Successful people will tell you that whatever they’ve been able to accomplish has been the result of working hard, staying focused on what really matters, and not letting rejection get in the way. They will also acknowledge that the risk of failure is always present when undertaking anything worthwhile, but that it didn’t stop them from trying, sometimes over and over again.
Perceiving the negative reactions and unfounded criticisms from others as signs of your failure is natural. It is tempting to respond by withdrawing or limiting your efforts to avoid being hurt. Rather than let rejection dominate your feelings and freeze your ambition when this happens, the more productive response would be to subscribe to the following formula for success:
Success requires risk.
You risk rejection and criticism whenever you commit yourself to a dream. Risk is a means of measuring the value of your commitment. You risk losing support from others when you act on your own set of goals. The more risks you take, the more likely you are to succeed.
Risk escalates failure.
You will fail many times in your life. Look upon failure as part of the learning process. Examine the cause and try to avoid similar mistakes in the future. Adopt the “no big deal” philosophy which means that when one thing doesn’t work try something else until you find what does.
Failure builds confidence.
Have a strong belief in yourself. Feeling good about who you are and accepting that what you’re doing is right for you builds self-confidence. Believe in your own worth and value. You may have faults and others will pick them out, but as a whole person no one is better than you.
Confidence raises self-esteem.
You feel good about yourself when others hold you in high regard, so don’t waste time on negative people. Do what you believe makes sense and others will support your efforts. Don’t compromise yourself or your values. Remember, your success is well earned and well deserved.
How you handle rejection can influence your ability to complete the success formula. Rejection and the learning that comes with it can be put to good use when you understand that it’s not about you, it’s about what you offer or what you represent that people are objecting to.
- Self-esteem is enhanced proportionally to the difficulty of the task. The tougher it is to do, the better you’re going to feel about yourself when you get it done.
- Painful experiences are not always negative. They often have many beneficial outcomes.
- You do things for a reason, sometimes subconsciously. Your behavior has an ego-payoff. Understand what it is, and improvement becomes easier.
- Feeling bad about the past is futile. Concentrate your concern on those things you can redo or influence. Spend less time thinking about those things you cannot change.
- Be conscious of when you are letting other people determine your behavior especially when it goes against what you believe.
- Your worth as a person is derived from who you are, not from what you do.
- Enjoy what’s here right now because today is the only certainty you have and the only time you’re in control.
Finding Value in Rejection
Exercise: Write down three reasons why you believe people reject you.
The key to finding value in rejection is to realize that you are not the target, but rather the negativity is aimed at what you represent or have to offer. Next time you experience rejection or receive a devaluing response; first admit that it hurts, then tell yourself it’s no big deal. Doing so will free your mind to determine how to respond and what action to take.
Here are four general categories or conditions under which you are most likely to be rejected together with a suggested response:
- The person has no need for what you offer or what you represent. There is nothing to be gained from a relationship with a disagreeable or negatively disposed person, so let it go and move on.
- The person has misunderstood what you have to offer or what you represent. Ask for an opportunity to explain. Try to change his or her mind by providing new information or offering clarification.
- The person has recognized a personal weakness or a flaw in what you offer. Acknowledge your shortcoming and agree to apply one or more of your other strengths to compensate.
- The person has revealed something negative about you or what you offer that was previously unknown to you. Thank him or her for being honest. Acknowledge the fault and agree to try harder in the future.