Everyone fears rejection although it is inevitable. No employee will procure the funding necessary to commence a huge project every time. There are no sales representatives with a 100% close rate. Executive Boards decline requests made by stakeholders every single day.
Accepting that rejection, set-backs and losses are inevitable does not mean giving up or giving in. Instead, continue to put your best foot forward in everything you do. When you are met with rejection, refer to these three reasons while it is actually good for you in the long-run.
Attitude adjustment. ‘This is a test. It is only a test.’ Sometimes, we become too big for our britches. After overcoming a few feats or developing the latest and greatest widget, we assume that we have secured success. When we encounter a set-back or are rejected, it is a test of character and attitude. Vince Lombardi said, “Adversity doesn’t build character it reveals it.” The moment of rejection is a test—an opportunity to demonstrate stellar character or to appear like a big baby. Maintain a positive attitude and treat the source of rejection respectfully so that you will be given another chance to pitch/present/prove something in the future.
Energy transfer. When we are criticized, rejected, condemned and/or mocked, our body’s physiological response is to argue or run. This is the ‘Fight or Flight’ response which is a mechanism in the body that enables humans and animals to mobilize energy rapidly in order to cope with threats to their survival. You’ve felt this reaction before—rapid and rigid breathing, heartbeat thumping, etc. The flood of energy attached to rejection is negative, however now that we are cognizant of this response, we can train our brains to transfer the negative feelings to positive ones. Instead of thinking about the mistakes you may have made or the circumstances that impacted the rejection, focus on the future. Consider how you will channel this energy boost. Think about other short and long-term opportunities.
Lessons learned. On my son’s first day of kindergarten, he came home with a goodie bag from his teacher. Among the items was an eraser with a tag stating, “It’s okay to make mistakes because we learn from them.” Rejection is an opportunity to learn—for free! Many companies spend billions of dollars annually on prospect and customer surveys. They want to know why someone will or will not ever buy from the organization again; all about their experience and more. Understanding why the prospect chose not to buy is an education—the rationale could be our presentation; product or service limitations; geo-political concerns, etc. Learning why the executive board chose to slash our project from next year’s lineup is an opportunity to find out what our next proposed project must include.
Dale Carnegie said, “Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” The next time you encounter rejection, give thanks and use the energy rush to tackle new opportunities.