As I was flipping through a magazine one day, my eyes fell on an odd-looking advertisement featuring a kitten gazing into a full-length mirror. What grabbed my attention was the image reflected in the mirror was not of a kitten but a ferocious lion.
This tiny kitten perceived himself king of the jungle. With all confidence I believe his meow sounded to him like a roar.
When you look into the mirror what do you see? Do you envision a confident business woman, loving father or community leader? Or is your reflection a snapshot of a broken hearted child trying to mask the pain of rejection? Only you know the truth.
My goal is to help you identify the real you. I’m not referring to personality, image or corporate identity but the person you long to become. While I cannot guarantee you the perfect life, understanding and applying the following principles will empower you to live a successful and joyous life.
I want to begin by talking about your future. More specifically, I want to help you identify your dreams and the role rejection plays in fulfilling those dreams. Throughout this chapter I am going to reveal practical ways to use rejection as a catalyst to launch you into your future.
I love being around dreamers. As a matter of fact, my closest friends and mentors are dreamers. Enthusiastic, positive and self-assured, they are not easily lured by the entrapment of insecurity.
Having faced the perilous pit of rejection on more than one occasion, they understand the importance of remaining anchored to their dreams. When I think about dreamers Cynthia immediately comes to mind.
As a stay-at-home mom, Cynthia was away from the job market for more than twenty years. With her children grown and away at college, she accepted a receptionist position at a local real estate firm. Quick-witted and a sharp thinker Cynthia was quickly promoted and encouraged by her office manager to join their sales team.
After months of on-line real estate classes she took the realtor’s examination for licensing and failed. She took the test a second time and failed yet again. A third attempt yielded the same unsuccessful result.
The magnificent part of Cynthia’s story is she refused to accept failure as defeat. Rather than walking away from her dreams, in order to escape rejection, she worked towards them with greater fervency and expectation of success. Succeed she did. Today she is the owner of a real estate corporation, and her brokerage firm is one of the top grossing businesses in the northeast.
Sadly, not all of my friends have survived the slippery slopes of rejection with such ease. As you read the stories below I want you to think about your dreams and consider how rejection plays an influential role in achieving them.
One dear lady’s story:
Last fall, I traveled with two friends on a business trip to Los Angeles. Having worked in the fashion industry for years I was toying with the idea of starting a boutique-style clothing line of my own. Hoping for words of encouragement I shared my business proposal with my friends.
The words I received were a far cry from encouraging, in fact, they belittled my plans and discounted my ideas. In a moment my creative energy dissipated as a wall of fear washed over my heart. I went home shelved my plans and buried my dream.
One year later a business associate, within my company, launched a similar clothing line and it was a huge success. The greatest mistake I made was to listening to the discouraging words of my friends.
Friends are not the only ones who dismiss our dreams.
“My childhood dream was to become an engineer. The thought of developing office suites, high-rise condominiums and buildings kept me awake at night. I envisioned owning a successful construction company and growing it into a global business.
Although I had significant dreams, my father had an entirely different set of blueprints for my life. Persuading me to carry on the family business, a local car dealership established by my grandfather, I forsook my dream of becoming an engineer only to fail miserably in the automobile industry. Each time I travel to the city I live with the regret of not pursuing my dream.”
Guess what? The percentage of people who actually live out their dreams is overwhelmingly small. Why? Most people live in fear of what people will say if they fail.
Don’t think for one moment we haven’t all slammed the brakes on our dreams because of something someone said. I’ll be the first to confess, there were times when words from a negative person cut so deep I packed up my dreams and recoiled into seclusion.
We have all made this mistake. I know how irresistible the temptation is to connect, fit in, and relate. In reality, fearing the opinions of others destroys our dreams at a faster rate than outright failure. Our human dilemma is no one wants to feel like the freak who is always failing, but neither do we want to blend into ambiguity.
The truth is there are two types of people within each of us, the chameleon content to camouflage his way through life and the dreamer who detests conformity. For many the dreamer within you has been asleep far too long. It’s time for you wave goodbye to the naysayers, skeptics and critics, dust away the cobwebs collecting on your dreams and begin living a life filled with purpose.
Discover more of Dr. Tracey Mitchell’s encouraging wisdom here in her article Conquering Your Fears
A national conference speaker, Tracey travels 40+ weeks a year, sharing Biblical principles and wisdom. Her real life experiences – though painful and challenging enable her to identify with the hurting, lonely, and rejected. Whether speaking corporate CEO’s or the homeless, Tracey’s passion for re-writing the lives of the brokenhearted makes her messages relevant and empowering. A frequent television guest and host of “Today With Tracey”, she is an advocate of those having experienced rejection, poverty or emotional abuse.
To learn more about the author please visit Tracey Mitchell