“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” - Walt Disney
Whether you’re told you didn’t receive the new position or left behind while colleagues go to lunch, rejection stings. Like all painful experiences, rejection can either devastate you or be an invaluable opportunity for growth. Learning the five strategies to make rejection your friend can determine the difference.
1. Recognize everybody hurts. Everyone deals with personal and professional rejection at one time or another, including me. One stretch of my career was nothing but a series of interviews resulting in a pattern of polite dismissals.
2. Release the feelings. Short pity parties are OK. Ride the anguish, humiliation, even obsession—but then move on. The only way past something is through it. Getting back to healthy self-care is the best remedy for any disappointment.
3. Reflect. If you step back and take an objective look at the possible reasons you were rejected, you may come up with areas to work on, or smarter approaches to use in the future. For example, my interview skills continued to improve as my answers were more focused and succinct.
4. Refocus. When I’m rejected, professionally or personally, I strive to remember that rejection is actually healthy evidence of my taking risks. It’s only by taking risks—knowing failure is a possible outcome—that you can make progress.
5. Rejection protection. Lastly, think of rejection as the universe’s way of protecting you from harmful situations, a friendly guide toward exactly what, where or with whom you should be. When you understand this, you’ll fear rejection less and be more excited about putting yourself out there on your uphill path to success.
Rejection is an unforgettable teacher, one that can motivate you to be better and stronger. Over time, you’ll be able to detach more easily from the pinch of your ego being punctured and focus faster on the positive lessons available.