The fascinating stories of successful people who triumphed over debilitating career rejection.
And the insights those rejections provide.

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The fascinating stories of successful people who triumphed over debilitating
career rejection.
And the insights those rejections provide.

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Season TWO

Rejecting Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox is best-known for playing Sophia Burset on the Netflix series Orange Is The New Black. But before landing the role of a lifetime, Cox struggled to book auditions. At 40 years old, she found herself in housing court for the second time, on the precipice of homelessness. Join us this week as we tell Cox’s trailblazing story. From being rejected by 496 agents, to becoming the first Transgender person in history nominated for a primetime acting Emmy.

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Rejecting Netflix

Netflix is the de facto name in streaming. A $230B tech giant that’s dominated 190 countries, the Emmys and the Academy Awards. But back when Netflix was just a startup, it was rejected by Silicon Valley CEOs, Harvard alumni, investors and, notoriously, Blockbuster. Join us this week as we tell the founders’ incredible story – from David to Goliath.

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Rejecting Kurt Warner

Kurt Warner is a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, known for leading what’s been called the Greatest Show on Turf. But before being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Warner was cut from an NFL team and ended up stocking shelves at a local grocery store. Join us this week as we tell Warner’s inspiring story. From bags…to riches.

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Rejecting Sandra Oh

Sandra Oh is a Golden Globe-winning actress known for playing Dr. Cristina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy and Eve Polastri on the hit drama, Killing Eve. But before receiving 12 Emmy nominations, Oh spent a full decade as a day player. She was rejected for major film roles, told there was no room at the top for Asian actors in Hollywood. Join us this week as we tell Oh’s incredible story. From humble beginnings in Ottawa, Ontario, to landing the lead role of a lifetime at 47.

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Rejecting Nick Offerman

Nick Offerman is known for his role as the moustachioed, woodworking, saxophone-playing boss of Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation. But before growing out his moustache, Offerman was a struggling actor, living in an unfinished basement and fighting depression after 12 straight years of Hollywood rejection. This week, we tell Offerman’s story. From being told to be more “conventional” to playing one of the most iconic and unique characters of all time.

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Rejecting Dr. Mae Jemison (The First Woman of Colour to Fly in Space)

Muggsy Bogues is a record-breaking basketball player with a 14-year NBA career. He’s among the most beloved players of all time. Oh, and he’s also 5’3”. Growing up in Baltimore, Bogues watched his friends and teammates grow tall, while he reached his peak at just 10 years old. He was bullied, teased and told he’d never make it to the pros. Join us this week as we tell Bogues inspiring story. From stepping onto the court to laughter in the rafters, to stepping off the court to a standing ovation.

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Rejecting Muggsy Bogues

Muggsy Bogues is a record-breaking basketball player with a 14-year NBA career. He’s among the most beloved players of all time. Oh, and he’s also 5’3”. Growing up in Baltimore, Bogues watched his friends and teammates grow tall, while he reached his peak at just 10 years old. He was bullied, teased and told he’d never make it to the pros. Join us this week as we tell Bogues inspiring story. From stepping onto the court to laughter in the rafters, to stepping off the court to a standing ovation.

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Rejecting Charles Schulz

Peanuts is one of the most-beloved comic strips of all time. Printed in over 2600 publications, it amassed 350 million readers in its 50-year history. But creator Charles Schulz spent most of his life feeling small as peanuts. He was rejected by family, teachers and publications. Join us this week as we tell Schulz’s amazing story. From being told he’d never make a living by “scribbling,” to creating the longest-running cartoon special of all time.

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Rejecting Gal Gadot

Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman – star of the $821M blockbuster and the first woman-led superhero film in over a decade. But before picking up her Lasso of Truth, Gadot spent her days travelling back and forth from her home in Israel all the way to Los Angeles. Each audition meant a 15-hour flight with her family only to find out she was rejected over and over again, for eight years. Then she was ready to give up acting altogether. This week, we tell Gadot’s amazing story. From the dreaded phone calls that she’d lost yet another part, to the phone call that changed her life forever.

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Rejecting Amanda Gorman

Overnight, Amanda Gorman became a household name. She is the youngest inaugural poet in American history, a National Youth Poet Laureate and a New York Times bestselling author. But before her Instagram followers jumped from 3,000 to 3,000,000, Gorman faced rejection and struggled with a debilitating speech impediment . Join us this week as we tell her inspiring story, from bullies and skeptics to Capitol Hill.

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Rejecting Mark Ruffalo

Mark Ruffalo is an Academy Award-nominated actor, known for his roles in The Kids Are All Right, Foxcatcher and The Avengers franchise. But before stepping into the Hollywood spotlight, Ruffalo was rejected at 800 auditions, ready to give up acting altogether and become a construction painter. Then, news from his doctor threw him for the loop of a lifetime. Kicking off Season Two we tell Ruffalo’s incredible story, from food stamps to Forbes list.

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Season One

The Reflection Podcast, 2020

We regret to inform you that today marks our final episode of Season One. So we thought we’d do something a little different. This week, Sidney and Terry sit down to chat about the lessons and the stories from Season One AND answer some of your questions.

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Rejecting Fred VanVleet

Fred VanVleet is an NBA champion who recently signed a four-year contract with the Toronto Raptors worth $85 million. But before becoming a key player for the Raps, VanVleet was overlooked and underestimated at every single stage of his basketball career. This week, we tell his amazing story. From being rejected by all 30 teams in the NBA draft to becoming the highest-paid undrafted player of all time.

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Rejecting Taraji P. Henson

Taraji P. Henson is an Academy Award-nominated actress, known for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Hidden Figures as well as her iconic role as Cookie Lyon in the hit television show Empire. But before taking Hollywood by storm, Henson was rejected from acting school and rejected for parts, making $10 an hour as a receptionist between auditions. Join us this week as we tell Henson’s incredible story. From being labelled as “too urban” to earning the most Best Actress awards in BET history.

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Rejecting Wham!

In the four short years Wham! was together, they sold 30 million records. Making them one of the best-selling duos of the ‘80s and launching the subsequent career of the late great George Michael. But before reaching the top of the pops, schoolmates and best friends Andrew Ridgeley and Georgios Panayiotou were laughed out of the room by dozens of record labels. Join us this week as we tell Wham!’s remarkable story. From being told they were ‘just another synthesizer band’ to really making it big.

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Rejecting Brian Grazer (Splash)

Splash launched the filmmaking careers of Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. It put Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah on the map and was nominated for an Academy Award. But as a budding movie producer, Grazer spent seven years trying to sell the script, facing unrelenting rejection from every studio in LA. Join us this week as dive into Grazer’s fascinating story. From being told mermaid movies don’t sell movie tickets to earning $70 million at the box office.

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Rejecting Bat out of Hell

Bat out of Hell is one of the top albums of all time according to Rolling Stone Magazine. But before going certified platinum 14 times over, before shattering chart records and before selling over 40 million copies worldwide, it was rejected. Over 40 times. Join us this week as we tell Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf’s incredible story, from being told they were “too theatre” to crack the mainstream, to selling over 200,000 copies a year, even 40 years later.

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Rejecting Back To The Future

Back To The Future sits proudly in the Library of Congress National Film Registry as a work of enduring importance to American culture. But nearly 40 years ago when Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis first wrote the script, it was rejected. 40 times. Join us this week at the Twin Pines Mall as we tell the film’s incredible story. From being told by studios it was “too sweet” for the rebellious ‘80s youth to becoming a billion dollar franchise.

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Rejecting Katy Perry

Katy Perry was 15 years old when she was discovered, singing gospel songs in her parents traveling ministry. She quickly signed a record deal and thought she had it made. Little did Perry know, before becoming one of the highest-paid artists in the world, before tying Michael Jackson’s long-held records and before becoming the most-followed woman on Twitter, she would be rejected and dropped. By four different record labels.

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Rejecting Tyler Perry

Tyler Perry wears many hats – and wigs. He is a renowned writer, director, producer and actor. But before his massive studio complex, before his millions and before Madea, Perry was a struggling playwright living in his car. He was rejected by television networks and ignored by Hollywood studios. And yet, just this past week, Perry became the latest entertainer to join the exclusive Billionaires Club. Hope you’ll join us.

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Rejecting James Dyson

The Dyson vacuum is the number one best-selling vacuum cleaner in the United Kingdom. Making its inventor, James Dyson, a billionaire. But back when he first designed his revolutionary cyclone technology, Dyson was rejected by every single vacuum company and every single investor he approached. This week we tell James Dyson’s amazing story. From building 5127 prototypes in his backyard to leaving his competition in the dust.

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Rejecting Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing is one of the most iconic cult classic movies of all time. But back when screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein and producer Linda Gottlieb first pitched the script, it promptly received 43 rejection letters. Studios labelled it as “too small, too soft and too girly.” This week we break down the film’s remarkable journey. From a low-budget indie movie no one wanted, to raking in over $200 million at the box office.

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Rejecting Sara Blakely

Spanx has become the de facto brand name for an entire category. But in the ’90s, the shapewear company’s founder, Sara Blakely, was enduring relentless rejection as a door-to-door fax machine salesperson. When one day, she cut the feet off her pantyhose. This week we tell Blakely’s inspiring story, from being ridiculed for her idea to becoming one of the youngest female self-made billionaires.

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Rejecting RuPaul

RuPaul’s Drag Race has won 13 Emmys, including outstanding reality host four years running. But RuPaul didn’t sashay into Hollywood overnight. He weathered decades of rejection fighting to be America’s first drag superstar. Join us this week as we tell RuPaul’s fabulous story. From sleeping in Central Park to becoming Supermodel of the World.

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Rejecting Ed Sheeran

In 2020, Ed Sheeran was named UK Artist of the Decade. But 11 years earlier, he was dropped by his own management. And reeling from rejection after rejection by every major label in the country. This week, we break down Sheeran’s inspiring story. From being told he should just give out his music for free to setting the record for the highest-grossing world tour of all time.

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Rejecting Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga is a force of nature. Sitting atop her piano are 11 Grammys and an Oscar. But a star isn’t born overnight. Mother Monster was forged through years of relentless taunting and repeated rejection from the music industry. This week, we tell Lady Gaga’s formidable story. From pounding her keyboard to pounding the pavement to pounding on doors.

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Rejecting JAY-Z

In 2019, JAY-Z became the world’s first hip-hop billionaire. But 25 years earlier, no one would give him a record deal, labels said there was no market for his “brand of music” and radio stations refused to play his songs. Join us this week as we take a stroll through the Empire City and unpack JAY-Z’s remarkable story. From Marcy Projects to Madison Square Garden.

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Rejecting Pretty Woman

Pretty Woman is the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time. But back when screenwriter J.F. Lawton first penned the script in 1987, it was neither romantic, nor a comedy. It was a dark drama. This week, we tell the story of the record-breaking film. Starting with Hollywood door slams and ending at the Academy Awards.

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Rejecting Lisa Kudrow

Lisa Kudrow is Phoebe Buffay. Need we say more? But before starring in Friends, Kudrow was told she wasn’t “gorgeous” enough for television. Then, she landed the role of a lifetime. But was fired on day 2 of rehearsals.

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Rejecting Stranger Things

Stranger Things is the #1 television show on Netflix. Its third season brought in 30 million viewers in just four days. But before the sci-fi series broke the internet, its creators – The Duffer Brothers – were rejected by every major film school. And every major film studio.

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Rejecting Stephen King

Stephen King is the king of horror. But in 1973, he was a high school English teacher living in a double-wide trailer, writing stories at lunch and fielding rejection letter after rejection letter from publishers. Welcome to the premiere episode of We Regret To Inform You: The Rejection Podcast.

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