Happy New Year! If you’ve been following my journey on social media you’ll know that I was vying for my dream job as Cancun.com’s Cancun Experience Officer (CEO). You may also know that thanks to the amazing and endless support of the people around me, I was doing pretty sweet in the vote rankings (ending in 49th place out of over 6000 applicants from 120 countries). Although votes weren’t the sole criteria in the selection of the TOP 100, or TOP 120 as it later became, I was feeling pretty hopeful that I had a good chance of making it through to the next round… I did not. I thought the New Year would be a great time to talk about how that made me feel, my feelings on rejections and the positives that can be taken from rejection.
When I received the email about not making the TOP 100 I was sitting in a patrol car with Officer Bryan McKean of the Upper Arlington Police Division doing a ride along and preparing to do a video with him on Travel Safety and Situational Awareness. Although I was disappointed about not being accepted to move on to the next round, I wasn’t devastated. I had said from the beginning that this opportunity would be a long shot and that if this was something that was meant for me, it would be mine. Otherwise I just have to keep my head up and know that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be at this moment to learn or grown as a person. For being something that I wanted so badly, I was taking it rather well.
Later that day, I saw a new post saying that new partners were coming on board for the competition and the TOP 100 was going to be increased by another 20 applicants. “AMAZING!” I thought. I had an epic “Dumb and Dumber” moment and said, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance!” Although I had thought the original rejection had not affected me too much, apparently it did because now I was overly excited and hopeful. I immediately responded to the post saying that I couldn’t wait to see who made the cut, obviously hoping that it was me and mentally crossing my fingers the whole time. The list came out. I scrolled diligently through each of the 120 names, only to be disappointed again to see that I was not on the list. I took a deep breath, tried to remind myself of my “It is what it is; it is as it’s meant to be” mantra, clicked the like button on the post to be a good sport and congratulate those moving forward and tried to move on.
About 15-20 minutes later, I received a notification to my phone. Bing! “Cancun.com mentioned you in a post”! Whaaa!?! What’s this?? I have been mentioned? It’s probably just a “better luck next time, thanks for being a part of the application process” message. I clicked the notification and to my utter surprise it said “Check out our latest post Kimberly Root!” “OMG! OMG! OMG! I’VE BEEN ADDED!” I thought. I went back to the list that had disappointed me less than a half hour earlier and scrolled through the names with squeals of excitement, A names…B’s…C’s…. yeah yeah yeah… let’s skip to the K’s…. K! Ka’s….Ke’s….. Kh…K…SHIT! I’m not on it! Why tag me and only me in that post where so many others had also responded, just to say in essence, “Look at 120 people who did better than you!”? Laaaahhhhooooo saaaaheeer! Jim Carrey again popping into my head. You know what they say about “assuming”. Well that utterly blows, but that’s life. It has plans of its own.
Within the course of several hours I went through a gamut of emotions and that’s ok! Human emotion is healthy. I went through indifference, hope, disappointment, excitement, rejection, sadness, irritation, and finally acceptance. It wasn’t Cancun.com’s fault that I didn’t make the cut. They had to look through 6000 video applications and they are just trying to pick the best person for the job. I wouldn’t even say that it’s my fault that I didn’t make the cut. It wasn’t that I was bad, it was just that other people (at least 120 of them) were better and that’s ok. When I started this competition, before my news interview, when I only had 500 votes, I would have never thought I would have even gotten close to 7600 votes. I would have never dreamed that I would have been the 49th most popular person out of 6000 applicants. That’s a huge accomplishment! Even more than that, I would have never imagined that I would have received emails and messages from people telling me that I’ve inspired them. That’s the biggest accomplishment of them all. I want to continue to inspire others and that’s why I won’t let rejection defeat me. Some may call rejection a failure, but it’s hard for me to see failure when you learn and grow from it.
One of the many jobs that I have in my Mary Poppin’s bag of trades is that I’m a nanny. One day Sam, my 6 year old, was building a garage out of magnet tiles. I have seen Sam build some amazing structures out of these things. It’s quite impressive, but for some reason that day just wasn’t his day. He could not get his garage to stand the way he wanted it to. It just kept collapsing over and over and over again and he began to cry.
I asked him, “Sam, why are you crying?”
He said to me, “I can’t get the garage to stay up. I failed.”
“You didn’t fail, Sam. You found a bunch of ways that didn’t work. You see that light bulb up there?” I said pointing up. “Do you know that the guy who created it took thousands of tries to get it right?”
“Really?” he said.
“Really! His name was Thomas Edison and he said, ‘I have not failed 10,000 times. I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that it will not work.’ So see, you didn’t fail, Sam. You just found out what won’t work. Now you have to keep trying until you find the way to make your structure the most stable. So keep trying!! Have you tried 10,000 times?” (Sam shakes his head “no”) “Then it seems to me, you’ve got some work to do kiddo. You’re not allowed to give up yet.”
In the end, I believe Sam eventually moved on to a new project, but that’s another great topic, “Taking a Break: Knowing When to Let Go or When to Revisit”, but that’s a lesson for another day. The moral of this lesson is to turn what you think are “failures” into successes. Learn what did not work and grow from it so that you can better yourself for the future. After taking a few days to contemplate me missing the mark to make the Top 120, I sent Cancun.com a message asking what I could do better in the future and what areas they thought I could improve on. Although, they were unable to answer my question yet, being short staffed due to the holidays, I will definitely follow up and try to learn from their feedback.
In addition to being able to learn from the rejection itself, there was a lot of positive that came from the Cancun.com CEO Search. I found out how many people care about me and want to help me succeed. I found out that my reach and the people that I’ve inspired thus far is larger than I imagined. I was inspired to put out more content and try different ways to get my message out, such as video. I’ve also been encouraged to grow my social media following even larger to give myself more of a platform to be heard and to help others. So that’s exactly what I’m going to do! So just remember, just because you don’t get the outcome you want doesn’t mean that you can’t lead a phenomenal life. Don’t get bitter. Get better.
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