The Beauty of Rejection

beach scene
Rejection sounds negative, but it can play a positive role in choices we make. It can force us to pivot in a new direction and help us develop skills to adapt and succeed. By changing our focus to something we hadn’t planned, rejection can lead us to a better outcome than if we’d simply been handed the thing we wanted.

In pursuit of happiness?

Last fall I learned of a great job with one of my local design clients. They were looking for a communications director who could write, work well with others, and organize the department. Plus it was a bonus if they had design and social media skills. I’d had my business for a long time and, thinking I might be an ideal candidate, I vigorously pursued it.

Five months of meetings and interviews led me to become one of two finalists. The search culminated when I had a 9-hour successive interview with about 40 people. After ruminating three weeks, they emailed to say neither of us were chosen, and they were going to start the search anew. What a drag!

During the course of the search, the client found itself in a controversial situation. It caused their focus to shift from finding a communications director to needing someone with crisis management experience. Suddenly, what appeared to be a great fit was beyond my range of experience.

Meanwhile, on another channel…

Around the same time, my husband, former ad creative David Horsfall, started a successful online store, "Alki Surf Shop. Based on the site’s success, he felt the next logical move was to open a brick and mortar retail store on Alki Beach in West Seattle. I was apprehensive, but after looking at a number of possibilities to buy or rent, he found the perfect location. So, in the spring of 2014 we put the wheels in motion.

Just as my client needed to change directions because of their crisis, I shifted gears to concentrate on our new endeavor. And as with all projects I take on, I poured my heart into it. Skills I’d acquired from running a successful design practice were used to establish our retail store. I knew how to organize the pieces into a manageable framework including sourcing products, working with vendors, negotiating terms, procuring estimates, tracking inventory and ensuring quality along every point.

David is a creative visionary and happens to have terrific abilities in all things related to building rehab. (We've restored five houses including our house on AirBNB.) Our combined expertise encompassed top-notch graphic design, writing, advertising, social media and marketing skills. This meant we were able to redesign and rebuild the space, deploying design, advertising and other marketing essentials that ordinary businesses have to hire out. Our skills saved us many tens of thousands of dollars in start-up costs.

Overcoming obstacles teaches us to be nimble.

Thanks to the opportunity created by losing out on the job, I was able to work with David and my family to build a viable and enchanting new business. In July of 2014, we opened Alki Surf's Shop. “flagship” store.

Launching into the unknown can be daunting as well as exhilarating. That's the beauty of rejection.

Sometimes, it provides you with the push you need to move forward.

Alki Surf Shop is located on Seattle's best beach. 2622 Alki Avenue SW, Seattle, 98116 Phone: 206.403.1901 Photo by Patryk Sobczak


  1. Anonymous9:11 AM

    Wow, Terri, that’s beautiful! It’s really something to think about. I’m afraid too many of us (certainly I do!) dwell on the negative and forget that everything that happens is an opportunity to be grasped. You’ve summed it up eloquently. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

      Negative stuff can shake our self confidence and can get in the way of identifying how we can turn things around.

      It can be tough to break away from disappointment, but once it's in your rearview mirror, you can see how it's often a blessing in disguise.

      Thanks again, and happy new year!

  2. I agree, you never know what life has in store for you. All you can do is stay in the game and keep swinging. Great story, thanks!

    1. Thanks so much, Jim, for reading and commenting.

      You are so right—stay in the game and keep swinging! You never know what can happen until you try, and like the old saying goes, if you don't play, you can't win!

      Cheers/Thanks again, Terri

  3. Anonymous3:25 PM

    It is one of the greatest gifts to weather the storm that rejection can create. Coming out of it stronger and better than when it started. You are awesome and no one can take that from you!

    1. Raphael, thanks so much for the comment here.

      I know surviving adverse situations makes us stronger, and it's cool that you see it, too.

      Here's hoping this new year delivers a lot of positive outcomes for you!

      Cheers/Thanks, Terri

    What an #amaZing woman you are...wonderful article.

    1. Mary Helen, Thank you for the comment and for sharing.

      And thank you for your friendship and support here and elsewhere in the digital universe. I feel fortunate our paths have crossed.

      Warm regards, Terri

  5. Thanks for the awesome reflection Terri! I remember the first time I told a boss in sales that we lost an opportunity because I didn't want to work with that client. I could see these folks would be trouble. Although there was a bit of grumpiness initially, long term it was clearly the right decision saving us all lots of headaches, time and money. Trust your gut!

    1. Hi, Harold.

      Thanks for reading and for your thoughtful comment.

      How great that you moved forward despite prevailing sentiment and turned out to be right! There is something to be said for following your gut instincts!

      Wishing you all the best in this new year!

      Cheers/Thanks again, Terri

  6. Terri, that’s an absolutely awesome post!! Very impressive and thank you so much for sharing this.

  7. Terri, that’s an absolutely awesome post!! Very impressive and thank you so much for sharing this.

    1. Hey, Bill!

      Thanks so much for taking the time and for posting a comment.

      When we were chatting on Twitter the other day, you said something to me that really reminded me of my experience. So I'm glad you read it and liked it!

      As long as we continue to learn from each situation — good or bad — presented to us throughout our lives, there is value to be found!

      ((HUGS)) and thanks again,


  8. Even though that job seemed tailor made for you, who knows what would have happened. You may not have been happy and Alki Surf Shop may not have been born. It's so interesting the twists and turns that life takes and it's not until much later on that we can look back and see that it was "unfolding as it should". If my boss hadn't refused me the raise I'd hoped for, I never would have started my graphic design business. I really enjoyed this post, Terri---well written and thought provoking, as always.

    1. Dear Jennifer,

      Heartfelt thanks for reading and responding.

      Your comment "you may not have been happy," has occurred to me, as well. I had been given a heads up that there were serious personnel problems that even required mediation. Energies are better spent working together to solve problems than choosing and defending alliances.

      It’s not always obvious why we choose the paths we follow, but I mostly believe things happen for a reason!

      I appreciate your friendship and support in all things!

      ((HUGS)) Terri


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i'm a graphic designer who loves words. - terri nakamura