Putting your all in and be turned down is soul-crashing.
For most of us, it’s enough to give up and never try anything similar again. It certainly was for me. Being the last person chosen for the volleyball team or being passed over for a work opportunity I really wanted made me feel such a failure, I determined to quit sports and settle for a crappy, soul-sucking job.
It took me years to recover enough to give my dreams another go. The rejections are still coming, and more numerous than before, too (being a freelance writer means sending hundreds of queries a week and hear back from one prospect, if you’re lucky).
But now, I’ve learned how to deal with rejection. Rather than demoralize me, rejection now motivates me to improve and try harder. How did I do it? Here are my secrets:
1. Don’t take it personally
I know, easier said than done, right? When someone rejects your idea or work, it feels like they’re rejecting you. But, chances are, they probably have a different vision or different needs. It doesn’t mean yours suck. This time, it just wasn’t the right fit, that’s all.
2. Be kind to yourself
Rejections are part of the process. You can’t succeed 100% of the time. Even top performers experience setbacks and rejections every now and then. Oprah Winfrey was told she wasn’t fit for TV, and J.K. Rowling was turned down by at least a dozen publishers before she signed a deal for Harry Potter. So, stop thinking you’re a loser. You’re not. Give yourself a big virtual (or real) hug, accept the rejection, and try again.
3. Plan for it
Doesn’t matter how good you or your idea is, sooner or later you’re gonna experience rejection. So, plan for it. Let’s say you apply for your dream job at your dream company, but didn’t get it. You can still keep in touch with the people at the company.
Send your interviewer regular emails with your (future) accomplishments, industry news, and anything else that’s relevant to him and helps him understand what a top performer you are. Next time they have a job opening, you won’t have to apply. They’ll invite you back for another interview.
4. Ask for feedback…
When someone rejects you, ask them why. What did you do wrong? How could you improve? Then, use the information to grow and get better at what you do. When you do, your chances of succeeding go through the roof.
5. …But Consider the source carefully
Who was the person who turned down your idea? Maybe you shared with a friend your aspiration of becoming a published author and she branded it a hopeless dream, and suggested you get a real job. And, without even jotting down a few words of your first novel, you complied. Too bad, that friend has been stuck in a job she hates all her life.
She never attempted to make her dreams come true, let alone become a published author. So, how does she know you won’t succeed? She doesn’t. Unless criticism comes from someone you admire and respect, and who’s done what you want to do, don’t take it seriously.
6. Move on
Don’t dwell on the past. Ok, this time you didn’t succeed. Pick yourself up, figure out what went wrong, fix it, and try again. Let the rejection help you become the best version of yourself, not be an excuse to give up.
The bottom line
Being rejected hurts. But, if you don’t take it personally, and use it as feedback, it can be the best think that happened to you. It helps hone your craft, so you can get ever better at what you do, and achieve the success you deserve. So, never give up!
Do you have any tips on how to deal with rejection?