The Joy of Test Taking…ugh

The joy of test taking … hmmm… I never discovered it. While getting the promotion is fun, I’ve never found joy in taking the test to authorize it. 

In elementary school, I took a geography test. We had to label the states that surrounded our home state of Indiana. I wrote in the answers I thought were correct, and then began to second guess myself. And because I feared the rejection of giving the wrong answer, I erased them all and turned the test in without that question answered. The next day the teacher called me to her desk to tell me that she could see I got all the answers right, but that she had to count it wrong because I had tried to erase it. Essentially, I preferred to surely get it wrong by submitting it unanswered rather than face the rejection of incorrectly answering a question I thought I should have known.

Eventually, I learned better test taking strategies. However, the fear of rejection still haunts. Fear of rejection from an opportunity, a friend, a family member, a boss or coworker or even a stranger. And it seems to always involve a ‘should’ of self-judgement. I should know this. I should look/act/talk/write better. I should have accomplished more by now. Any rejection can provide evidence for this self condemnation.

Yet, is it possible, that like an obviously wrong answer on a multiple choice test, rejection is actually a gift?

Rejection gives direction by telling you that your answer is not here, and it improves your chances of picking the right answer. This saves time, effort, money and even heartache. And while it’s a gift wrapped in paper you never would have chosen, it’s still a gift.

Good times are amazing, but good things can happen in these seasons of rejection. The training you need to sustain your next promotion is earned right here.

Yes, it is possible to just jump in there and face rejection down knowing that sometimes you are going to get it wrong. And, your reward is a valuable opportunity to learn about life, yourself, and other people. And know that if you don’t jump in there to face rejection down, you will get it wrong every time. But, sometimes, when you jump in there, you’re going to get it right. And how amazing will that be!

Things to remember about rejection:

  • It happens to everyone and it doesn’t feel good.
  • While it may feel personal, it is not. It is a very real part of the human experience. 
  • Rejection is not fatal. It’s just an opportunity to learn. Keep it in perspective. 
  • Since rejection is direction, negative self-talk or questioning your worth are counterproductive. 
  • There is no shame in getting help from a solid support network or professional.

Keep looking for those open doors, but be thankful for the closed ones. Keep looking for your tribe, but be thankful for the people who recognize that they are not it. As you reach for your destiny and purpose, trust that destiny and purpose are looking for you too. And you will find each other. Because in this life, we don’t fail at a test, we just get the opportunity to take it again. 

Keep learning, stay strong and stay grateful.

Happy test taking!

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