“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” – Aristotle
Remember when you were a kid and you got picked last for the kickball team at recess? Ouch. Rejections and feelings of inadequacy that come from assessment by our peers are often the most brutal of all.
On the other side of the coin – perhaps you also remember getting a little gold statue at the end of your tee-ball season, just for participating? You showed up, you wore a uniform, and you swung a bat – hooray! Well done, at least you tried.
As we grow, rejection takes different forms. In school it could be a bad grade on a project, maybe you've been rejected by a love interest, and in the professional world perhaps you didn't get that job you were so right for, or that promotion you thought you deserved.
There's no application process or letter of acceptance you need to start a blog. No one is going to stop you, except yourself. This is both good and bad, because when you're the only one calling the shots, your content is completely of your own design but also potentially free from the healthy dose of criticism it may need.
Have you ever faced rejection as a blogger?
Well, have you? Has a brand ever rejected your pitch? Has a post fallen of deaf ears without a single tweet, comment or click-through? Have you received negative comments, lost a contest, failed to hit the traffic goals you've set for yourself?
Rejection is important for growth and self-awareness. It shows us when our work (our posts, our photography, our proposals) or our skill set is simply not good enough and needs improvement. How is anyone expected to be better at anything or to push themselves to the next level if they're never exposed to their shortcomings?
One of the brilliant things about being a self-publishing blogger is that rejection and criticism can only stop you if you let them. Like all the rappers – ever – have always said, haters gon' hate. If you can pick through the negativity and feedback to find what will help you improve – and then keep on doing you thing, just better – then you're on the right track.
Grow from criticism (and rejection, too).
The development of thicker skin comes from understanding but not dwelling. Some of the rejection and criticism that will come your way (especially as you grow your blog and gain exposure) will be completely unfounded, and the product of bitter, angry, useless people. Much of it though – while having a bit of a sting – will contain truths that will profoundly change your perception of your work, yourself and the business you're in.
Pain is temporary and scars show that you've been to battle and lived to tell about it.
Read the negative comments. Study the response of a rejected pitch to a brand. Figure out why this person is saying what they're saying, and if there's something you can do about it. Does your photography need work? Take a class! Is your writing sloppy? Get back on your editing A-game. Do you need more traffic? Go out and earn it.
As with so many things in life – those who can put a positive spin on things and learn from their experiences – both good and bad – will be the ones who prosper. Shrug off the haters and adapt with the constructive criticism you receive.
“Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely essential.” – Jessamyn West