, I’ve got a dose of encouragement for you in case you’ve caught a case of the quits.
In the middle of customizing my resume and cover letter for each submission, I remind myself that I’m not the only one who has encountered a few denials along the way to find the perfect place to make use of my creativity.
Olivia Pope? More like Olivia Nope. Gabrielle Union opened up about her being passed over the iconic, lead Scandal character, Oliva Pope. She turned the negation into a positive learning experience as described in an Associated Press interview. “I said to myself, ‘Oh my God, these roles are out there.’ It showed me that you don’t have to settle.”
That’s so powerful to me! When given a no during the audition process of a landmark role, you learn that there are possibilities tailor-made for what you believe you were made to produce! Union further elaborated by saying, “I didn’t get ‘Scandal’, but I got something better — which is my own show. It’s all about building a legacy. This new opportunity is something I feel that can grow.”
Being Mary Jane didn’t have an easy run by any stretch of the imagination. Union would ultimately partner with Will Packer to executive produce the fourth season of the show after showrunner and creator Mara Brock Akil and fellow executive producer Salim Akil departed production after inking a deal with Warner Bros. TV. They still continued their relationship with the show as executive producers.
Packer and Union continued their partnership on the big screen with the release of Breaking In. The $6m production grossed $17.6m over its debut weekend. Not too bad for being given a no by Shonda Rhymes.
Can we dream for a second? Imagine there is a piece of paper that lists the biggest, most insurmountable goals you have. Also, I want you to imagine all the reasons why you shouldn’t be able to achieve these goals are listed on this piece of paper. I promise this isn’t a nightmare! Here the kicker. Someone hands this paper to you after you’ve achieved what was once deemed impossible for you by so-called experts evaluating your potential. Now, wake up and watch this:
Stephen Curry, once appraised as unreliable to run a team in a 2009 draft report, would later be the first player in the history of the NBA to garner the MVP title by unanimous vote, help the Golden State Warriors win the 2015 and 2017 NBA championship.
Courtney Kemp Agboh
Agboh told The Hollywood Reporter a noteworthy story of her days pitching the now uber-successful Starz series Power. She says, “When I was pitching ‘Power’, I had an executive say, ‘Well, I already have a black show.'” She goes on to explain, “He said that right to my face.” Little did this exec. know, the show would eventually be green-lit and amass 8.4 million viewers per episode before being renewed for a sixth season!
Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino)
Learning when to say no is just as critical as demonstrating the power to bounce back after a rejection. I said this in the transition article I alluded to earlier. “Fitting into something doesn’t mean something fits you.” Glover had to look at his bosses, Tina Fey and co-producer Robert Carlock, in the eye and tell them he was resigning from their 30 Rock writer’s room to pursue the next chapter of his career in acting. Glover recounts that even his mother was against this decision in another interview with A.V. Club.
Tina Fey penned her account of Glover’s conversation in Time Magazine. She explains, “Of the many writers who have suggested this over the past 20 years, Donald is the only one with whom I’ve ever agreed. One hundred percent, he should go be a star.”
Glover later auditioned and scored a role on NBC’s hit show Community, created and starred in his own FX episodic series Atlanta, and eventually dropped the ultra-provocative “This Is America” under the moniker of his musical persona Childish Gambino.