I was sitting at the counter of my favorite coffee shop recently in full-on tears. I don’t know if the barista or the Aussie next to me had any idea, but I couldn’t have cared less. And then my mom called, so there was officially no hiding how upset I was (#moms).

No one had died, but I was convinced that my dream—which I spent a year and a half working toward—was about to. And it was all because a rejection was sitting in my lap, along with feedback that I had trouble accepting even though I knew some of it was true and helpful.

It’s been a while since I faced big, fat rejection. The kind that’s so concise and so intense (at the time) because the people giving it to you are gatekeepers to something you want. Now, to be fair to myself, I face mini-rejections all the time: ignored requests, deals that don’t go through, dudes that start dating someone else, conferences that choose a more suitable talent. But none of them sink their fangs into my worthiness because I trust that what’s meant for me will not pass me by—and that other things will come together.

You have to view rejection as a reflection of how big you’re dreaming and how high you’re aiming.

But the big fat rejection is real hard because that trust and worthiness seem so far away when it’s happening. I had been worried that this particular rejection could be painful and really test me. I remembered saying that as insanely excited I was about the entire process beginning, I was as equally scared shitless to deal with the rejections I knew would be on par for the course.

So while I can still feel the sting of the "no" and the tears that fell from it, here’s what I kept telling myself to take the edge off while it was happening.

If you’re not getting rejected, you’re not aiming high enough.

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Being in the arena means rejection is headed your way. You have to view rejection as a reflection of how big you’re dreaming and how high you’re aiming. And here’s what I know, whether it’s about business partnerships or human ones: It only takes one really well-aligned YES for things to work out. And oh, holy hell do you want that right one.

Rejection is a mechanism for feedback that will make you better.

“Diamonds require pressure,” my mom said as I cried on the phone. Often times when you get rejection, you’ll also get hard-to-swallow feedback. Some of it might be total bullshit, but some of it might resonate with you. The diamond comes from the changes and shifts you make from this feedback loop that rejection gives you. Rejection and feedback together can give you a new perspective and a new lens you might not have been able to see.

You’ve got a litmus test for your desire.

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When you want something bad enough, you’re willing to go through a lot to make it happen. When you place your hand right on the scalding stove of rejection and still want to cook with it again the next day, you know that this desire—this thing you’re going after—really matters to you. Sometimes just knowing that will help you push through even more of whatever comes your way.

Ya, rejection blows, but don’t let the fear of it keep you from going after something you really want. Because you’ll make it through. You WILL make it through. You always do.

This piece originally appeared on Maxie McCoy's blog.


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