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Tears spilled onto my keyboard as I read the 2-star Amazon review:
“Worst book ever. It’s so negative and she just goes on and on. Glad I got it cheap but it’s not worth the $1.99.”
I was devastated. It took me seven years to write that book. I struggled through the self-publishing process but managed to get my first book out into the world. I’d poured my heart, and many personal stories from my tragic break-up, into that book.
And then along came a rejection zombie to piss all over it.
*A word from the Crypt Keeper:
In Episode #4 of BUSINESS TALES FROM THE CRYPT, a confidence eating zombie hunts you down. It wrecks your life by leaving you bad reviews, sending hate mail to your inbox, rejecting your podcast/media pitches, and constantly telling you that you suck and shouldn’t be in business. Can you stop the Rejection Zombie from eating your self confidence and killing your business dreams?
Find out in this episode: Rejection Zombie...
Those comments stung like a hot poker through the eye and I started to doubt myself. Was my book absolutely horrendous like she said? Did I drone on and on? Maybe I should give up writing completely…since I’m so terrible at it.
I wondered how I could have been less “negative” when writing about a terrible break-up that shattered my world. I mean, the topic wasn’t a happy one…but I added numerous tips and strategies for surviving a break-up…and swirled in humor and sarcasm too. Did she see that?
After questioning my book and my writing ability, I started questioning the source of the review. Who the hell was she? Why would someone take the time to write such a scathing review?
I looked up her other Amazon reviews and noticed something intriguing. My book was the only one she’d read about break-ups…but there were three other books she’d reviewed, which were all about how to find a NEW MAN! Clearly, she wasn’t torn up over the loss of her relationship…
…and she wasn’t looking for strategies to heal a broken heart. She had moved on and was already looking for a replacement.
No wonder she hated my book. It wasn’t written for her. It was written for women who were actually sad about getting dumped and wanted help dealing with the tough emotions that come with that.
That helped me take on a new perspective…and stop that Rejection Zombie from gobbling up my dreams of writing more books.
But that wasn't the last time a rejection zombie came after me...
Throughout my career as an entrepreneur, I’ve been rejected by:
- Podcast hosts I’ve pitched, asking to be a guest on their show
- Journalists I’ve pitched, asking to be featured in articles
- Literary agents I’ve submitted book proposals to
- Prospective clients who decided not to work with me
- Job applicants who rejected my job offer
- Entrepreneurs I’ve asked to collaborate with me
Each time I heard the word “no” felt like having splinters shoved under my fingernails. Every time I heard nothing back at all…just dead silence…made me want to hide in a dark closet and never come back out.
Every time a Rejection Zombie showed up, it wrecked me…until I figured out how to deal with it.
If you’ve ever felt the sharp pain of rejection, a bad review, a nasty comment from an internet troll, or a hateful message in your inbox, here’s how to survive it:
- Question the source.
Find out who you’re dealing with. Is the Rejection Zombie someone who genuinely wants to offer constructive feedback that could help you do better? Or is it someone who’s jealous that you’re showing up in the world while they’re snoozing though life? If the Rejection Zombie is coming at you with a harsh attack, it’s probably because they feel like shit, not because your work is shit. Remember that.
- See rejection as a weeding out process.
Every time someone unfollows you, unsubscribes, or says “no” to your offer, do a happy dance…because that’s a good thing. You aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and you don’t want to waste your time talking to people who don’t “get” you. When you get rejected, you have evidence that the people who just aren’t for you are being weeded out…leaving your ideal audience behind to devour your work and sing your praises.
- Look for the positive.
Not every comment is bad. Not every invitation is answered with a “no”. Look back on all the times you got a positive review, an email thanking you for the work you do, glowing praise from a client, or a “yes” that led to a great opportunity. When a Rejection Zombie’s got you feeling down, turn your eyes to all the good and it will zap that zombie away.
- Rank your opinion higher than anyone else’s.
Your opinion is the one you have to live with. Unlike the opinions of other’s, you can’t ignore it, delete it, or get away from it. As such, your opinion should always be the one you care about- not anyone else’s. It’s not your responsibility to please everybody. It’s only your responsibility to do the best job you can.
Ask yourself: Am I proud of the work I’ve done? Do I feel good about the way I handled that situation? Did I do my absolute best here?
If the answer is “yes”, forget what anyone else has to say. If the answer is “no”, be grateful that the Rejection Zombie led you to a place of self discovery and helped you see what you can do better moving forward.
If you’re an entrepreneur, coach, therapist, or creative business woman, you’re bound to experience criticism and rejection…because you’re out there in the world doing shit. You’re only safe from the Rejection Zombie if you’re sitting on the sidelines like a coward.
But rejection doesn’t have to destroy your confidence…your dreams…or your business. You have the power to fight off any Rejection Zombie that shows up in your life and move forward in your work no matter what.
The next time you feel the sting of rejection, pull up these tips and put them into action!