In the days after a divisive national election, relationships are frayed and some of us may feel rejection more keenly than usual. My hope is that we will each go out of our way to avoid rejecting others for political, religious and ethnic reasons, and that we will face rejection by others with grace.
FEAR of rejection is a showstopper.
Yielding to the bone crushing weight of actual rejection – well, if you have experienced it, you know that it is indescribably painful.
We often cancel the show before the curtain rises. Why? Because of those little saboteurs in our mind. Bless their hearts. They intend to save us from hurt and sorrow when all they are doing is holding up a big CLOSED sign that prevents us from moving toward our goals.
What if we DO move past the paralyzing fear to opening night? What if not one seat in the audience is filled? Then those voices in our heads shout. “I told you so.” “You’re not good enough to attract anybody to your show.” “You thought you were going to have a packed house? Don’t make me laugh.” “Why didn’t you see the handwriting on the wall before it was too late?”
And then, there are those of us who fight rejection until we are carried off the battlefield. We just refuse to see it in all its glory. Those voices in our head say, “You are smart.” “Those people just don’t get it.” “If I hang in there long enough, I can change their perception.” We burn out, have accidents, get sick and fight on when, clearly, it’s time to retreat and try another strategy.
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?
Who would want to make friends with a monster that feeds on human misery?
No one likes to be rejected. When we ask someone out on a date and that person says no, we experience a terrible feeling. When we call for sales appointments and get put off over and over, we don’t understand what the problem is, and we want to give up. When we don’t get the job we sought, we feel like we have failed. There are many more examples of how rejection hurts. But, if we embrace rejection, we may find that it can be a tremendous tool in our personal development.
Rejection is a part of life. People often fear rejection because we believe it points out our flaws. When rejection becomes a learning experience, we can use it to better our position.
Keep these tips in mind:
- Knowing the reasons why a rejection happened can help you hone in what you need to change and what you don’t. The biggest question is, “What caused the person to reject me or my business services?” Answering that question can put us a leg up to the next rung on the ladder of success.
- Use rejection to give you an indication of what you want or don’t want out of your life. Have you ever been on an interview for a job you felt you weren’t qualified for? Or perhaps you were qualified, but your heart wasn’t in it. This can happen to people who are burnt out with their careers. The rejection is a blessing in disguise for both situations. If you are not qualified and were hired, you might not last in the job, unless they were willing to train you (which is rare these days). If you are burnt out, rejection can tell you it’s time for a change.
- Realize that most rejection may not be about you personally. Other people have their own problems, and you just might not be the solution they are looking for at the time. Analyze the situation. What does the rejection really say about you as a person? Salespeople know that their success is a numbers game. Keep going until someone says yes.
- Rejection can also help you focus on the right type of people to target. If you are trying to sell cars to people who don’t have a drivers license, you’re in for a tough sell and are likely to be turned down. On the other hand, if you find a hungry market for what you are selling, getting to a “yes” answer is not going to take that long.
- Fear of rejection is a big part of the problem. Rejection poses as the goblin under the bed in the dark. Shine a light on it, and it is much less scary. If you face it, it loses much of its power.
You’ll find that rejection can help you get more of what you want out of life if you use it in a constructive manner. Step over rejection. Step around it. Step ON it. Keep moving forward.
If you can’t see rejection as a close friend, you can, at least, embrace a healthy relationship with it by keeping it at a safe distance so that it can’t bite. From a distance you can study it for learning purposes and make rejection serve YOU.