Why You Shouldn't Fear Rejection (Or Your Own Dreams)

For every one time I get accepted to a festival, a conference, a workshop in a new studio in a different city, I get at least five rejections.

Recently, I’ve made tons of progress on my book proposal. I reached out to my writing mentor. The gist of the note was: Now what? The first sentence of my mentor’s reply was: First off, you will get rejected.

I laughed. I thought, "Ouch." Then I thought, "Well, so be it. It’s not like I’m a stranger to rejection these days."

Yesterday, a studio in Portland sent me a, "Thanks for the inquiry about our workshop calendar but we’re all full," response.

Last week, a yoga festival in the great Southwest sent me a note saying, "Thank you for applying but we just couldn’t fit you on the roster this year. Try again next year! And oh by the way, we’ll give you a sweet discount if you decide to come this year."

I’ve come to regard rejection as my old friend.

Two years ago, when I started applying and reaching out and searching for these opportunities, I was disgruntled by these responses. But now, they don’t phase me. I just smile and think, "Oh well. On to the next one."

I had lunch today with a former regular student. She now lives in a different city, but she dreams of becoming a yoga teacher one day. I have a strong suspicion that she would be in her element as a teacher, and it's my intention to encourage, uplift and support her in every way. We discussed the journey, the ins and outs, the pros and cons, the highs and lows. I didn’t hold back; I didn’t embellish. I shot her straight, as I always do in these conversations. The truth is, I know she could do this in a heartbeat if she really wanted to. But she’d have to give fear the finger, walk away from her current life of comfort (and frustration) and embrace the challenge head on.

I know that in time she'll move in this direction. How much time is up to her. And if I can, I will make a hotbed of opportunity available to her. I dream of working with her.

I was explaining to her my approach in teaching, managing, growing my own career and feeding my dreams. I was telling her how I keep our studio strong and positive and attractive for both teachers and students alike. After I shared my approach of using equal parts inspiration and guidance to keep my teachers evolving and prevent them from getting stuck, all while staying out of their way and encouraging them like a mama hen grows her babies, she looked at me and said, “Now who does that for you?”

I blanched.

Well, sometimes it comes from these folks. They inspire me endlessly. And then sometimes, most often, it comes from within.

The key has been this: I’ve learned not to poo-poo my dreams.

Better yet, I’ve learned to trot them out in the light of day. Even if someone meets them with a less than supportive response, that’s OK. They don’t have to support them. I do.

So here are my dreams for all to see:

I dream of being a published, best-selling author.

I dream of being an internationally acclaimed inspirational speaker.

I dream of teaching in yoga studios all over the world to sold-out crowds — workshops, festivals and conferences alike.

I dream of watching my children achieve their dreams happily.

I dream of opening donation-based concept studios like the one I work for, Karmany Yoga, all over the world, as a place where teachers can thrive, evolve and beam their passions into their communities with love, light and flight.

I dream of opening a juice, smoothie and soup kitchen that offers organic, fresh, healthy and tasty options at reasonable prices with an ambience that says, "I’m home."

These are my dreams today. They grow and evolve every day. The more I feed them, the more they inspire me right back. What are your dreams?

I implore you to bring them into the light. Let them shine. Pour your imagination into them. Don’t hold back. Don’t let rejection derail you. This is your life we’re talking about here. It’s not a dress rehearsal. Bring them out into the light so we can all support you. The world will be a better place then.

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