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Coping with professional rejection is hard. I’m sure we’ve all encountered it at some point. It always seems like the “other guy” wins- and you’re back to the drawing board. The realization is, when you’re trying to build your career that’s often the game.
I’ve been rejected a lot. More times than I care to count. And let’s be honest, it’s a tough pill to swallow when you don’t get that big opportunity you know you deserve. That promotion that you really, REALLY wanted…Or the time you “killed” in your interview for the perfect new role…and don’t forget about the one where you spent your whole vacation interview prepping and working on a 30-page presentation- in each instance only to be told you we’re “great” but they’ve decided to go another direction. You name it, I’ve experienced it and I am sure many of you have too. Each “no” creating a new wound.
That rejection can cut you very deeply, if you let it. The sinking feeling that you’re not good enough, or that everyone around you is so much more successful. Fighting the urge not to be an emotional wreck after what seems like every door closes in your face becomes harder and harder…And you find yourself asking “Why not me”?
What you have to remember is just because that opportunity was not for you, it doesn’t mean the next one won’t be! Don’t be discouraged because of a “no”. There is a yes waiting for you. Let those wounds drive you to work a little harder.
When forging your career path and working towards your goals, you have to be willing to fight for your dreams. Some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs and top executives did not get where they are without some struggle (and a few no’s). You can’t let those “no’s” break you. Keep working towards the opportunities you’re seeking. Trust your vision for yourself. It’s OK to believe you will make it happen- as long as you never give up on getting there, wherever “there” may be.
Here are a few tips to get past those moments and keep the wind at your back…
Your outlook on yourself and your career could be the difference of its life or death. Don’t be a “Dream Killer”. Prop yourself up and start working on solutions to your problem. Don’t let negativity eat away at you and cause you to become stagnant.
Learn from the experience
There’s always a reason why an opportunity doesn’t work out. Ask yourself, what can I improve going forward? Was I really fully prepared? Give the experience an honest analysis and find ways to get better.
Stay in contact, but move on
During your interview/selection process hopefully you’ve been able to build a report with a contact or two. Even though you’re disappointed in your outcome, that doesn’t mean those relationships are not meaningful. Stay connected and top of mind with your newfound connections…BUT do not use that as an opportunity to dwell (i.e. Asking them why you didn’t get the job, promotion, etc.). Focus on working towards the next opportunity and keep it moving.
Never settle, never give up
Sometimes discouragement can set in and make you feel like you should just give up or find “something else” to do that may be on an easier path. Stop it! Giving up and settling should not be an option, ever. As the saying goes “Anything worth having is worth fighting for”. This includes your career.
Rejection is tough, but it’s not the end of the world. Your time will come. When it does just make sure you are ready to SHINE bright and tell all those old “no’s” to pardon your back as you zip past them towards your success. In the mean time, keep running your race.