I’m thinking about times when things don’t go my way. For example, sometimes I don’t get into juried art shows. I rarely talk about it because it feels like a rejection and calls for a private moment. I find it easier to talk about the times I do get in. Success makes me feel good; not succeeding makes me think about all sorts of things.
But, if we submit to juried shows which have limited acceptances, learning how to deal with being declined is part of the process. Who knows, maybe its one of the growth moments that enable us to be successful later on.
Recently I received both a declination notice and an acceptance notice in the same week. The situation prompted me to consider how I deal with both notices. The acceptance is easy; I have a “woohoo” moment. Being declined is much more emotionally charged. Here’s how I think I’ve handled it over the years.
How I Handle The “Sometimes I Don’t” Moment
When I first entered into shows I wanted to know specifics, why was I declined? I was thinking along the lines of: “How do I pass this test? What did I do wrong and how do I fix it?” I quickly learned that these are questions that no one will answer you directly. The questions are answered by thoughtful self reflection.
Next, I learned to focus on my friends and colleagues who did get in. By being happy for them and sharing a little in their success, I felt better. And, you can bet I was looking at what they did for clues to what went right. I still like to focus on my friends and colleagues who get in. It is a “share the feel good” moment.
This year I gathered another bit of insight. I look at my painting that didn’t get in to a particular show and ask myself, “Do I like it? Does it say want I want it to say? Does it measure up to my standards?” When I can say “yes” to these questions and believe that I put forth my best, then I can be happy. Being declined becomes less relevant to me and my work.
I wonder what insight I’ll have next time a “sometimes I don’t” moment comes around again. I hope it is not for a while.
How about you, how do you handle being declined?
About the Painting.
This is one of the paintings that I entered into a juried show but was declined. I love the painting. I achieved the results I desired.