Funding Blues

Folks, I’ve got the funding blues. There’s nothing that takes the spring out of your step quite like a rejection letter. It’s enough to make even a beautiful spring day like today turn sour. So since we’re talking about funding this month, I thought it was time for some advice on what to do when you get that email:

First things first – give yourself a little time to feel like lousy. It’s not fun getting turned down. It’s especially not fun when you really really wanted it. And it’s even worse when someone else you know succeeded while you did not. So it’s okay to spend a little time wallowing in grief over the lost opportunity and seeking comforting words from people who care about you. But the emphasis here is on a little time. I wouldn’t waste a full day on it, because next up you need to remember these things:

1. This is not a reflection of your self worth, intelligence, ability, or future success and awesome achievement. You are worthy, intelligent, and able. And you will be successful and achieve awesome things.

2. Every grant or other opportunity you apply for is a bit of a crap shoot. Sometimes the wrong person sees it, or maybe your topic isn’t quite timely. Even if your application could use some improvement, very rarely does a rejection letter mean it was terrible.

3. It takes a lot of applications to succeed. Some professors will say you have to apply for seven grants before you receive one. Some say you have to apply for ten. So rather than think of a rejection as a failure, think of yourself as just crossing off one of those necessary bullets that everyone has to bite before they score big.

If you can remember these three things, you’ll spend less time with the funding blues and more time finding new opportunities. So once you’ve shaken off that “rejection letter funk,” go back to your mentor for some more guidance, revisit some of the excellent advice that the other emissaries have provided this month, and attack your next application without fear – because one little letter has no place impeding your journey!