How do you deal with rejection?
We all experience it throughout our lives.
For me it was being told I wasn’t suitable when auditioning for plays and shows as a kid, not landing positions in organisations, or winning businesses. Friendships and relationships ending. And when I entered the world of online dating a few years ago, I realised ghosting was a pretty normal occurence! These are just a few examples.
I’m sure you can recount loads of these experiences too.
What belief systems have you formed as a result of being told no?
Have they enabled you to come back stronger, undeterred?
Or have they chipped away at your confidence making you receed further into the shadows?
Whether it’s the dream job you are striving for
A relationship ending (or not even starting)
The big piece of business that you would love to win
Or an idea that you want implemented within your organisation.
We are all human, and even the toughest and most resilient among us can feel the sting of rejection.
But there can be great power in the word No.
What I do know from my own experiences and working with clients, is that there are things that you can do to build your resilience to rejection, ease the sting when it does happen, and even welcome it.
1. See it as protection.
Maybe the thing you were striving for wasn’t the right thing for you. I remember seeing a quote once that said ‘Rejection is the Universe’s protection.’ And I really do believe this. Getting a no may feel hurtful at the time, but it may be just the thing that was needed to course-correct you, or dodge something that wouldn’t have been good for you anyway.
2. Seek out No’s.
Seeking out rejection may seem counterproductive but it can lead to pretty incredible outcomes. TEDx speaker Jia Jiang actively sought out rejection for 100 days and by doing so, desensitised himself to the pain and shame that rejection often brings. He also discovered that simply asking for what you want can open up possibilities where you expect to find dead ends.
It’s a lighthearted yet poignant talk and well worth a watch.
3. Release attachment to outcomes.
Visualising the outcome you want and then releasing attachment to it can be pretty powerful. We all have masculine and feminine energy residing inside us. Masculine energy guides us to take action and move forward, whereas feminine energy guides us to be open to receive what we wish for. Understanding that you can be open to receive AND be naturally guided by your masculine energy can help you focus on your dreams in a different way. Instead of putting weight on chasing, needing and striving for ‘the thing’, you can hold the outcome in your mind and take the focus away from the ‘how’ a little more. You’ll be surprised at what nudges show up along the way.
4. Love what you have right now.
Gratitude for what you have right now is a soothing balm that heals rejection. Whether it’s a promotion that you have your heart set on, or a life partner you want to share experiences with. Being happy with what you have, with or without the thing you have your heart set on, means that if it doesn’t happen it’s ok and you will feel good regardless.
5. Seek your own validation.
The sting of rejection in essence comes from a need to be validated by things outside of ourselves. Knowing that we have what it takes, that we are worthy of something or someone, and have done a good job. Learning to seek validation from within is a very fruitful life skill that does wonders for your confidence and mental health.
Getting really clear on who you are, what you stand for and what you are great at, as well as getting clear on what you want is a great way to build your own internal validation systems. My own TEDx Talk touches on this.
6. Build bouncebackability.
When something knocks you back and it feels like the world isn’t validating you, it’s ok to feel the feelings that come up. There may be triggers that are rooted in something that happened a long time ago. Being aware of the root of these things and working through them can be incredibly beneficial. But the ability to get up again relatively quickly after a knock back, will take you another step closer to the win you are looking for. As the Japanese proverb states ‘Fall down six times, stand up seven.’
7. Let tenacity outweigh fear.
When I reflect on the things I have achieved in my life and career that I am most proud of, they all came from being tenacious. When I set my sights on giving a TEDx Talk, I was willing to be knocked back countless times before it became a reality. When I started my own business, I was willing to make a load of mistakes until I found a way to make it successful. Having a passion for what you want to achieve and being laser-focused on achieving that dream can help you take the knockbacks that will inevitably come a lot more easily.
We either win or we learn and there is huge power in learning, as well as being told NO.
How I can help
I offer workshops and keynote talks on the power of rejection and how it can help us to achieve great things. If you’d like to discuss how I can support resilience building and courage within your organisation, contact me here and we can arrange a time to chat.
If you found this article useful, I would love for you to share it. I want as many people as possible to know it’s ok to be rejected and we can welcome it too!