It would be great, right, if we could all just naturally have resilience – that ability to bounce back regardless of the challenges that life throws at us.
Because whether we have it or not, life is still going to throw the challenges at us.
Here’s what I learned about resilience, from years of being rejected.
Let me set that into context. For ten years I worked as a professional dancer. Which sounds like I worked for ten years. In fact, it means that I went to audition, after audition, after audition to try and get work as a dancer. Sometimes I got the work and other times I didn’t.
This taught me a lot about resilience:
- Only you can create your own resilience.
No matter how much support I got from friends or family, rejection hurts. In all its forms, professional and private. That resilience was something I had to develop on my own.
2. You have to grow it and nurture it.
What I mean by this is that you have to plant a seed and look after that seed. I didn’t go from insecure wreck to super-confident hero overnight. I’m still not a super-confident hero, by the way. I am far more confident in my own abilities though.
I started with two seeds actually – I may have been rejected from those jobs, but I do know that I had passed some dance exams and had a substantial training behind me, so I must have some talent and ability for it somewhere.
The second was that I did get work fairly on in my career. It was a small job and didn’t pay very much, but it was work. If they wanted to employ me for that, then there may be others.
3. It helps if you have a someone on your side – inside your own head
This follows on straight after the ‘grow and nurture’ because it represents the exact conditions I needed for my self-belief to flourish. Just like a plant, I needed sunshine, food and a little water. That, for me, came in the form of a cheerleader inside my own head. An internal voice that actively searched for EVERY situation where I done well. Let’s face it, we can all find the bad stuff easily.
I started with all the dance exams that I’d passed. I had a mental log of every positive moment in my career. I carried with me as many positive comments from teachers, friends and family as I could remember. And I tried to fill my head with them as often as I could. Twice as much around the auditions and occasional rejections. And, guess what? Every time I got through an audition and got a job, I added that to the mental log!
4. See things as they are – neither better nor worse
This is something that I’ve tried to follow throughout my life. It certainly helped me as I was pursuing my dance career. Yes, I got another rejection, that’s true. However… I was down to the last eight candidates out of over 100. That means that to them, I was better than the other 92! That’s a top 10 finish! OK, so I wasn’t always that chipper about it, but it helped to know that I was still on the right path and no simply wasting my time.
I hope it helps. You have to own your resilience, nobody can do it for you. Look after it, grow it and nurture it. Try and find your inner cheerleader. It can be a kind voice or friend, inside your head. If you haven’t got one, spend some time creating one. Give them a name, a personality and unshakeable belief in every you do! It’s easy for us to find the negative in a situation, but it’s vital that we balance that out and find the truth in the life experiences we have.
I have a range of techniques and ideas to help you grow your ‘inner cheerleader’ and help you build the self-confidence you want to achieve. Take a look at some of the other blogs or videos.
If nothing else, it’s worth starting with a simple mantra. You have just as much right to be here and to live your life as anyone else in the world! Just believe that!