Rejection can take a lot out of you, leaving you drained and ready to throw in the towel.
Putting all your hope into something just to find out that you didn’t get the green light can feel like the wind just got knocked out of you. I know…
When I was in college I pretty much had my career path planned out, at least while I was still studying.
I found this job that seemed to fit perfectly into what I was trying to do. I needed a job that would exercise and develop my skills but not be too demanding since I was still taking classes.
The job was right on track with my experience so I figured I was a shoo-in. It was just a matter of acing the interview. But that very necessary thing never happened.
They didn’t call me for an interview, not even to discuss my skills over the phone.
I started to think maybe they didn’t get my resume, perhaps there was a glitch and it didn’t go through. However, according to their online system it was sent to the HR department.
Just to be sure, I also faxed a copy. But it didn’t make a difference. I never started work because I never got a call.
This threw a monkey wrench into my plans because I needed to find a new job and that one was the pick of the litter. I continued to apply to other jobs here and there but I kind of felt like I lost something big.
After a short while I began to think that my plan was never going to come together because similar jobs just were not out there.
I had nightmares of being stuck in that place, all because of something that was beyond my control.
I was rejected in the worse way, before I was even given the opportunity to prove myself. They didn’t even want to talk to me.
They probably just put my resume on a stack with a bunch of others, thinking I was just like the rest. But I wasn’t, it didn’t matter because they didn’t think so.
You can’t read signs
At this point I just wanted to surrender.
Nothing seemed to be going according to plan, so what was the point. All because of that silence, yet impactful, rejection.
My future was ruined. I was stuck in limbo.
I thought it was just time to let go and let other forces take over my destiny. It wasn’t going my way anyway.
I couldn’t see a way to come back from this.
This was the end.
If I let it be. After wallowing in my own pity for a while I realized that I couldn’t just let myself give up and that I couldn’t live a life designed by something other than myself.
I wasn’t going to let that one rejection, and a few more later, design my destiny. No doesn’t not equal the end.
After sharpening my skills and tweaking my resume. I continued to look for a position that fit into my plan and even continued to consider the company that rejected me.
Soon after they posted another opening in a similar area, it sound a little more along the lines of what I was looking for (who knew they had such a thing). And, it was in another office, closer to my house.
Things changed this time around. Not only did I get a call, I got an immediate offer for the position following my interview.
A complete 180 from what I experienced with the company regarding another position.
Then I realized that my new job was a better fit for me and made life a little easier compared to the one I originally wanted.
Finally!!! Things were looking up and my career plan was back on track.
It’s about what happens after
After getting rejected you can shrivel up into a little ball and cry until your tear ducks dry up or you can push through. In my case, I did a little of both.
Either way it’s what you do after being rejected that determines the impact it will have. You can either set yourself up to bounce back to go another round or kick yourself while you’re already down.
But figuring this out isn’t exactly easy. If you want to be resilient there are some things you’ll have to remind yourself of and other things you’ll have to do.
Like the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you makes you stronger. A rejection doesn’t have to seal your fate.
In fact, it can help prepare you for the next chapter. You’ll be better for it and finally get what it is you’re seeking.
Keep these things in mind after experiencing a potentially debilitating rejection:
Don’t beat yourself up
This is first and foremost. It’s typical to place all the blame on yourself, and sure maybe there is something that you could’ve done better, but the point is demeaning yourself isn’t going to help you.
Instead of putting yourself down, be nurturing. Take it easy on yourself, you’ve been through enough.
Acknowledge the fact that you’ve made a good effort. You can’t win them all but eventually you’ll win the one that matters.
Take a breather
Give yourself a break. A setback should be followed my some R&R.
After a disappointment it may not be best to jump straight back into the game as you need to handle the rejection so it doesn’t impact your mental state.
The last thing you want to do is lose control somewhere else down the line because you pushed your feelings to the back burner.
Manage your self-talk
It’s normal for your attitude to change following a rejection but you have to be the one to bring it back. Staying in a negative place is only going to bring about more negative results.
Stay positive and take note of the things you say to yourself and your thoughts.
You mental state has a way bigger impact on your life than any rejection ever could.
It’s not the end of the world
Remember I almost thought that it was but soon enough things turned around.
You have to be out there trying to be rejected, so even if you don’t get it you’re still ahead of the people not putting forth any effort.
And even if you don’t get the thing that you wanted when you wanted it, it doesn’t mean that there still isn’t something else out there for you.
There are way more opportunities available. Even when you don’t see them, they’re still lurking, waiting to be uncovered.
Things happen for a reason. A lot of the time, I later realize that things happened the way they did because it worked out better that way. Then I’m thankful for it.
And you will be too.
It’s part of the path to success
You typically cannot be successful without being rejected at some point.
Never being rejected usually means you’ve never tried. And if you’ve never tried then you’re definitely not going to be successful.
Being rejected can either feed your determination or break you down from the inside out. The choice is yours.
But you’ll be hard pressed to find a success story without some rejection in it.
Mark Ruffalo was rejected 600 times (yes, hundreds) before landing a gig. Look at him now, he’s an Avenger!
Just remember, just because you’ve been rejected doesn’t mean you’ll never become successful. Believe me, you’re actually getting closer.
Learn from it
Instead of letting it beat you down, let it teach you something. There’s always room for improvement so take the rejection as an opportunity to grow.
In my case I figured something was up with my resume, since it was the only contact I had with them, so I made some changes.
Additionally, I sharpened and expanded my skill set to make myself more desirable. Then the phone started ringing.
It wasn’t exactly a clear shot to victory, as some positions did fit, but it was certainly an improvement.
You’re not alone
Sorry I don’t know if there are any groups focusing on rejection but it is something we all go through. It’s everyone’s problem.
Unfortunately, it won’t be one-off either. You’ll have to deal with rejection in all different aspects of your life and at uncommon times and on different levels.
One thing is certain that rejection is commonplace.
They say the most successful people have been rejected the most. I would say, just for the simple fact that they have been able to overcome rejection so much makes them very successful.
As much as it may feel like it’s time to throw in the towel, don’t. Remember these things and cut yourself some slack.
Baseball players strike out all the time but it’s never the end of the game.
Sometimes it can take a few tries before you’re able to get the thing you want. But don’t let the extra effort discourage you. Alternatively, use the rejection to build your road to success.
Learn from it and apply it next time. It will surely make the difference.
The last thing you want to do is end up stuck in limbo forever because you can’t get over the fact the one person couldn’t see your vision or ability.
Remember these things and apply them whenever you’re dealing with rejection and you’ll be able to bounce back unfazed and renewed.
How do you usually handle rejection? Does it stop you in your tracks?