So I made friends with rejection, I’ve straightened up my spine, I’ll change each imperfection Till it’s time to drink the wine! I’d toast to resurrection but they just keep moving the line! Please give me some direction ‘cause they just keep moving the line!
– Lyrics from “They just keep moving the Line” by Shaiman & Wittman, Featured in the TV Series Smash.
Perseverance and resilience are essential to find success in any field. Performers have to put those qualities to the test on a daily basis.
I’ve had a week of ‘no’s’. They suck. Rejection is part of life but, for performers, it’s more frequent. The phrases I always find myself hearing after theses instances are “Well, it’s so competitive, you’ve just got to get used to it…if you can’t cope with it, maybe you should do something else?” and variations on the theme. When you are low…this is not what you need to hear…Neither is a sugar-coated, “You would’ve been perfect, they don’t know what they’re missing”. There are elements of truth in both of those sorts of comments (which make them harder to swallow) but they don’t help. What does? Well, I’m working on it…but here are my five tips to help you ‘make friends with rejection’…actually, let’s face it, you don’t want to be her friend…shall we punch her in the face? What would Julie do? I reckon she’s got a good right hook…
Feel those feelings and let them out.
In the privacy of your own room, have a bloody good cry/shout/wail/bawl… Trust me, it’s better than keeping it all bottled up… go full Anne Hathaway in Les Mis… sob it all out.
Listen to some music.
If step one, just isn’t happening and you’re all tough and ‘coping fine with rejection’…. then I advise listening to some sad songs (or maybe the 11 o’clock number that you would have been singing if you’d got the role)/watching a tearjerker of a film (The Notebook maybe?)/burning your dinner by accident/dropping the delicious cake you just bought onto a dirty floor …anything inconsequential that is going to tip you over the edge into ugly cry mode.
After that, it’s time to pick yourself up… Have a listen to some cracking tunes that restore your faith in humanity and make you want to get up and get on with things! Here’s a link to some of my favourites…there aren’t any show tunes (only a bit of Judy Garland) because sometimes the last thing you need to hear when you haven’t been cast as Elphaba/Mary Poppins/Jean Val Jean is a load of show tunes.
Spend time with friends.
Choose wisely. Don’t hang around with fun sponges or people that are constantly bragging about how fabulous their life is. Spend time with people who boost you, inspire you and make you laugh. As I’ve mentioned before, the thing that I find tricky about being a performer is that when you are working on a show, you are part of an amazing community and when you are out of work, it can feel really lonely. Find your tribe and have fun with them.
Do something for you.
Just for you… sing, dance, write something, go for a swim, sit on the sofa and watch TV for a few hours, bake, go for a walk in a park or explore somewhere you’ve never been.
Delete and move on.
It didn’t work out this time. That sucks. It might not work out next time and that will also suck… but at some point, it will.
Remember, Julie Andrews herself was once told she was ‘not photogenic enough for film’…
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