We all hate rejection, maybe even fear it. And we all have to face it at some time in our lives. But for the artist, rejection can come often and cut deeply. An actor may face rejection as much as daily, and when you yourself are the instrument of your work, it's hard not to take the rejection personally.

People who are creative are sensitive by nature. It can be a delicate balance to build up the emotional strength to handle the ups and downs of your work without shutting yourself down. When I was just starting out as a young actress, my ego was more fragile, and it sometimes took me months to recover from a major rejection. As I grew stronger and more confident, I could eventually deal with a disappointment in an hour or even minutes.

There are times when you simply need to give yourself time and space to heal from a big disappointment or rejection. But you don't have to wait helplessly until you're ready to heal. There are techniques you can use to ease the way.

When the rejection comes, feel it deeply (suppressed feelings will only show up later for resolution), but then let go and move on. Be careful not to fall into despair or self-pity, as this can keep you stuck and affect future opportunities. You may need time to grieve or feel sorry for yourself, but set a time limit so it doesn't go on indefinitely.

Get support from someone who believes in you, whether it be friend, significant other or coach. Have them support you through the grieving process and lovingly let you know if you're indulging in it too long. Let them know you need to lean on them for awhile and return the favor when they need you. Do be wary, though, of friends who unknowingly support you in *not* succeeding. Having someone who's always willing to lend a shoulder and say "poor baby" can become more attractive and easier than facing the next challenge. You can easily get stuck in the emotional gratification of the sympathy or hold yourself back for fear of outdoing your friends and losing them or leaving them behind.

Separate your work from who you are. When you're creating something -- whether it be a performance, a work of art, a verbal or musical composition -- it's an expression of yourself, of who you are, and it feels very close to you, if not virtually a part of you, and often something that you love and touches you deeply. But there are times when you may need to step back and let the work have a life of its own, apart from you, as well as you having a life apart from it. Be sure that you have an identity outside your art so that your work doesn't become you exclusively. Develop a strong sense of who you are independent of your work. Get involved with other pursuits and other people. Find a healthy balance.

On days that you have an interview, audition, jury or critique, plan an activity afterwards (preferably *with* someone) so you're not focusing on it. If it turns out to be an occasion for celebration, so much the better. But if it's a disappointment, having something else to do will keep you from dwelling on it.

And finally, focus on the future, rather than the past. The past will affect future work only if you let it. Learn the lessons it offers and let it go. Failure happens, but that doesn't mean it will continue to happen. People who are winners at life have both successes and failures. The difference is, they use their failures as learning experiences rather than opportunities to beat themselves up or hold themselves back. If you've faced a rejection, learn from it, evaluate the value of the feedback, make the improvements, and move on to the next opportunity.

C 1998 - 2008 Sharon Good. All rights in all media reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Sharon Good is a Life, Career and Creativity Coach located in New York City. She specializes in working with creative people to clarify their life and career goals and live their dreams. Sharon is the author of several books, including "Managing With A Heart" and "The Tortoise Workbook: Strategies for Getting Ahead at Your Own Pace," and teaches career workshops at the 92nd Street Y. Sharon can be found at her website, www.goodlifecoaching.com.