How to Handle Rejection in Your Career

rejection“If you live for people’s acceptance, you will die from their rejection.”

-Lecrae, Christian Rapper

Everyone has experienced rejection at some point in their life.  Whether it’s in your personal relationships or throughout your career, handling rejection can be one of the most emotional experiences you have to endure.  Depending on the career path you have chosen, rejection could be a regular part of your routine.

For those who pursue careers in the media and entertainment industries, rejection is a normal part of the process.  In fact it’s one of the things anyone who wants to get into the business must understand.  For example, if your dream is to become a top actor then you must understand the you’ll probably go on 700 auditions before you actually book your first real job.  Imagine that.  If you want to be a person on-camera reporting the news, that can also be an extremely competitive industry too.  What you look like can play as much of a role as how skilled you are in writing news and your speaking voice.

No matter what career you choose always know that being rejected for a position, should not allow you to define your self-worth by that decision.  Here are a few tips to help you handle being rejected in your career.

1. Let Go of the Initial Shock

Sometimes we didn’t see it coming.  Especially if you were so confident and assumed you ‘had it in the bag’.  What you thought was ‘yours’ has been given to someone else.  It’s like being hit in the head with something so big.

This type of shock can really do a number on your personal ego.  Your expectations were completely wrong, which is so shocking to you.  Steve Jobs, founder of Apple once said, “Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.” Try and remember you aren’t the only person who was rejected.  Whether it was for a job or entry into the school you’ve been dreaming of attending, It’s very likely many other candidates were being considered.  Remember that a company sees you as a product and they are simply choosing who they think best represents and can fulfil the expectations they have for that role.

Don’t lose hope because there is likely something much better suited for your that will be coming your way.

2. Don’t Take it Personal

Don’t allow your emotions to take control.  When that happens it’s easy to equate that rejection to your actual self-worth and value.  It’s natural to feel like something is ‘wrong’ with your ability because you weren’t chosen.  However, don’t get caught up in that.  The moment you start feeling that way recognize it and stop that thinking.  If you allow it to be personal, everything will just spiral downhill.  You have to remember that you are worthy and the decision to choose someone else over you, is not a personal one.  It doesn’t mean they didn’t like you.  It doesn’t mean you weren’t one of the top people they were considering.  It just means that for now you weren’t the person they were looking for.

Everyone goes through rejection.  Some of the most successful people have experienced rejection before they became the success they are today.

3. Learn from the Experience

Take a moment to look at the situation objectively.  What could you have done differently that would have changed the outcome?  This doesn’t mean that you’re going to be negative about yourself, but rather analysing the situation objectively.  This will help you for the next time you’re in the same situation. Life is all about learning and using everything we face as tools to become better each time we face similar scenarios.

4. Ask for Constructive Criticism

Sometimes after a job interview you can ask the person who interviewed you to give some feedback.  What skills did you lack that led to losing the job offer? Perhaps you can take a course or volunteer somewhere that you can develop the skills needed for next time.  If you were rejected entry into a University, despite meeting the minimum grades, perhaps it’s extracurricular activities that  you could have been more involved in that would have improved your chances.  Ask questions and be open to receiving whatever answers  you’re given.

5. Stay Positive

It’s so easy to become negative and start questioning your abilities.  Don’t allow yourself to get into this rut.  All it will do is hold you back.  The moment you start thinking negative thoughts, replace them with positive ones.  It’s the only way you can keep going and trying for other opportunities.  If you hang on to this one rejection, you’re setting yourself up to be stuck in the same place.

6. Move On and Forward

Dust yourself off and try again.  Staying focused on the situation will keep you stagnant.  The main goal is to learn, seek ways to improve and keep pushing ahead.  Earl G. Graves, is a successful business person and founder of Black Enterprise Magazine.  He said it best when addressing the issue of rejection,  “We keep going back, stronger, not weaker, because we will not allow rejection to beat us down. It will only strengthen our resolve. To be successful there is no other way.”

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