• Sarah Ballan

Real Talk: Rejection

Rejection feels like someone slamming a door in your face. You begin to wonder and doubt yourself, even though you know you’re awesome. You rack your brain thinking, what could I have done differently? Should I have said this or that? Or, maybe I said too much? As of 2019, there is no such thing as time travel. You cannot go back and get a redo, so make sure not to dwell on stupid sh*t you cannot change. Instead, Look FORWARD. Stop wasting time *obsessing* on what you could have done differently because that’s just wasted energy.


I have had my fair share of being rejected. I promise you, I have. When I tried out for my first fitness gig I stood up in front of a room full of people, mic’d up for the very first time, and did my best to make an impression in the 25 seconds I was given. I was cut off before I could even finish my mini schpiel of who I was or why I wanted to be there, and was sent home immediately without a call back. It sucked. A lot. When I finally did become an instructor, I was lucky if five riders showed up. Hell, I’ve lost count of the private and semi-private classes I’ve taught in studios designed for fifty people.


It would have been easy to throw a fit, and admittedly I wasn’t the happiest back then, but I held my head high and kept going. I had to re-try out for Cyc Fitness after a brief medical leave, only to be booted back to front desk work. Despite being internally discouraged, I tried out again. And again. And again. Dozens of tryouts later I am now at Flywheel Sports. It takes months - years even - to build a following. To establish long-lasting connections that permeate into real life, not just exclusive to the forty five minutes of a workout. Connection is key. It’s what hooks riders: they identify with you or your energy or your music. Let go of expectations like I have to fill my classes, or I have to have the best time slots on the schedule. [Side note: if you aren’t in fitness this mindset is still applicable] Stop putting unnecessary pressure on yourself to be at the top automatically. You need to put in time and be ok with failures before successes.


I get it. It’s hard to not get discouraged when things don’t go your way or happen when you want them to happen. If I had just given up, I wouldn't be where I am today, an in demand NYC fitness instructor. This week alone I have sold out more classes than not. Every day I put on my mic and stand on a similar podium on which I was turned down from other studios, and peer into a crowd of 50 stationary bikes whirring up their single wheels, all 100 eyes on me, looking for inspiration.


I’m no stranger to rejection in the personal realm as well. I started seeing a guy right after Thanksgiving, but holidays are always choppy and inconsistent. We both had travel plans yet still managed to go on a bunch of dates in between: drinks, movies, dinner. I saw him at the bookends of his Eurotrip and even took him out with me on NYE to my best friends party, an event I would have more than happily attended alone. There was a photo booth at the party. I jumped into his arms, wrapping my legs around his torso, kissing him. He told me one of his resolutions was to take my Flywheel class. We spent the night together and he assured me he didn’t see anyone while he was in Europe... little did I know I’d have to inquire about the US separately...


That week I went on a week long family trip to the Caribbean and six days later when I came home we happened to run into each other. Out of all the hundreds (thousands??) of bars in New York City we were watching the Pats play at the same one! Was this fate? I should have walked right out of the bar and into the nearest bodega to try my hand at the lotto with these odds. The universe was putting us together, but not for the reasons I had hoped…

The look on his face when I called out his name was unforgettable; Like he shat himself. Awkwardly distanced apart, we chatted briefly. Insincerely. One week prior we had spent all night talking and even being intimate. As soon as I turned my back another girl began draping her arms around him, kissing his neck in my periphery. I remained poised and quickly got the f*ck out.


Technically he did nothing wrong: we had never discussed exclusivity. But I had expressed I didn’t want something random or short-lived and was interested in getting to know him. Had I known he was already seeing someone I would never have accepted his invitations to drinks, dinner, or the movies. I would have never asked him to be my plus one on New Years Eve. I believe this run in was to test me. To show me this isn’t what I signed up for or deserve. It was hurtful that I wasn’t the one he picked. What did I do to push him away? The answer is simple: NOTHING. It’s hard to accept when things don’t go your way but now that my energy is elsewhere I’m open to meeting someone who treats me with more respect. Someone who can be honest without being forced to as a last resort to dig himself out of a sticky situation.


NEWS FLASH: You will be turned down sometimes, more often than not. From a job. From another person. That’s just life. Although I am a fun, hot, single girl, I am not for everyone. Is it HIM I’m pining over? Hell no. I’ve had items in my fridge longer than the few short weeks I’ve known the guy. It’s the crappy feeling that I’m not what he wanted. Or that my fantasy of “us” was squandered before it even really started.


Rejection makes you tough; it thickens your skin. It teaches you to be humble and grateful and stop taking anything for granted. When you poison your mind with negativity and self-doubt, the only person you hurt is yourself.

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© Sarah Ballan 2018

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