100 Rejections 2017 Review

I aimed high early last year when I decided to work through my fear of rejection by taking inspiration from Jia Jiang. My goal was to accumulate 100 (art related) rejections over 2017.

So how did that work out?

First off, I would like to say that I only got 1/3 of the way to my goal this year, sending out 34 applications. Of those, 6 were accepted, which works out to a 16 or 17 % acceptance rate. So I actually accumulated 28 rejections in 2017.

Having got a slow start during the first half of the year I had to apply myself from the last half of the summer by applying to 5 opportunities a week for the rest of the year to meet my goal.

That proved challenging as opportunities are time consuming to source as well as to apply for. I found I was spending more time doing that than making work between August and October. Then in October, as the applications I sent out were accepted, I had no time to make art or to apply for things as I was busy with framing and making and traveling and meeting and such to fulfill the proposals. Finally in November and December I had to balance studio time with application time.

Overall I found that the shift in focus, from trying to get accepted to collecting rejections, to be beneficial. I was not nearly so attached to the proposals, both when writing them and when waiting for results. I was more willing to take risks, as I was not focusing on the potential negatives of an opportunity and talking myself out of applying, or conversely on being super conservative or over-thinking so as not to lose out on an opportunity.

I am definitely going to carry on this project for 2018, with the goal being to make it all the way to 100 this year. Starting now, I should only have to send out 8 or 9 a month. I’ve done my 1st earlier this month. 1 down, 99 to go!


100 Rejections Update: Just Say No, or Not Quite?

I am going to go into this topic because I think it may be something a few others out there may have issues with too:

Recently with my quest to amass 100 rejections I have been faced with a quandry. Some of my rejections have been coming through as acceptances.

Best possible project outcome, right?

Well, yes, but…

some applications are not necessarily best fits. Some projects have red flags, but as the goal is rejections I have been less concerned with the potential con side of the pro/con list. So when they are accepted I feel the pressure to jump at the acceptance. After all, I applied for this, didn’t I? Obviously I want the position or project or opportunity. When the project has a number of draw backs, I feel a sense of guilt to then have to say no, it is not for me.

So what to do? If I stop applying for things out of a fear of success, not only do I jeopardize the project, but I also close myself off from potentially great opportunities.

The first thing to do is to recognize that the feeling of dis-ease is a psychological thing. Fundraisers and political campaigners have long known that if they can get an individual to express support of an idea early on, where it costs the person nothing, they are more likely to get the same individual to support the idea when it will cost the individual more  (donations, volunteerism, votes etc.).

So, a reluctance to turn down an opportunity that I am accepted or short listed for is in part a pressure resulting from my initial expression of interest in the opportunity. The fact that I applied for it will make me more likely to overlook aspects of the opportunity which don’t mesh with my needs, even if those aspects weren’t apparent in the initial call.

Recognizing that, I have changed my mind set on the application process:

I am not applying for the call as stated, I am expressing interest in an opportunity. I am interested in finding out more about the opportunity, and exploring how I can best solve the other’s need. In some cases, I will not be able to fill their need within their parameters, and that is fine too. It is also possible their expectations are unrealistic. They may not know enough about what they are asking for to have realistic expectations. If that is recognized we can start a negotiation anyhow, and come to a mutually beneficial arrangement. If not, I have not accepted the opportunity simply because it is offered to me, and I have saved myself a headache.

What if it then goes to someone else who takes the opportunity as is?

Great! Either they have the capability to comfortably fulfill it, or it will be a learning experience for both parties. Either way, I am saved the headache and someone else gets what they need in this moment in their career.

So, in conclusion, the 100 rejections project is teaching me, not only how to deal with rejection, but acceptance too!

Fear of Rejection – Lessons from Jia Jiang

I watched this (and highly recommend you do as well),

shortly after the new year, but it took me half a year to act on it. I realized that I was hanging too much of my dreams of future happiness on each application, proposal and submission I was sending out in to the world, and then disproportionally thrown off course by very rejection letter I got. So much so that I was finding every reason not to respond to this call or that, knowing how much time I would spend crafting each and how floored I would be if it was turned down.

Jiang’s talk convinced me I should be taking a more light hearted approach to the process, and I decided to make it my mission to collect 100 rejections per year. Rather than base my perception of success on how many of my submissions are approved, I will consider it a successful year if I have collected 100 rejections in that year.

What if one is approved, or more then one? Well, I suppose I will have to send out submissions until I have 100 rejections. Since I have had a slow start to this year, I now need to send out at least 4 per week for the rest of the year to reach my goal of 100 for a successful year.

What is your strategy for dealing with rejection?