I spoke yesterday, at a conference for creative teens in Portland, about how to handle rejection. When it was over, a 15-year-old came up to me and said:
“Jen. To be honest, when you first got on stage you annoyed me.”
“Oh,” I said, my face flushing red and my mind wondering if maybe I’m not the right person to share my ups and downs with this age group. “I appreciate your honesty.”
“But then,” he continued, “I started to understand why you are up there smiling and being loud and enthuastic about rejection. Because you’ve been through it and you’ve survived and you pushed through. And that’s pretty cool. It’s pretty awesome.”
“Oh, yeah. Thanks.” I said, trying to play it cool in front of someone half my age calling me cool.
“You rock,” he said. “I’ll never forget what you said up there.”
And we hugged and high-fived and I left understanding that the best way to ever relate to anyone, anywhere, is to be disgustingly honest about who you are, what you’ve been through, and the kind of person you’ve become because of it.
It’s “pretty cool”.