I recently interviewed at one of the biggest tech companies in the world. It was one of the rare times where the hiring manager came to me. Though this company is ubiquitous in my life, I'd never considered working there. In fact, I'd been so focused on the vision of where I wanted to be that I unconsciously delayed responding. When I did, I learned the position was still open and we set up an interview.

I didn't think the first interview went particularly well, but I made it to the second round. As I prepared, it became clear that landing this job would open doors and offer job security. The more I practiced, the more I started to put stock in landing the job. 

Over the past year, I've put a lot of thinking into what I want to do next and the kinds of visionary companies I want to help. At the same time, I'm a single mother raising twins, so job security at a Fortune 10 company is no small shakes. The job would serve to further legitimize my nontraditional, nonlinear career. To boot, the company is known for operational excellence, which would definitely give me a chance to learn. 

I prepared thoroughly. I researched the hiring process. Reddit and Quora gave me insight into how to plug my work history into the company's evaluative criteria. I made sure I used strong data to back it up. There was a written part. I approached that thoughtfully and holistically. I felt like I aced it. 

The interviews came and went. I felt confident I put forth the best representation of myself and my achievements. The people were pleasant and respectful. The questions felt reasonable and answerable.

Still, I couldn't help but feel unsettled. I couldn't pinpoint why, though. Nothing went wrong. I never felt stumped or like I lost clarity in my argument, yet I felt like I wasn't going to get the job.

I couldn't shake the feeling and wondered if I was being negative or worrying prematurely. Maybe it was a defense mechanism. I was trying to stay neutral and give up control of the outcome, but I never once felt like the outcome was going to be positive. I went so far as to try to create a mental picture of myself working there, and every time I did this, I would recoil from the image or it would disintegrate out of my mind's eye. 

Then I got the call. It was late in the day and I was at my kids' school for an event, so I missed it. I went to sleep that night and the next morning I meditated and again tried to picture myself there. No matter how I tried, I could not envision the day to day at this company. I went back to focusing on being calm and centered and trusting fate. The second my meditation timer went off, the phone rang. It was the coordinator. I picked up with a sense of serenity tinged with resignation. He informed me that I would not be moving forward. Despite my previous anxiety, my heart did not skip a beat. We spoke briefly and hung up. I couldn't help but wonder, did I will this to happen, or did I just know it? 

The rest of the day a sense of gratitude and relief washed over me. I have a new exciting client in one of the visionary future-forward spaces I so adore. I shifted my attentions toward this project and I somehow felt lighter. Almost celebratory. This is not how you usually feel when you get rejected.

Let's be real. Nobody wants to fail at anything or be told no, but we often create shadow careers for ourselves out of merely continuing to get hired. Steven Pressfield writes about this in his book Turning Pro. Think of a shadow career as when our career is a low-risk metaphor for what we really want to be doing. I have specific dreams and convictions, a lot of us do, but we get caught up in other people's versions of success or the movement of the crowd.

Working at the company that rejected me would not have been a failure. Far from it. My kids were excited to tell their peers. My friends and family would have commended me on my accomplishment. I would have gotten a signing bonus and stock options. I would also be on a trajectory for the foreseeable future that would take me away from my vision, ideals, and carefully considered goals.

I probably would have enjoyed the role and felt proud, not noticing it consuming my time and altering my path significantly. 

At the same time, we all have to do what we have to do. Nothing is a straight road. There is something to be learned in every situation. If I had gotten the job and taken it, I could have been very proactive about continuing to head toward my other goals on the side. But realistically, raising two kids, this would be almost impossible to do well. We have this illusion that comes with the American Dream that we can achieve several extraordinary and dissimilar goals at once. We cannot.

When you are in your 20s and 30s, you want to have as many experiences as possible and sample the smorgasbord. As you get older and more accomplished, you want to put less on your plate of higher value. You have to make choices. Choices mean elimination.

For now, while I have to deal with uncertainty, I learned a lot from the company's rigorous interview process and challenged myself with data. I also get to feel like I have not betrayed myself. The perfect long-term commitment hasn't happened. Not yet. And it's because it wasn't supposed to. My gut literally told me this. 

The big success here is, through doing the work and following my personal North Star, understanding my work value and where I want to continue to grow. I've been able to deal with rejection objectively. I see it as not a rejection but a course correction. And seeing it with that clarity has made all the difference between disappointment and faith.