Lately I read an article about our attitudes about cancer on Wired. It had come across my newsfeed and since my dad has had run-ins with cancer the last couple of years, and because I always love the idea of evolving anything, it caught my attention and stuck.
The point of the article is to understand that we need to simply expect cancer.
We eat things not so good for us, we stay up late, we do things our bodies weren’t necessarily ever meant to do. If we start expecting cancer it can help put us in the right mindset to make better choices. We can be more prepared when it rears its ugly head.
Just as we expect to get older, we must also expect to confront cancer.
I was chatting with a friend recently about some opportunities. Progress has been slow, stagnant even.
Then, just as I felt myself filling with doubt, I immediately started imagining a more positive picture (something I’ve taught myself over the years): It’s summer, people are out of town and on long vacations, things are bound to be at a bit of a stand-still.
Suddenly an idea struck: just like cancer, we need to expect rejection.
In the music business we deal with rejection daily. Going after a goal that doesn’t materialize can feel like complete and utter failure. Rejection takes over our mental state just like cancer can debilitate our physical state.
In fact, I remember a period of my career when coming into work meant dreading every second of the day. I could not get anyone to call me back, send me an email, listen to ANYTHING. I actively looked for anything to do that wasn’t work because I couldn’t take the rejection.
Thoughts went through my head – what did I say wrong? what can I do better? where do I turn next? I began to over-analyze and give up because I was not prepared to deal with the rejection.
Then I took control.
I learned to play a game with myself to help get me in the right mindset. My new goal? Get turned down as often as possible by clients I didn’t have a longstanding relationship with.
That means that if I talked to someone on the phone, it didn’t count. I could only reach my goal by leaving voicemails.
This was an insane turn of events because all of a sudden, I’m not expecting, or even HOPING that anyone answers their phone or responds to an email. It completely changed my mindset.
I’ve learned that rejection and failure are simply a part of the process. In fact, they are the BULK of the process.
Every time you pursue, push through a barrier, or start all over again it’s merely a continuation of the rejection process.
The good news
I know it sounds bad, but there IS good news.
- Success isn’t life or death – we may not be able to live without music in our lives, but we can certainly live without getting a major record deal or landing a song in a huge commercial.
- We get better – cancer is very often fatal, and often times if we deal with it once and it returns it signals the end. Rejection? Failure? We can get better – we can improve our outreach, go after different connections, and learn from our mistakes.
It’s an upward spiral as long as we keep moving forward.
The next time you’re feeling like nothing is happening for you, that you’ve lost forward momentum, or you just feel like nothing will ever come your way remember – that feeling of rejection is to be expected.
Go try again.
If you need help refining your strategy for landing a music placement, why not subscribe to my newsletter for some new ideas?