Spring 2020 Ambassador Workshop dedicated to failure and rejection
As a part of the Start@Shea Ambassador program, all ambassadors get to sit in on workshops that teach them about the essential skills of entrepreneurship. One workshop last year was about failure and rejection. Although this is not a skill one needs to be an entrepreneur, it taught all of the ambassadors that failure and rejection are key realities of being an entrepreneur.
The workshop, led by Maggie Yan (CSOM ‘22), was brilliantly designed to show both other students’ rejection and share some of our own. At the end of the entire workshop, I definitely felt a sense of relief that there are other people going through the same thing as me. We built camaraderie around the fact that we have all failed and been rejected.
Maggie started off the workshop with a brief summary of her background and the first times she had felt rejection. One of the first times she experienced this was when her family moved back to the United States after living in Hungary for 8 years. She said that the first form of rejection she felt was societal/silent rejection. This is not being outright rejected from something you apply to but instead, society subtly reminding you that you do not fit in and do not belong to the community. Maggie said this was especially challenging because she wanted to grow a network of friends and when people associate with you in school but as nothing more than a classmate, it was difficult.
Maggie also added some other examples of failure and rejection through both her middle school and high school years. After this, we all shared, which was the team building part of this workshop. I shared about my experiences getting rejected from summer internships, where I did not receive an official rejection until a few days ago while there were multiple signs of quiet rejection all the way back in November. Others shared as well about club rejections but one of the best things we discussed was a ted talk by Jia Jiang entitled “What I learned from 100 days of rejection.” Jia put themself through rejection each day for 100 days by asking people for things that he predicted they would say no to. Eventually and surprisingly, people started saying yes but the main goal of this social experiment was to numb the pain and feelings associated with rejection and failure.
After watching this video, Maggie challenged us to do the same during all the time we have during quarantine. She challenged us to get rejected or at least attempt to get rejected by doing one of the following:
- Message a high-up person on LinkedIn and see what happens or direct message a celebrity on Instagram
- Ask a parent to go to a restaurant
- Ask a friend for $20 via Venmo
- Ask a sibling for a foot massage
- Ask someone on a (virtual) date if you’re feeling extra adventurous
I tried messaging a “high-up” person on LinkedIn to see about a potential summer 2020 internship and, although it did not work out, I learned to take initiative and that failure will probably hurt just a little less next time. I implore you to do the same — if you have the time and resources, seek out a way to get rejected and who knows, you could find or get something that you never would have otherwise.
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