Rejection, a new way to experience it

When was the last time you experienced rejection? Was it following a job application? Perhaps you put forward a brilliant idea that was ignored or discounted by someone else on your team?

Rejection feels dreadful and most people will do whatever they can to avoid it. We can look at it on the flip side, however, and recognise that rejection can also be the start of something new and exciting.

How does rejection feel for you?

As humans, we are programmed to avoid rejection at all costs. Rejection from the tribe meant almost certain death to our distant ancestors. We have evolved to avoid rejection as a very natural survival mechanism but in the modern world, this impulse can be counterproductive. If we fight these instincts we can build something positive out of these emotions. 

When we fear public speaking, we fear rejection. When we don’t make a sales call, it’s because we are afraid the answer will be ‘no’. Rejection is a problem when it starts to dictate the way we operate our businesses. 

A simple mindset change will dramatically shift the way you feel about rejection. Instead of worrying about what the worst outcome might be, consider that there might be many positive outcomes from an interaction. 

What could be worse than rejection?

Our fear of rejection can sometimes lead us down a dark path. We want the world to see us as friendly, kind people so sometimes we lie and deceive people to hide rejection. 

Lies, deceit, and dishonesty can wear away the integrity of your business. Rejection can hurt, but it can move us forward. Uncertainty, on the other hand, leads nowhere.

Sometimes you’ve got to rip off the bandaid to help better serve your customers, grow your business, and motivate your staff. 

How to handle rejection? 

When you have to answer the question of employing someone, buying their product, or trying their new ideas, there are only three possible responses:

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Maybe later

By being honest about your intentions early, everyone can move on. The first two options are fairly clear. Use option three only if you mean it. In that case, give the other person a set date when you will be ready to provide a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.

Don’t keep them guessing! Not knowing can be worse than ‘no’. 

What do you think?

Do you agree we could all be more happy and productive if we were a little more honest with each other? Next time someone tries to sell you an idea, product, or service, will you be able to override your fear of getting turned down and give them an honest answer?

As published in Nepean News & Western News:

Nepean News article on rejection

Feature image by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

About Susan Rochester

Susan Rochester has been managing director of Balance at Work since 2006. Susan has a natural tendency to balance analytical thinking with an optimistic outlook to set direction and solve problems. She is an effective facilitator and constantly creates new and more effective ways of doing things, motivated by helping others to achieve their goals.

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