For a reason I don't quite know, I kept all the rejection emails I received when applying for jobs and graduate schemes after university. Perhaps my former self knew I would be writing this with a smile one day.
Three are included below but there were many more. Supermarkets, banks, the NHS, even KFC. All rejections.
Finally, I was accepted onto a graduate scheme with the National Skills Academy for Social Care. What happened in that year would go on to change my trajectory for the better.
This organisation was determined to instil self-awareness and teach us, a cohort of 25, to think for ourselves. Placed at 25 different companies throughout the UK, every month we would meet for group coaching sessions, personality analyses and critical thinking classes. We were each assigned a business coach with whom we worked through the challenges we faced on our placements.
The graduate scheme was designed to create the next leaders in social care and although that wasn’t my path, it succeeded in that goal with 95% of its cohort, year after year.
The scheme taught me how to think. To truly think about what I wanted my life and career to look like. It taught me how to find and ask the right questions and gave me the confidence to take the next steps. Talking to my friends I realised my graduate scheme experience was unique. So unique, I was grateful for the countless rejections that came before it.
I’m sure there’s some message here about perseverance. Not giving up. About why you should keep going when you keep hearing no. Not being deterred by denial. How the best view comes after the hardest climb and all the other clichés for hanging on in there.
But you know that.