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!