Future students, today at our faculty meeting, Headmaster Campbell announced acceptance notifications were being sent (or called, I cannot remember which) for the 225 or so of you who will be offered a position at the Downingtown STEM Academy as freshmen for the 2013-2014 school year.
To those of you who get offered a position, congratulations. This post is not for you, however. This post is for those of you who will not be accepted. By Headmaster Campbell’s announcement, fewer than half of the applicants will receive acceptance notification. If you do not receive acceptance, please understand this does not shut doors for your future.
Acceptance into a group should never define who you are. Ambition, drive, and effort will make you successful in your life. These qualities will guide you at either Downingtown East or Downingtown West. Do not let a failed experience set you back. Let it embolden you. Let your actions, your efforts, and your triumphs characterize who you are. These qualities will lead you to success.
This summer I applied for the Google Teacher Academy, and I was rejected. After reflecting over my disappointment, I came to the following conclusions. If you are upset, I hope you find some comfort in the words below.
I went through the “I can’t believe they didn’t pick me” angst and quickly into the “They don’t know what they are missing” phase. Then I realized I was silly. I only applied on a whim, and I knew I wasn’t a great fit.
Then the life lesson kicked in.
You cannot define yourself by the rejections you receive. You cannot let a failed attempt keep you from your success. Whether it’s a GTANY application, a job interview, or a college application, your success should not be defined by another person or organization’s evaluation of your talent, often from a very brief application. Take the knock to your pride and move on. As leaders, you need to move beyond small setbacks to achieve even greater success.
What defines your success? Professionally, I define my success by how many teachers I help understand and implement new educational technologies. Personally, if my family is safe, secure, and happy, I’ve been successful. Google, nor any other organization, will not define my success in either arena.
Whatever you do in life, do not let another person or group’s definition of success limit your aspirations. Define success on your own terms. Fulfill your own dreams. Work hard. These traits will yield success in any endeavor.