One of the most essential keys to dealing with rejection, is to resist the temptation to reject yourself. Just because someone else turns you down, or ignores your idea, doesn’t mean that you should dismiss yourself as a great thinker. Its easy to say "just keep going," and "don’t give up on your dreams" (which, by the way, is totally true,) but what most people don’t talk about is dealing with the growing sense of inner rejection.
You begin to doubt yourself. You start feeling frustrated and pissed off that you’re not making progress. You start to actually believe that the person that turned you down was right. Maybe your idea was lame. Maybe you didn't think it through. Maybe you're not as skilled as everyone else. You start to convince yourself that you’re never going to find the right girl or guy.
All of these thoughts snowball and begin to take over your thinking, and eventually, you start living an ordinary exsistance, having never taken a chance on yourself. This is so dangerous. So how do fight that little voice of doubt?
Well, start by acknowledging that you are experiencing doubt, and then let it go. Let it go by focusing on the positive. Now of course, this is easier said than done. So let's break this down into a few tips that'll help you handle that nasty thing called... inner rejection.
Manage your expectations. Don’t make goals of “finding the one,” or “landing the job.” (That might be your long term goal, but for the initial date or job interview, set smaller goals.) I like to look at every opportunity as a small stepping stone. At a big job interview, I don’t plan on nailing it and getting the job. I focus on making a personal connection with someone in the room, or relating to the person interviewing me. These are more immediate, achievable goals. I want to show them that I’m a real person, and I’m really happy to be there with them. Nailing the interview and getting the job is a by-product of your smaller, more achievable actions.
Something simple I like to do when I'm in someone's office, is to point out something on their desk, and ask a question. Maybe its a picture of their family vacation. I'll ask, "Oh, is that your family?" or "Where was that taken?" This will spark a conversation about something more than just the job. The key is to be sincere. Show a a true interest in the other person.
Now when I suggest that you manage your expectations, what I mean is don’t set the bar so high. Don’t start planning what you’ll do with the giant raise you could portentiatly have. Do start by making a personal connection with your boss. Don’t start planning your life you with the girl of your dreams. Do start by asking honest and sincere questions about the other person.
Open your eyes to more opportunities. We have all heard “When one door closes, another one opens.” This is true. Just because you get rejected, doesn’t mean you are done for. Its' easy to give in to that feeling, but instead, I really recommend staying open to other possibilities. Your supervisior might hate your current idea, but his criticism might spark new ideas. You might not be the right fit for the show you auditioned for, but you could be perfect for another show they’re casting. You never know. Plus the conversations that begin with a NO, most likely will end with some time of acknowledgement. Ideally, every time you hear the word NO, you are able to walk away with a new lesson learned, so that next time you can come back bigger, better, and stronger.
An easy trick to keep yourself open to opportunities when proposing a new idea, is to ask an open ended question.
Instead of asking, "Can I have a promotion?" try something like, "I really feel that I am ready to take on more at work. I was just wondering what the best way is to be considered for a promotion..."
Not only did you just clue them into the fact that you are hoping to get a promotion, but you also prompted them to give a more specific answer than just yes or no.
Here's another one.
Instead of asking, "Do you want to go out sometime?" Try something like, "How do you feel about going out for a coffee sometime?"
You're giving the other person something specific to think about- how do I feel about coffee, with you...
Just to be clear, you may still get a No, but you've given the other person a better chance to explain themselves. Then you can at least walk a way with a lesson learned.
Here's my favorite tip when it comes to that ugly feeling of rejection.
Celebrate your losses. Its easy to get down on yourself after you get a big fat NO thrown in your face, but instead of coming home and venting about that big fat NO, why not celebrate the fact that you had the courage to take a risk in the first place?
You should absolutely be proud of your courageousness when it comes to taking risks for something you believe in! Celebrate yourself. Treat yourself! Here’s a fun game, make a post-risk ritual.
After any big interview, write a thank-you note to the interviewer. Really point out a positive experience you had with them. Maybe they made you feel super comfortable. Maybe you enjoyed the conversation about your dogs.
After you ask the girl out- yes or no- treat yourself to your favorite piece of candy. After the big game- win or lose- reward yourself with massage! Why not, right?
You deserve to be acknowledged.
Remember, to every one YES there are ninety-nine NO’s. Inner rejection will find its way to you. Focus on using these tips to halt inner rejection in its tracks and preventing it from creeping into your thoughts. Most importantly, don’t stop taking risks, don’t stop pushing and striving because you never know what is waiting for you around the corner.
Tell me some of your favorite ways to handle inner rejection. And let me know what technique worked for you best!