How to Deal with Rejection & Not Winning

A weird post to write I hear you cry (does anyone cry anymore or shriek for that matter or do we now just insert emoticons and move on with our lives?!)- I digress, for those who don’t know (where’ve you been people)-I just won the double at the BritMums in Brilliance Awards and am literally walking on air…

Because winning awards, being told you are outstanding and getting the gold from those you respect and admire, well that’s all rather flipping amazing, of course it is- but I wanted to get real and be honest (obvs) and remind you that success is how you learn to improve.

While it can hurt, rejection is part and parcel of growth, of learning and GETTING THERE EVENTUALLY- and while I sound like Miss Honey right now (I LOVED her btw) and you might probably want to punch me in the face right now, bear with me because you rarely read or hear about the failures of someone deemed successful and that’s where life can get a little bit warped.

Success can feel relentless for some and I know it can seem that way for me, that I go from one super exciting project to the next.

Well I fail, we all flipping fail. For every success and commission, someone says ‘no’.

But here’s what happens to those who get a bit brave:

They push themselves out of their comfort zone, they make mistakes, they learn, they triumph often first in small ways, they take tiny steps which build greater confidence to push further and for bigger things and the risks don’t feel as huge, the rejections don’t matter so much and just like that, domino-like, success leads to success.

It doesn’t mean you don’t get knocked down, that you reach some untouchable level of success, you just become better at getting back up again. At looking GOALS straight in the face, shouting ‘I’m coming to get you, move out of my way obstacles’-please don’t ever say that aloud if you still want friends though.


You believe in you. That your voice matters. That someone, at somepoint will ‘get you’. That you will not stop truckin’.

Let me share a short story with you (I know, I already written more here that my MA coursework assignment back in 2003) but- living in Westbourne Grove after uni with a group of mates, I taped up a motivational sign (a badly scribbled sign) up in the flat (Pinterest wasn’t invented then so it was the next best thing) which read ‘Failure is not an option’.


Photo by nic on Unsplash

The girls I lived with were all embarking on the first and critical post-uni next stage of their professional lives, I in the film industry, others in medicine, another doing a pupillage to become a barrister, another a ballerina.

It was a BIG OLD YEAR for us. I needed a visual reminder we would get through it. We would flipping shine.

That year was a turning point for us all.

It was a year where all odds were raised, a year we couldn’t fail at, we needed to reach our end goal so we could stay in London, we needed to succeed at work and do OK.

It was the classic film narrative you know and love. Girl must conquer the real world despite being a fish out of water and newbie and make a success of herself.

Yes adversity hit in every way imaginable: bad boyfriends, crazy work hours, massive projects (one where I was developing a documentary about a world famous singer for the film company I worked at while simultaneously writing a feature screenplay and getting my boss his Nandos) but I had to survive it. I had to thrive.

And here’s the thing, when you are determined, tenacious and have a clear vision, you can achieve anything.

Because it doesn’t matter how many times you fail (in fact it’s the failing that teaches you), you will get there. And there might change from the start to end goal as you will. Life is fluid so is desire.

It might not be the path you imagined as a child, it might be in a new country, career or time in your life…

I’d pinned myself down for my first feature film by now, but instead I have a career I deeply love, one that allows me to self-publish, create, film, be on camera and connect in way I could never have foreseen. Technology wasn’t even there when I wrote my wishlist for life at the age of 22. So you never know what could happen.

You never know how the world will change to accommodate and make your dreams a reality.

The only difference between someone successful and someone not is the former keeps cracking on. The former hones their confidence, starts believing in themselves and doesn’t take no for an answer.

The successful person takes knock after knock and they keep pushing on. Not in an unkind ruthless way, they are simply proactive in the creating and designing the life they want.

They are what screenwriters call an active not passive protagonist in their own narrative. Be un-apologetically you, don’t change, for it is what makes you unique, which matters.

I have been a finalist in various blogging awards I believe 7 times before last Saturday. In fact the wonderful BritMums made me a Finalist in the Fresh Voice category 4 weeks after starting this blog. It was that award that gave me back my broken confidence after a traumatic birth and gt me back on set again and eventually blogging full time.

I didn’t need to win, to win then.

Not winning is not rejection but some feel it is. I was honoured to make it to the finals.

Of course to win on Saturday was a beautiful, moving feeling, to know thousands of people had voted for me in Social Media and then a panel of esteemed judges in the Outstanding category.

The journey to that point was long. It needed to be long. The lessons were learnt -and I’m ready for many more (lessons and hopefully awards).

Rejection can hurt, of course it can but the more you’re rejected, the easier it becomes. It merely spurs me on now, to be better, be better and define success in what makes me happy, what makes my soul shine (please don’t punch me)!

Only last week I was up for something for telly I wasn’t right for. So much is subjective, you can’t be right for everything and rejection keeps you humble. It keeps you truckin’.

For every pitch as a writer/director I made that got greenlit, two did not. That’s the way of the arts. Actor friends of mine are rejected every single day. Brilliant oscar-worthy actors.

I personally take a mathematical approach to my career, the more I do, write, create and promote (which nourishes me), the more opportunities will come my way. It’s science. You can’t argue with science.

Know that technology is on your side, people. For the first time in forever, we in the arts are in control. How freaking empowering is that?

That the democratic internet you’re using right now to read my post and flip to Facebook straight after-well, this screen is your stage. Your window to shine. To be whomever you want to be. To make your dreams a reality. To win, to lose, to learn.

Updated post.


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How to Deal with Rejection & Not Winning - Honest Mum


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40 Responses

  1. Lucy (@Lucy_at_home)

    Love, love, LOVE this! I know you don’t need little old me to tell you but it’s easy to see why you’ve won so many awards! This post is inspirational, but in a realistic, down to earth, you’re-gonna-have-to-work-your-socks-off kind of way!!

    You’re right that just stepping out of your comfort zone and pushing forward is the key. Sometimes our goals and aspirations change but we’re still pressing forwards and reaching for the successes ahead.

    I wish you much courage and success in your journey!

    • Honest Mum

      That’s very kind, thank you, I was deeply touched to win two awards at BritMums and wanted to share my journey. It’s all about constantly pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones isn’t it, that’s where the growth and magic happens 🙂

  2. Mama and More aka Zaz

    So perfectly written, and so much to absorb reading this post Vicki. First of all, you are an incredible writer, and then your words, so wise and so true. It doesn’t only apply to blogging and work, but to life – this resonated with me: “The journey to that point was long. It needed to be long. The lessons were learnt” – we need to accept that a journey has to take its time and make its stops along the way for us to learn what we need to to steer our ship more and more independently, and make our successes! So delighted that you were a winner on Saturday – but then you are a winner every day! Xxx

  3. Wave to Mummy

    Fab fab post. A while back I read a ‘failure CV’ by a successful academic. It was quite eye-opening, all those lost job offers and other disappointments. I have quite a lengthy failure cv myself too 😀 it’s all about just trying and trying, and getting up an trying again which defines success. Eventually you will get there, although not necessarily the route you first planned 🙂

  4. Mummy Tries

    ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS POST!!!! Especially this line “determined, tenacious and have a clear vision, you can achieve anything”. It reminds me of my 18 year old self who relentlessly knocked on doors of recruitment agencies in the big City until someone gave me a job. Rejection didn’t bother me at all back then, but I have to say I’ve had to learn to overcome it in the recent years. I read an article this morning saying that writers should aim for 100 rejections a year, because with those numbers, you’ll be winning an awful lot too 😉

    HUGEST congrats on your double win darling, we must celebrate soon xxx

    • Honest Mum

      Thanks so much Renee, I need to read that article, rejection is part and parcel of success, of getting things done. It spurs me on to achieve more and keep going. So proud of you and everything you’ve achieved and will continue to. We definitely need to have a joint celebration soon xx

  5. The DADventurer (Dave)

    Congrats on winning Vic, it was good to see you pick up a couple of gongs after all the work you put in 🙂 After BML, I’m now a 4 times losing finalist myself – however, I’m of the opinion that I don’t need awards to feel like I’ve ‘made it’ etc. For me, being nominated, then shortlisted, then making the finals was something I always had aspirations for, but isn’t something I thought I’d achieve. Therefore, being recognised in this way and having people say they like what I do and that they think I should have won is pretty mind blowing. I’d obviously like to win something one day, but I have other things I’d prefer to achieve / continue doing which are higher on my priority list. Keep doing what you’re doing 🙂

    • Honest Mum

      Thanks Dave, well done to you too. You work very hard yourself. I never felt not winning before made me feel bad or held me back in anyway. Of course it was amazing to win but doing what you love, being happy and following your dreams is what matters. My point here was to naturalise rejection or not winning. Cheers 🙂

      • The DADventurer (Dave)

        Thanks 🙂 Yeah, agree. Winning is the icing on the cake, but it’s not the be all and end all. We all lose / don’t win in life at certain points, and it’s taking that rejection and doing something with it that’s important, not feeling demoralised.

  6. Donna

    I can understand how people find this inspiring, and why you have felt rejected in the past however I don’t agree with this post. I don’t think rejection is part of growth – you don’t have to feel rejected to grow, you don’t even have to feel rejected, it depends on your mindset and how you see awards.

    I got to the shortlist for Social Media in 2014 and as a ‘new’ blogger it was incredible to even get nominated and I hadn’t expected to even get that far. Then this year I was actually a finalist and it was an incredible feeling. I had so much support and so many messages from people telling me they had nominated me. It was amazing. To have that recognition, to be appreciated and supported by people was something I had never dreamed of. I went to Britmums not expecting to win – I went feeling high as a kite because people thought that much of me. I’d never had support like that before and I have never felt so much a part of a community for.

    And when the awards were being announced I got an incredible cheer and I have never felt as much of a winner as I did in that moment. I didn’t win, and I had a sad feeling, that changed instantly to one of pride. I was so proud to be acknowledged and to be on that list of finalists that I could never feel rejected. I’m more of a winner than an award could make me because I know I had so many people rooting for me.

    I know people say that it’s not the winning that counts, it’s the taking part etc and never mean it but I do. I’m happy to have taken part and I am so happy to be a finalist. I’m not a loser – I just didn’t go home with an award, and that’s fine by me. I’m still growing, still learning and still moving forward – and I don’t feel rejected at all.

    • Honest Mum

      I think you might have misunderstood the meaning of my post. It isn’t to make others feel they were rejected by not winning which is why I included both ‘feeling rejected’ and ‘not winning’ in the title. Sorry if it didn’t come across in the way I intended. It was wonderful to have made it to the finals many times but there are times I’ve been rejected with work, pitching and not being commissioned or going up for lots of awards and not winning. I wanted to show the other side to what might sometimes feel like relentless success. It is absolutely about taking part (that’s what I teach my kids) but I wanted to naturalise the rejection process, for me that is where I have learnt the most lessons. The sci-fi film I made that didn’t work that taught me so much about prep, the TV project that is still in development, ten years later etc. The creative process is fluid and subjective. I hope I haven’t offended as that was not my intention. Thanks for your comment.

  7. Charlene

    Oh come on girl, you don’t know anything about not winning 😉 Thanks for this. I need to approach these things more practically – more rejection = moe experience. Congrats on your wins x

    • Honest Mum

      Thank you darling, believe me I do but winning is an approach to life, to keep getting back up again. Everyone successful has failed many times to get there, it’s just so few talk about it. Thanks for your lovely comment x

  8. Franki ~ Wonderful Chaos

    I seriously need to take a leaf out of your book on this one. I’m determined to make a success from Wonderful Chaos but I need to do all the things you have written so perfectly, which I struggle with.
    I don’t mind rejection but I don’t often chase things as in my head I know it will be pointless so I just don’t bother. This post has come at a perfect time for me and I think will be one I keep coming back to. X

    • Honest Mum

      Oh Franki you will absolutely make a success of it. We all feel scared to go for things we want, but use that fear to spur you on. Once you start going for it, it becomes easier, I promise. Know your worth and that you deserve everything your heart desires. So glad you found this post useful x

  9. Plutonium Sox

    Oh how sad that you feel that reaching a final of such a prestigious award can be seen as rejection. I would have thought that being within the top five most popular blogs in that particular area could be regarded as a success – after all, the winner is only a matter of opinion. I find posts like this so demoralising. It makes me realise that people look at me and my blog, and think I’m unsuccessful and a failure, without knowing my personal situation and just how difficult things are. Well done on your awards, I’m so glad all your hard work has paid off.

    • Honest Mum

      I’m sorry but this wasn’t the intention of my post. My intention was to inspire, to make others feel that if they don’t win something or are rejected in life, that that is OK. Hence why I wrote, ‘I didn’t need to win, to win then’. That while success is shared so frequently, often the flip side, the inevitable failings/mistakes etc are not. Thanks for your comment. Never, ever feel demoralised, you have a super blog x

  10. Mel

    Amen. Just AMEN, lady! I absolutely love this post, honey and the fact you remind us that success is hard. It takes work (a lot of it), determination, and a thick skin to deal with the rejection that you get hit with before you make baby steps towards success.

    That’s what I love about you ma belle: you’re this incredibly successful power blogger, yet you never once look down on the little fish like me. You are always there being the best cheerleader for blogging, always reminding us all we can achieve anything if we work for it, and you give us REAL tips, not just some wishy washy pieces of advice.

    Love you! xx

    • Honest Mum

      Oh hun FIRSTLY (yes I’m shouting) you are not a little fish (no one is) but you are a brilliant blogger, a power player yourself. I need you to believe this. Please. This is the reason, the purpose behind writing this post-to know your worth. Thank you for being a great, real friend to me Mel, I love you too xxx

  11. Angela Milnes

    What an inspirational post. I got rejected 12 times before finding my britmums sponsor but i kept on trucking and got one 48 hours before the event. I agree with you…our failures help us get stronger and sometimes opportunities are not for us. We can write our own narrative and make our own dreams come true with sheer hard work and good content.. Thanks for the motivational pep talk!

  12. Kat | Beau Twins

    First up – HUGE congratulations you beautiful lady! Well deserved, I am beyond stoked for you. Secondly – YES to your post – my favourite post on he internet right now – I love your story and how grounded you are. I love the fact you always think outside the box. Bloody love you! Huge hugs and kisses. xxx

    • Honest Mum

      Aw Kat, you are honestly making me cry. Truly. We just get each other you and I. I feel so lucky to have you as a mate, lots of love to you and we better be meeting up soon OK xxx

  13. Katie

    Vicki you know i think you’re amazing and now i think even more so. Firstly congratulations on your wins and secondly thank you for this post. Thank you for reminding us that we wont always succeed but when we do it will br amazing and when we don’t we must try again. You truly are empowering and an inspiration xx

  14. Kirsty Hijacked by Twins

    So inspiring and you thoroughly deserved both of those awards, you work so frigging hard I don’t know where you find the time for it all!! Enjoy it hun you really have earned them xx

  15. Laura: Adventures with J

    Congratulations on your double win 🙂 I found this post very intriguing initially (as like you said it wasn’t the one I expected to see). I am glad I read on. I found it both inspiring and empowering. Thank you. It is sometimes hard to remember that successful people have worked hard and go back up after being knocked down as usually success brings confidence and awe. It is refreshing to hear such honesty.

  16. Mirka Moore @Kahanka

    Darling, so happy you won both awards, this is your year! Shame I was not able to make it there to celebrate with you, hopefully soon. So proud of you! xxx

    • Honest Mum

      Thank you my darling, so sad not to be with you this weekend but we will meet up really soon, miss and love you xx

  17. Michelle Reeves (The Joy Chaser)

    OMG I am literally punching the air after reading this Vicki!!! You are so freakin inspiring and I agree with every single word. Set goals, move forward one day at a time, pick yourself up if you fall down and try, whatever happens, not to take anything too personally. The internet is literally changing before our eyes at the moment, live streaming is taking platforms like Facebook by storm, blogs are where it’s at for prospective buyers to read reviews and are a trusted source for anything from views to news. I believe very little in this world comes without hard work but if you’re willing to put in the hours, keep learning and model some kick-ass virtual mentors the world could quite literally be your oyster. Congrats again on your double win my fabulous friend. Was a total pleasure spending the day with you Saturday – hugs xxx

    • Honest Mum

      Oh darling, I feel so moved by your words, I am so lucky to have you in my life, Saturday was such a (fittingly) JOY for us, here’s to us and to all, to keep truckin’! Much love xx

  18. Amanda Fulton

    Ah, inspiring as always! And a poignant post considering your double success last weekend! Definitely success tastes sweeter after ‘defeat’ so enjoy your dessert as it is indeed well deserved darling xx


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