Gal Gadot almost quit acting after being told “no” so many times. Here’s how long you should stick it out before quitting
Rejection hurts, so toughen up.
Take it from one of Hollywood’s biggest rising stars, Gal Gadot, who recently said constant rejection made her consider returning to law school to support her family before the role of Wonder Woman catapulted her career.
“I was as close as it gets,” the 32-year-old “Justice League” star told “Sunday Today” host Willie Geist when asked how close she came to giving up acting. “There’s so much rejection in this world that I thought, ‘Maybe it’s not for me. Maybe I should go back to law school instead of dragging my family with me.’”
Gadot joins a number of successful people who almost threw in the towel before having a breakthrough career moment. After years of struggling financially, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz almost quit when his father-in-law pushed him to give up his “hobby.” His wife, Sheri Schultz, encouraged him to keep moving forward. Now he’s sitting on an $84.6 billion java empire.
Media mogul Arianna Huffington said that after her second book was rejected by 36 publishers, she used negative feedback as fuel to step up her game. “My mother used to tell me, ‘failure is not the opposite of success, it’s a stepping stone to success,’” she told Fast Company.
Before taking Vogue by storm, editrix Anna Wintour was fired from Harper’s Bazaar after nine months. Similarly, before her reign as the queen of all media, Oprah Winfrey was let go from an evening news reporter for apparently getting too emotionally attached to stories. And before mega-hit “Scandal,” actress Kerry Washington was reportedly fired from a show that she hasn’t publicly identified.
“When things aren’t going right, the most important thing you can do is get feedback on what you need to adjust in order to succeed,” business management consultant Liz Bentley tells Moneyish, adding that it’s important to find a mentor within your industry.
That means checking your ego at the door and asking the person who said no to you — a hiring manager, agent or boss — what you did wrong so you can work to improve.
“It takes a little courage sometimes, but maybe they’ll tell you something to modify that you can turn it into a success,” career coach Roy Cohen says. “Ask yourself, ‘Can I objectively take something away from this? Is this feedback legitimate, or is it telling me I should try a little harder? Are you willing to acquire those skills?’ If you say no, then that means you really don’t want it.”
Rejection also has a deeper psychological effect: When faced with it, individuals feel like their actions fail to have the desired effect, leading to loss of hope or giving up. Studies show that our belief in whether we’ll succeed or fail influences how much effort we put into our actions. And the more we fail, the more impossible the goal seems to be.
When this happens, take a minute to process your emotions and channel the negative energy into healthy outlets like exercising, writing or talking, Cohen advises. “Do a little reality check. Speak to folks who have been in the same situation. How did you handle this? What were some of the steps they took,” he says.
Criticism is difficult especially when it’s not something you want to hear, but Bentley recommends running your project proposal, pitch, invention or monologue by a trusted friend or colleague. Track your progress and small wins over the course of a two-year period before giving up altogether.
When you feel like you’ve done everything, and are feeling physical signs of anguish beyond frustration, it’s time to evaluate your goals. “If you’re losing sleep, having medical issues, your skin breaks out, you’re eating not for enjoyment, but as a way to relieve stress, take a step away,” says Cohen.
“If you dread going into work on Monday, if you’re always thinking about work, but not thinking about it in a way that makes you feel excited, but overwhelmed by it,” he added, “it could be time to push the pause button to find time to reflect and examine your intentions.”
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