Every rejection is an audition

I would love to share my perception of rejections with you and how I have taken rejections in the past 6 years

2016, applied for Mandela Washington Fellowship, Carrington Fellowship, and Young African Leadership Initiative Regional Leadership Center -YALI RLC(My first ever application). Rejected for the three but laid the foundation for my future essays
2017, reviewed my essays and took the feedback, and made it to the YALI RLC interview twice in the year but didn't make the final cut.
2017, used the experience in applying for the applications mentioned above to apply to United Action for Change Leadership program, the Platform Young Professionals Bootcamp, and African Youth SDGs ($100 partial scholarship). I got into the three.
2017, applied to the Miracle World Corners Young Leaders Access program, Mandela Washington Fellowship for the second time. Proposed a project to help secondary school students in rural communities develop life and vocational skills. Didn't make it through the first stage. The proposal and my MWF response serve as the basis for my Carrington Fellowship application where I proposed the same project. Made it to the interview and ensured that the mistake I made in my previous interviews weren't made. I had grown. I made it to the fellowship.
2018, didn't win the African Development Bank Essay Competition. Turned the rejection into a book “The Africa I dream to See” that has been sold on 3 different continents. Went in for another essay contest and won the top 2-7 out of 513 entries. The first book has led to me publishing a second book.
2019 - applied to 10 scholarships, got rejected in all. The review of those applications led to winning the IDS scholarship at the University of Sussex and also my job as a Regional Manager with Peace First! Turned down the scholarship for the Job.
2019- Used the strategy to win the IDS scholarship to write my Chevening and MasterCard Foundation application and made it into both interviews in 2020 and won the scholarship. My experience in previous interviews I have had played a greater role.
There are more or multiple scenarios I can share of how I have dealt with rejections but find my key lessons below
1. The people who are rejecting you are people. Sometimes is not that your application isn't good but they already have a quota to select. So they have to reject someone. If you are in the position too, you will reject somebody. So it's totally fine. The people who reject you are not bad. Empathy and perspective work hand in hand.
2. Every rejection is an audition. If you look at it really well. You probably have not been rejected. Focus on your wins. Some wins are in the process at times. You have made it to the interview. You have learned to tell your story better. You have learned to write better. You already have your first draft. You can reapply for other similar opportunities. Review your mistakes. Speak to someone about it and apply the knowledge and insight to the next application.
3. Turn your rejection and anger that comes with a rejection into an opportunity. When my essay didn't get selected for the African Development Bank prize. I wrote a book out of it. Now I am an Author- a celebrated one with it.
4. Reflect on your rejections. When you do that, you will be able to see loopholes and that would open your eyes to how you can be better. It could be building more credibility or skills that would put you in a better position.
Every rejection is not a life sentence or a slip that shows that you are not good enough. It's an audition and an opportunity to be better than who you are yesterday.
Every rejection is an audition
Hammed Kayode Alabi (c) 2022

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