“I became more confident and resilient when I became more comfortable with rejection”– Nicole Andrews
“How did you become so confident?” This was a question someone asked me recently that took me by surprise.
I had to really think about my response.
“I haven’t always been this confident, but I’ve always been ambitious and driven. My confidence was built over time by doing things outside of my comfort zone.”
We moved on after my answer, but my mind was still racing.
This question kept replaying in my mind as I started digging deeper to explore what truly built my confidence and resilience.
Then, the real answer clicked.
I became more confident and resilient when I became more comfortable with rejection.
Rejection can be crippling for many people and can hold us back if we don’t know how to fully use it in our careers and lives.
Rejection can cause you to lose confidence in yourself or become discouraged when trying to tackle a big problem, pursue a new career opportunity or simply navigate your day to day life. The pain of rejection can last for many years and impact every area of your life from work, relationships to parenting.
Here are 5 Tips On How To Overcome Rejection In Your Career or Life
1) Have a Clear Vision and Purpose
When you know your vision, it becomes a guiding force that can help you face any obstacle or setback you may experience. The sting of rejection can linger when you don’t have clear vision and purpose in your career and life because it can leave you feeling even more lost and confused about your path.
When you have clear vision, rejection becomes a stop sign. You just stop, look both ways and keep going once you’re clear to move forward. You know that you’re headed in the right direction no matter what’s happening in your career or life.
You can learn more about how to create your Vision in my post, “One
Essential Thing that Can Change Your Life.”
2) Don’t Take It Personal
Sometimes rejection from others is intentional and other times, it’s not. Learn not to take rejection personally either way. It’s not you that’s being rejected.
Rejection can hurt even more if you’re a people-pleaser and have a deep need to be liked by other people.
I’ve seen so many people, including myself, try to fit in to be accepted at work or in our personal lives. You end up losing yourself in the process of trying to please everyone else at work or in your life.
Learn to see what rejection is trying to teach you about yourself. For example, there was a time earlier in my career where I felt I’d earned a manager level role. I had worked hard, stayed late and went above and beyond what was asked to demonstrate my commitment to the team and getting results.
But, I was passed over for promotion.
This stung and made me realize that it wasn’t about me. No matter the reasons behind the decision, it didn’t help to take it personal. It was simply business and I had to accept the decision and move on. I had to “focus forward.”
I also learned a crucial lesson that titles aren’t everything, and it humbled me. After looking back, that unopened door was the opening to another door that I never would’ve noticed if I’d received the promotion during that time.
Don’t take rejection personal. Learn what you need and let the dust roll off your shoulders.
3) Know Your Strengths and Struggles
Many people are told to focus on improving their weaknesses, but does this truly help?
Yes, you should always strive to improve and stretch in areas to grow and learn.
But, overly focusing on your weaknesses or “struggles” can hold you back because it’s a painful reminder of rejection from a boss, colleague, spouse, or parent for one reason or another.
On the other hand, not acknowledging your struggles and only focusing on strengths can create blind spots in your career or life that keep you from advancing to the next level.
You need to know your strengths and struggles and most importantly, be honest about them. Don’t be afraid to share what you’re great at out of fear that you may appear arrogant. You have gifts and talents to offer this world and shouldn’t dim your light for anyone.
However, true confidence comes from a balance of not only knowing what you do well, but being open about the areas you struggle in and how you manage them alongside your strengths.
4) Stop Comparing Yourself
Comparison can be a trap that never ends and can cause countless hours of stress at work and at home.
At work, we compare our achievements to others or if we’re on the fast track for advancement compared to our peers.
We compare our “status” and call ourselves leaders (or non-leaders) based on the type of title we’re given in a certain position.
At home, we compare everything from our homes, cars and even spouses or lack thereof.
Well, I dare you to stop comparing and start living in 2020 and beyond.
There’s never been another you, so enjoy the “you” that’s been given. The worst form of rejection is rejecting yourself.
For example, you can be a leader even if you don’t have a typical leadership “title.” Leadership is about influencing and inspiring action through others. You can do this no matter your role or title.
Comparison takes the joy out of our lives and out of any accomplishment because it’s never “good enough.”
We begin to feel unsatisfied and this creates a never-ending cycle of regret.
Gratitude for each season of our life and each stage in our career can help us stop the comparison frenzy.
5) Let It Fuel You
I love rejection. You should, too! Rejection when I’ve felt undervalued or underestimated has fueled me throughout my career and life.
This idea of loving rejection may sound a little crazy, but I heard Tom Bilyeu at a conference in San Diego last year and he said, “a chip placed firmly on your shoulders can sustain you in your darkest times.”
The key is not letting that “chip on your shoulder” weigh you down and and make you bitter.
Don’t let it hold you back. Prove to yourself that you can do something by “finding a path to yes.”
Think about it this way. If you’re a working mom and you want to build a career while also being a great mom, you may feel like there’s “no way” your company would ever support flexibility. Your path to “Yes” may be finding a company that supports flexibility or making the case for flexibility in your current role.
Let the “chip on your shoulder” drive you to finding a way to make things happen in your career and life even when the odds are not in your favor.
Rejection is a natural part of life and we all face rejection at some time or another. I heard someone say that “rejection is God’s protection.” Well, I’ll say “Amen” to that.
You’re the exception, not the rejection. Rejection is not the end. Let it be the beginning of you finding your way to yes and minimizing the pain of rejection by letting these 5 steps guide you.
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