Think of a time you felt rejected. How did you feel? Rejection is something we all go through in one form or another – from that special person walking out of your life to being told you are not good enough to being passed up for a promotion. I have had my fair share of rejection experiences – from people clutching their purses tightly when I entered an elevator to people scrambling to lock their car doors in a parking lot to several rejection emails during my career transition journey. Let’s face it. Rejection sucks (pardon my French), and it is painful.
Rejection touches the core of the five basic human needs – Security, Safety, Connection, Esteem, and Growth. It is human to go to a self-preservation mode when you feel rejected. You build walls to protect yourself. The danger about staying behind these walls is that it can become a prison that locks you out from the rest of the world.
The fear of rejection has crippled many people and sent many dreams to the grave. Les Brown, a motivational guru, shares some great insight on this, “The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.”
In the end, you have to decide which is worse – staying in your comfort zone and living below your potential vs. the pain of regret for not trying to be all you can be. There is another option. You can jump back into the ring and let the past guide, but not control you. Below are a few tips to get you going again:
#1 Accept it – It is natural to feel a range of emotions during a rejection experience from disbelief to anger to shock. Acknowledge what happened and accept that it was painful. Take responsibility for your part without condemning yourself or the other person involved. If possible, get a support system to help you go through this phase.
#2 Don’t take rejection personally – The truth is you are not going to be everyone’s cup of tea no matter what you do, and that’s okay. Don’t waste your time trying to fit in or seek people’s approval to be yourself. You are treasure, not trash. Celebrate your originality and accept your individuality. There are people/places out there that will roll the red carpet for you. Your goal should be to find the people and places that appreciate the value you bring to the table.
“In life, when you encounter mean and hurtful people, treat them like sandpaper. No matter how rough they may scrub you, you end up polished and smooth” … Nishan Panwar
#3 Don’t quit – Remember, rejection is someone’s opinion. You don’t have to allow it to become your facts. JK Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” manuscript was rejected 13 times before a publisher took a chance on her. In fact, she pinned it to her wall as fuel to keep her going. She didn’t allow the opinions of 13 publishers to become her facts. Rowling has since become the UK’s best-selling living author, her books have brought in more than $25 billion and sold more copies than any other book series. Are you scared of facing rejection? How many times have you been rejected? You may change your strategy, but quitting is not an option.
“Take “No” as a comma, not a period.”
#4 Perspective matters – An experience that helped me overcome my fear of rejection was a sales job I had over summer during my college years. It involved me knocking on doors to book appointments for sales reps to market windows to prospective buyers.At times, people looked through the window and didn’t bother opening the door. Some looked frightened. I read a sales bookthat suggested that I had to knock on ten doors to get one sale. This changed my perspective, and it became a numbers game. I went from focusing on my insecurities to improving my technique on each subsequent knock. I have applied this principle to many areas of life, and it has paid off.
#5 Get some rejection experience –Experience is a good teacher. Jia Jiang, the author of Rejection Proof, realized that his fear of rejection was crippling him from pursuing his dreams. He decided to do something about it. He conditioned himself to better handle rejection by embarking on a 100-days of rejection therapy. Below are some of the requests he made to strangers with the intention of being rejected:
1. Borrow $100 from a stranger 2. Make an announcement on a Southwest flight 3. Trim My Hair at PetSmart 4. Buy Fresh Fruit at Jamba Juice 5. Ask strangers to rate my look
To Jia’s surprise, many people said yes to his requests. It is amazing what you can achieve when you do not let your doubts get in the way of your dreams. As Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you do not take.” Like Jia, what experiences are you going to pursue to help you overcome your fear of rejection?
#6 A blessing in disguise – Remember the saying, “Every disappointment is a blessing in disguise?” I applied for a role and believed I was going to get it because the interview process went really well. It was painful that I didn’t get it. Well, I heard 3-months later that the group was disbanded. It is easier connecting the dots when you look backward. If you have done your part, and it still doesn’t work out, then trust it wasn’t meant to be for a good reason.
#7 Just do it – Your desire and passion for achieving your dreams must be greater than your fear of rejection or failure. You have got only one life and you are going to make it count. This is the rejection proof mindset. Put yourself out there knowing that sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn. Yes, people may laugh at you, ignore you, and even attack you. Take this as proof that you are on to something. Escape the gravitational pull of yesterday that wants to pull you back into your past and lock you up in your comfort zone.
“In the cemetery, there is buried the greatest treasure of untapped potential. There is a treasure within you that must come out. Do not go to the grave with your treasure still within you”…Myles Munroe
We all face rejection in some form or another. Rejection itself is not the issue, but how we respond to it. What are you afraid to do? Get up and get back in. I dare you to do it afraid; dare to be rejection proof!
How do you handle rejection? Share your tip. It may help someone out there.
#Leadership #Courage #Rejectionproof #Business #Growth #Mindset
By Dr. Richard Osibanjo