You Can’t Always Get What You Want: 6 Tips for Dealing With Rejection

Auditioning professionally can be very stressful. You’re constantly interviewing for jobs, trying to present the best possible version of yourself, and hoping that you’ll get one. But for all the auditions you go on, you’re lucky to book even a small percentage of those jobs. Rejection is a constant in the life of any working actor, and that’s never going to change. It stinks (believe me, I know). And people are always trying to soften the blow by offering such trite platitudes as “try to grow a thicker skin,” or “water off a duck’s back,” but does that really help? Yes, the more and more auditions you go on, the easier it gets to deal with not getting the job, but does it really ever get easy?

There will always a lingering sting when you don’t get a job you really want. But you need to be able to handle rejection if you’re planning to stick it out in this business. So how can you learn to make all of that rejection a little more bearable? There’s no perfect solution, but through my experience, I’ve found a few ways to cope with it. None of them are foolproof, but I’d like to share some of my methods of dealing with rejection to try to make the uncertainty of auditioning life a little bit easier. If you adopt even a few of these habits, I guarantee it will start becoming easier to deal with all the “no”s until you finally hear that “yes.”

Let It Go

You finished your audition. Now, let it go. I know, easier said than done. But the more you can leave what just happened back in the audition room, the happier you’ll be in the long run. As long as you did the best you can, there’s nothing you can change once the audition is done. And if you messed something up or were having a bad day, there’s always a lesson to be learned. So learn that lesson, and then move on.

Treat Yo’ Self

Auditioning is tough – no one will argue that. It can become exhausting, and it’s easy to let that exhaustion take over and turn into a negative outlook. So to combat that, after every audition you go to (whether it went well or not), reward yourself. I’m not saying you have to break the bank, but do something that makes you feel good. Walk in your favorite park, buy yourself a treat at a bakery, or meet a friend for coffee. Do what makes you feel good. That way, you’ll have a positive feeling attached to auditioning.

Outside Hobbies

Make sure that you cultivate other interests outside of theatre. Take up a hobby, pursue another interest, read about something that you’re curious about. It will help make auditioning feel less “life and death” and more just another part of your day. Plus, making yourself a more well-rounded individual can only help you as a person and as a performer. And who knows, maybe one of these outside interests could help you with a role one day or turn into a side business…

Strengthen Your Self-Worth

Don’t let your self-worth be tied up in whether or not you book the job. You still have a lot to offer the world regardless of whether you got the role or not. Don’t judge yourself and tell yourself you’re worthless. Remind yourself of your skill and talent, and remember that eventually the right people will see just how much you have to offer. Don’t get down on yourself, because rejection happens to everyone, in every profession. You’re far from the only one experiencing these feelings.

Remember the Variables You Can’t Control

In any casting process, there are honestly just factors you can’t control. You may want a role SO badly and think you’re perfect for it, but the creative team may see the character in a different way than you do. You can’t control your height or look or various other physical factors they may be looking at. What you can be in control of is making sure you’re prepared for the audition and making sure that you do the best job you possibly can in the audition room. As long as you’re doing that, all that other stuff is simply out of your control.

Be Easy on Yourself

Remember that you’re a person, not a performing robot. You have feelings and needs, and sometimes you can get worn out or have a bad day. All these things are normal, natural parts of life and of being a performer. If you take care of yourself as a PERSON and to make sure you’re healthy emotionally and physically, I guarantee it will also help you become a better performer.

What about you? What are the ways you cope with the stress of auditioning and rejection? Share your advice in the comments section!

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