How to deal with rejection and set backs: Three salt sisters weigh in


Ahhh Rejection. We all come across it at some point. Yes, it sucks. And no, there isn’t really a cure or magic formula against it. We’ve all had that feeling of wanting something so badly, putting all our energy and hard work towards it and expecting it to work out just right, only to have it fall short. We ponder, we sulk, we question our own abilities, to ultimately state that we’re the ones at fault.

“I’m not good enough” “They picked someone better” “I’ll never get it right”… Sound familiar?

It’s happened to me many times. A job that didn’t happen, an article that didn’t get published, a dream- fuelled email that went un-replied. I’ve let it hit me, a few times, quite hard. But what gets me through it is the realisation that while it may feel like a failure for now, it’s also a door that isn’t meant to open. I simply have a different key, one that opens an even bigger, better door.

Below are some beautiful people I am extremely fortunate to know. Fighters, hard workers, women who stand up every time they get knocked down. They wake up in the morning ready to do it all again. They’ve built themselves from scratch, and have learnt a few things along the way.

How to deal with rejection and set backs

Emma Norris.

@emmajanenorris @agirlinprogress
Founder of women’s career lifestyle website
A Girl In Progress and Copywriting Company Content In The City. Freelance writer and self-proclaimed carb-lover.

Rejection is a natural and inevitable part of putting yourself out there. You'd be hard-pressed to find a creative who hasn't been rejected or told 'no' at some point — and if they haven't, then they're not putting themselves out there or enough, or throwing a wide enough net. While it can be easier said than done, I think the most important thing to remember is that it's not a reflection on you, your worth or even your skills or talents. You genuinely never know what is happening on the other person's end. If it's an editor, they may have just had their budget slashed, or the publication could even be closing down. Or it might be a great idea, but just not for that particular publication.

The other crucial thing to remember is that ‘no’ doesn’t always have to mean a ‘no, never’, but it could be a ‘no, not right now’. I’ve been rejected for things only to be successful later, or for them to ask me to work for them in some other capacity.
— Emma Norris

I've been rejected for things only to be successful later, or for them to ask me to work for them in some other capacity. If you weren't particularly attached to the opportunity, move on to the next person who might pick up what you're putting down. But if you really had your heart sold on it, check in a few months time — circumstances do change and they'll likely admire your persistance.

Katie Williams

Entrepreneur, health & fitness expert, Podcaster of “Better For It”

Dealing with rejection is one of life’s greatest lessons. We grow through what we go through, in every way. I’ve had numerous knock-backs and that’s exactly what kept me hungry and determined. If I was winning or succeeding in everything I did I wouldn’t be progressing, failures aren’t negative it’s feedback for us to find new ways to do things.

Leanne Maskell


Model Rights Activist, Lawyer, & Author of “Model Manifesto” — a book on the ethical boundaries and standards that apply to the modelling world.

I’ve been rejected more times than I can possibly begin to imagine. As a model you are rejected by agencies and clients on a daily basis - even whilst on a job! Yesterday I had strangers spend 3 hours trying to make my hair ‘not look like grass because it is so dry’ and I was expecting to be sent home from my really important shoot. (I wasn’t - I got on with it and faked confidence on set, making everyone completely forget about my hair!)

You have to take rejection in your stride and see it as a learning curve. I try to always treat everyone with compassion, so if they are rejecting me / not being particularly nice, I try to find the kindest reasoning behind that, such as having a bad day or maybe family issues. It also helps to try and imagine everyone as either babies or 99 year olds in a rocking chair,

Most important is to practice radical self love - so much that you’re writing yourself love letters before you go to sleep at night and finding 3 things you like about yourself in the mirror every morning. If you have a strong sense of self then it’s very hard for other people’s opinions to affect you personally - I like my ‘grass’ hair!

I’ve been modelling since the age of 13 and have now channelled every negative experience into something positive - a book to help others avoid exploitation. Try to turn every rejection into a lesson and channel good vibes throughout, and let go of any need for revenge. Karma will reward you and it’s so much more rewarding to focus on bettering yourself. 

Remember that ultimately, you’re the only person who’s opinion about you matters.