I saw the email in my in box and my breath caught in my throat. I was expecting a response from a major publishing company about the book. A “thumbs up” would be the catalyst for an exciting new path in my writing and speaking career. It would also be a dream-come-true for my co-author Jackie.
The first couple of sentences were complimentary, “clearly written, stories that excellently illustrate your points, something that would prove of benefit to the general reader etc.” But the bottom line was no.
I had to remind myself to breathe. I could feel my chest tighten. My throat seemed to shut down, as if words trying to form there would no longer be able to escape. I looked out the window and the gentle rain seemed to be a substitute for the tears that would not fall from me. I come from stoic stock and crying just gives me a headache. I find it best to move on.
This letter was one of many rejections I’ve received in my life, but this one hurt more than most. I notified Jackie, who I knew would be disappointed as well. I sat for a moment and thought about what I would do. I pulled out my sample query letter and book proposal, searched the internet for another publisher and sent a revised letter off to someone new. I still didn’t feel better so I queried a couple of literary agents as well.
For a moment I felt like a failure, but then I realized the situation was the perfect opportunity to practice what I preach and take steps to erase my own negativity. Step one is acknowledging the negativity and deciding to do something about it. That comes automatically to me now so I skipped off to step two, erase and replace. I searched for new publishers and agents and set a new course. I didn’t beat myself up for being rejected, I concentrated on what I could do – try again. The third tip I tell folks is to smile. I took a shower instead.
No one likes rejection, but rejection and a smelly body are a bad combination. After my shower I started to dress. The closet doors in the master bedroom have mirrors. I stared at my reflection and gave myself a cheesy smile. No, I didn’t feel like it, but I did it anyway. As I dried my hair I thought about what really keeps people in a funk. I think it is loss of hope. There are any number of disappointing things that can happen to us, but as long as we can hold on to a glimmer of hope, there is the prospect of a better outcome in the future.
Even though I have written, lectured and coached folks on erasing negativity, I am only human and have bouts with personal negativity. But, with practice, I have learned to employ tactics to minimize the amount of negativity I allow into my life. And you can do the same.
If you would like to watch a you a short you tube video on Three Tips to Erase Negativity, go to
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have queries to write, people to call and smiles to fake until I can generate an authentic one of my own. Ha! Just writing about fake smiles made me laugh, a little laugh, but a laugh all the same. And the rain stopped.
I’m feeling more hopeful already.