Megaphone and Hope in Shadows Vendors learn tools for handling rejection

Vendors participate in a special training workshop about dealing with rejection. Photo by Carolyn Wong.


Megaphone and Hope in Shadows vendors experience rejection on a daily basis. This ranges from someone not acknowledging them, to politely saying they are not interested, to occasional (and unnecessary) rude replies. Rejection is one of many variables that can lower someone’s self-esteem.


Many of our vendors already struggle with low self-esteem. Some of the things that act as barriers to a healthy self-esteem are: mental health issues; hunger; drug dependency; poverty; tiredness; and sickness or disability. A bad day selling papers can make all those things seem a lot worse.


In order to help the Megaphone and Hope in Shadows learn to find ways to cope with rejection, the vendors were visited by Theatre Sports’ improv Actor Ken Lawson earlier this month for a special training workshop funded by Vancity.


Ken engaged the vendors with a hands-on session exploring self-esteem. He appropriated his experience of hitting the stage with how our vendors hit the streets, taking on the role of salesperson.


For many of our vendors, the confidence required to sell the paper or calendar may not come naturally and can be a kind of performance.


Ken Lawson leads a special training workshop with Megaphone and Hope in Shadows vendors about dealing with rejection. Photo by Carolyn Wong.

Ken Lawson provided some tools for better understanding and improving self-esteem. Taking the idea that “we become what we repeatedly do,” vendors examined the control they have over their feelings and actions.


Analogies, role-play, worksheets and games helped vendors explore what they needed to do, or to avoid, in order to feel better about themselves.


In groups, vendors played out a sales rejection with the positive thoughts that vendors could tell themselves’ as to not be terribly effected. They came up with reinforcements of “maybe next time,” “it’s got nothing to do with me,” to silly jokes.


Little things can dig at us, and self-esteem is a shield to protect ourselves. It’s our responsibility to keep that shield strong and build ourselves up.


Differing for each individual or from day-to-day, some solutions for low self-esteem that the group came up with are: slow down; think positive thoughts; connect with people who are important to you; and have a sense of humour.


Ken left the group with encouragement and a suggestion. “Everyday, take stock or at least one or two things you are thankful for. Even if you are not aware of it, it fills you up and raises your energy.”


Many thanks to Ken for leading the workshop and to Vancity for making it possible. This was the fifth and final specialized training session for the Megaphone and Hope in Shadows vendors. 

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