It is all to easy to allow rejection or criticism from others to cloud the view you have of yourself, all too often we can fall into the trap of confusing an opinion and an absolute fact. One of my favorite quotes is the African Proverb, which says: “When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”
This serves as a great reminder to see knock-backs from a far healthier perspective. Whether you take on feedback suggestions and adapt what you do to improve or you stay true to your style and persevere, what counts is the faith you have in yourself.
I wanted to share some of my favourite pieces of ‘feedback’ as they always make me smile:
- Charlie Chaplin’s act was rejected by executives because they thought it was too obscure for people to understand. He did not give up and eventually one took a chance him… he went on to become America’s first bona fide movie star.
- Marilyn Monroe’s first contract with Columbia Pictures expired because they told her she wasn’t pretty or talented enough to be an actress. Monroe kept plugging away and is one of the most iconic actresses and sex symbols of all time.
- Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Several more of his business failed before the premiere of his movie Snow White. Today, the Disney Company has made over 250 films and has assets of over £72,billion.
- In Fred Astaire’s first screen test, the judges wrote: “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” Fred went on to be one of the most famous dancers of all time, staring in over 31 musical films – with a career that spanned 76 years
- Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first television reporting job because they told her she wasn’t fit to be on screen. Today Oprah has become the undisputed queen of television talk shows.
- Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting in his entire life and that was to a friend. He sometimes starved in order to create the 800 paintings he’d eventually do. Today, his works are priceless.
- J K Rowling’s first book Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone was rejected by 12 different book publishers before it was picked up by Bloomsbury. Even though they agreed to publish the book they advised her to get a day job, as she had little chance of making money in children’s books. She is now internationally renowned for her 7 book Harry Potter series and is the first person to become a billionaire from writing.
- Albert Einstein didn’t speak until age four and didn’t read until age seven. His teachers labeled him ‘slow’ but Einstein just had a different way of thinking. He later won the Nobel Prize in physics.
When I first started out I lacked confidence, which led me try and seek reassurance from others by being ‘all things to all people’. My dear friend and mentor shared some words of wisdom that I found invaluable, so I would like to end by sharing them with you….
First, list all of the people that will love you no matter what you do, however badly you mess up, whatever mistakes you make, they will be there. How many are there? Two, three, five, may be a few more.
Now, list all the people that will hate you no matter what you do, however compassionate and thoughtful you are, they will always dislike you. How many are there? May be one or two for most people.
In your life there are a few people that have a real depth of feeling towards you – the rest of the world really doesn’t care that much, their opinions may be of interest, they may not be – so don’t hide your light or doubt your abilities…. get out there and be authentic, believe in yourself and share your gifts with the world.