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On Rejection

Rejection (real or perceived) is something that all of us have to deal with from time to time. For some it is a daily occurence, as any salesman at the sharp end of an aggressive sales campaign will tell you !

So we need to develop a functional working relationship with rejection. We would not be human if we did not feel some pain when rejected, but succumbing to negative emotions or adopting a victim mentality will hold us back. If we allow ourselves to wallow in the pain of rejection this may make us overly risk averse, and more likely to avoid future situations where there is the possibility of rejection.

Therefore, if you have never or rarely experienced rejection you need to ask ‘why ?’. Is it possible that you are constraining yourself from taking measured risks out of fear of rejection?. It is interesting to listen to someone who has had a successful career talking about their life journey. Invariable it contains setbacks including instances of rejection, which they successfully ‘processed’. For example, rejection by publishers of early works is a common experience for many best selling writers.

The following are my top 10 tips for processing rejection :

1. Don’t take it personally – the first and most important tip. You don’t have to share the perspective of others. If you don’t take rejection as a personal slight, which it rarely is in any event, you will move on from it much more quickly.

2. Try to live without the expectation of ‘acceptance’ ( opposite of rejection), just act and await the outcome. Always give of your best but develop a ‘you win some, you lose some’ mentality.

3. Reflect on the reasons for rejection, and if you don’t know the reasons look for feedback – you might learn something useful.

4. Ask whether rejection may be for your long term best interests. It may be a signal that you are on the wrong path. An example that springs to mind are the X factor contestants who are rejected because they have little or no innate talent for singing.

5.Reflect on the motivations behind those who are the source of rejection. Are you getting an objective assessment or is it just ‘their stuff’?

6. Reflect on whether there is anything in the way you present /communicate that you need to change, and whether your channel of communication should be different.

7. Develop a ‘thick skin’ . Be resiliant and don’t let anyone keep you from achieving what you want. You will find this character trait in most successful people. Remember that ‘winners are different’ – in order to be successful it is often necessary to challenge conventional wisdom. All great advances have come from a rejection of the accepted ‘status quo’.

8. Develop a support network of those who will be there for you ‘no matter what’.

9. Don’t reject yourself, or talk yourself into rejection or assume rejection before checking the facts.

10. If you find that you are particularly sensitive to rejection, this may be because you experienced rejection from a parent or siblings etc. during your formative years. Knowing that you are ‘wired’ in this way will help you be more objective and less emotional in your responses to rejection. 

Coping with and managing your response to rejection is a key life skill as rejection is part of life experience. Try to see rejection as a fuel to spur you on, rather than allowing it to become a source of disillusionment.  Looking back you may well come to regard some rejections as being for the best in the light of subsequent events.

Of course, life isn’t always ‘fair’, but whatever happens the quicker you process whatever challenges cross your path the better.


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