How to Deal with Card Rejection: Part 5

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Dealing With Rejection (Part 5 of 5)
Copyright © 2010 Kate Harper

Tip 10: Who in your life really wants you to succeed?

Quick! In one minute, make a list of the people in your life who are authentically happy for you when you experience success:


This is your list of people you should be hanging out with, especially when you experience rejection. They have your best interests at heart and can help you move forward in your creative life.

There are other types of people, who always seem ready to give criticism, but never take risks themselves. These people aren't really qualified to give you professional advice, especially if they don't understand how the card industry works.

When I failed at a card line, not only did it feel bad, but there always seemed to be someone hanging around, eager to tell me all the things I'd done wrong after the fact. People sometimes do this, not because they want to be mean, but perhaps because they want to reaffirm to themselves that taking risks is too scary and it can only lead to suffering when it doesn't work out.

There's a Tibetan proverb that says "birds will attack a dying snake." This means that a weak bird will attack a snake only when it is dying. Normally a bird will not attack a healthy snake, because the bird would get killed, so he waits until the snake is already dying, then he feels powerful.

When you emotionally feel like a dying snake, avoid hanging out with critical birds. Instead try to surround yourself with people who truly want you to succeed and believe it's OK to take risks and fail.

It's important to not give weight to those few who are eager to be overly critical. Somehow it seems like we pay more attention to one critical person, rather than ten supportive ones.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, some card makers have difficulties after success. One card designer told me "don't expect everyone to be happy for you after you succeed."

Even though it is hard to imagine that the people we love and care for would undermine our efforts, a spouse, a child or a friend may say something overly critical when your business is booming. Perhaps they feel personal time with you is no longer available...or perhaps they wish they could do what you're doing!? mmm?

If you're not getting support where you expected it, get it somewhere else. It's best to get it outside of your family and friends, and look for card professionals or business people. Many of them have the same challenges you do. If you haven't started a weekly buddy meeting, start one immediately.

Many people are afraid to put their artwork out in the world to be evaluated and criticized. This takes guts.

Give yourself credit for trying to grow and be different. Pat yourself on the back, and then keep going.

When all else fails, remember these important heartfelt statements by successful card designers I've interviewed. I asked them to reflect on what they thought their biggest mistakes were before their business succeeded:

"My biggest mistake was not looking ahead and making goals, not having any idea where I was going, and just feeling that whatever happens, happens, and was meant to be."

"My biggest mistake was where all my other mistakes came from: underestimating my own strength. I always thought there was someone else that knew more than I and who could do it better."

"My biggest mistake was not listening to myself, not trusting myself"

READERS--tell me how you deal with rejections--leave comments below.

10 Questions to ask when you're Rejected
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Part 1

Part 2
Tip 1: Are you approaching the right market?
Tip 2: Are you trying to sell handmade cards to a drugstore chain, or in a rural area?
Tip 3: Did you get feedback on "why not"?

Part 3
Tip 4: Is this just one person's opinion?
Tip 5: Are you taking rejection personally?
Tip 6: Are you willing to make adjustments?

Part 4
Tip 7: Have you thought about luck and timing?
Tip 8: Are you making weekly goals?
Tip 9: Are you in the waiting phase?

Part 5
Tip 10: Who in your life really wants you to succeed?

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Karyn Servin said...

Hi Kate
I really like your three quotes at the bottom or your post. My husband is always reminding me that I am successful even when I don't think I am. I believe the type of 'driven' personality that it takes to be an artist who submits work, also is a person who can be overly hard on themselves and have unreasonable expectations. I try to remember that I haven't had a 'real job' in 7 years and that being an artist is a journey, I am only at one part of the trip and still have a long way to go.

Thanks for your great post!

Kate Harper said...

I liked those quotes too, and they surprised me. I thought for sure they'd talk about their mistakes being manufacturing, staff, etc....but NO, they all talked about self-confidence and believing in interesting....must be a big problem card designers face.

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled upon your blog. Thank you for such thorough, thoughtful and practical advice. As a person just starting out with a small greeting card business, I am finding your information to be incredibly helpful! I have probably been the most worried about potential rejection (and how my fragile ego as an artist might react). I have not seen a better article on the subject than this one ANYWHERE. Thank you!!!

Kate Harper said...

Thanks for the kind words! -Kate

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