Dealing with Rejection

March 20, 2014 — 16 Comments


In one of my earlier posts this year, I declared some of my hopes and dreams for 2014. One of them was that I’d write a book and get it published. Well, that journey has begun. I have a great agent who has worked with me to hone the proposal, and we have it out to a dozen publishers or so.

Last week, I got my first rejection email.

“We’re going to take a pass on this one,” it read.

How could anyone possibly pass on these life altering concepts that I’ve birthed? How could they look at my baby and not think it’s the most adorable thing in the world? Who in their right mind wouldn’t immediately fly to my house to enter into the bidding war that was certain to ensue?


Actually, I was surprised that it wasn’t that big of a deal to me. I have gotten lots of nos in my life.

There was the young woman in college who I repeatedly asked out, and who repeatedly gave lame but kind excuses, hoping I would get the hint. When I didn’t, she finally said it straight: “Look, I am not interested in you.” It was painful, but I moved on.

There was the church in Orange County that I so desperately wanted to work at, where I made it all the way down to the final two people. I think I went through 13 interviews, including a weekend trip out there with Mary. I remember walking the beach and thinking, “This is going to happen! I can’t believe it.” A few weeks later, I got the phone call, telling me that even though I was the greatest pastor ever, they were going with the other guy. That was really painful. But I really did move on.

There have been lots and lots of small nos. When I wrote that crazy parenting post that went viral and ended up on Huffington Post, most of the reaction was very positive. But there was also many severe reactions, one that called into question my mental stability, and one that said they were sorry that my wife and kids had to be married to a person that would say those things.

Even our journey with infertility over seven long years felt like rejection. Every month, our hopes would rise, and every month, they’d be dashed against the rocks. Every friend that got pregnant felt like personal rejection. Every new fertility treatment we’d try that didn’t work felt like rejection.

So, how do you deal with rejection?

Feel the disappointment all the way down to the ground. Get mad. Feel hurt. Voice how disappointed you are to friends that can listen. Don’t try to pretend it didn’t matter that much, or that your hopes weren’t really that high. Let your hopes rise, and let them crash.

Ask someone you trust to tell you that they believe in you, and why. I know this sounds cheesy, like demanding that your spouse tell you they love you. But I have found that I need to hear from people who know me that they believe in me, and why they believe in me.

Keep moving towards yes. Your book, your business, your partnership, your idea is not for everyone, but it is for someone, or some group. Someone needs what you give. So, when you’re done being upset, dust off that idea and get it back out there, because the world needs what you give. We’ve all heard how many times Edison failed before the light bulb worked, or how many times Einstein was wrong before he got the theory of relativity right.

You’re a gift to the cosmos, and you will get to yes. Keep going.

I’ll let you know when the book gets published!

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16 responses to Dealing with Rejection

  1. I woke up this morning obsessed with thoughts of my rejection yesterday when I was passed over for a big promotion at work. I decided to read my mail and a link took me here. I needed this today. Thank you for sharing and for your insights on moving on. Blessings.

  2. This came at a good time for me. I recently have felt like such a failure. I needed to hear to keep going. Thanks for your words.

  3. Steve,
    As I was reading this post, I was thinking, “this is so awesome that he is including all of his readers on this journey with him; that is so freak’n awesome!” I cant wait till it’s published (it will happen!). I’m so excited for you! Thanks for including us!


  4. Steve, Do you know of Andy Andrews and
    the story of his first rejected book? I think it was around 15 or more times. He finally self published and sold I think 100K, went back to a publisher and they said no again because they thought the market was saturated with the book already so he sold another 100K on his own.(confirm the numbers but it WAS BIG) Point, God’s plans for Steve Wiens – Massively Bigger!!! BTW that book landed Andy Andrews on the TODAY show, why? It was all in the timing which was orchestrated by God via all the rejections.

  5. Good luck Steve! I believe in you because you are talented, driven, and committed to seeing this project through to completion. I am also convicted, along with many others, that the world needs what you have to offer! Waiting with hope for your yes,

    Jenny Hill recently posted…The Kindling of a FlameMy Profile

  6. Great insights on rejection. I have absolutely no doubt that you’ll end up published, Steve. Too many of us are waiting outside the bookstore, ready to swarm in when it arrives. Frank Peretti had over a dozen rejections before Crossway asked for a second look on a book that changed the face of Christian publishing. Thanks for being transparent — it’s your hallmark and is a strong show of integrity.
    Alyce-Kay Hanush recently posted…Spiritual JourneysMy Profile

  7. Thanks for telling me what I needed to hear today. I was feeling very battered at work this week. So I took your advice and asked my boss for a five minute pep talk. She said let’s do lunch instead. This day is looking up! Thanks again!

  8. Yes, rejection hurts. My grief book, Grace for a Grieving Heart, has now been rejected 16 times, and the last one was actually a “yes” if I would make changes that meant compromising my beliefs. So I was the one who said “no.” I keep telling myself that Madeleine L’Engle’s book, A Wrinkle in Time (one of my favorites) was rejected more than 30 times and ended up winning the Newberry Award. Thanks for this post!
    Sandy Sheppard recently posted…LonelinessMy Profile

  9. Wonderful post. Cuts to the heart if rejection, fear, and hope. Loved the encouragement to allow hopes to be high. I have tried it both ways and when I don’t allow my hopes to soar and rejection follows it doesn’t hurt any less, I just feel as if I haven’t given my best. In it to win it. Thank you my virtual pastor!

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