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Use rejection to regroup

by on
in Workplace Communication

If you’re like most people, the last thing you want to hear after you’ve finally worked up your nerve to ask for what you want is a big, fat no. Rejection isn’t fun.

When I worked for sales legend Tom Hopkins, he taught our team to make a game of hearing the word no by computing out how many no’s it took to get a yes. After hearing a customer say no, we knew we were that much closer to getting our yes.

Rejection is a great time to take stock. Was your entire request rejected or was a particular piece less welcomed? What reason did they give for not wanting to move forward? Does it have to do with your specific skills or with how the system currently is structured?

For example, say you asked for a more flexible schedule and were turned down due to current office demands. Did they reject you or your request? Do you need to gather more research to support your goals, become more proficient with your time or simply ask for permission to revisit in a few months? Reflection brings you the clarity for next steps.

Use rejection to reinvent. Now is the time to be creative and scrappy. Perhaps due to budget constraints you were told “no” regarding the annual Administrative Professional Day celebration. Rather than feel dejected as a team, reinvent the party. Call your local office supplier, caterer or hotel that receives business from your group and ask for their support. Decide to have a potluck lunch where each admin spotlights one best practice she’s gained over the past year. Call your local Toastmasters group to see if the member who just won the humor contest can deliver his five-minute presentation for laughs and variety.

Use rejection to regroup and rebound. Why can’t rejection be used to energize and keep us excited? The only way to turn a no into a yes is to not take it personally and keep going forward. Rather than avoiding future possible rejection, use it instead to get fired up for next time. We wouldn’t have the Chicken Soup for the Soul or Harry Potter series if the authors didn’t use rejection to rebound.

Sure, it’s easy and fun to hear yes, but it’s the no’s that build our character and make us stronger.

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