I’ve been getting rejected most of my life. It peaked in middle school and continues to be part of my life as a father, husband, and professional. I’m proud of my ability to face and tolerate rejection. It enables me to go after what I want. I don’t like getting rejected, but I know it’s part of the process. I understand that I’m good enough and worthy of what I want. It doesn’t mean I’m entitled or guaranteed to get what I want. It only means that I give myself permission to dream big and go after it.
Rejection is hard for most people. The brain processes rejection the same way it processes physical pain. It can hurt – a lot. I can tolerate the pain. It takes training. To help guide you through the process, I’ve put together 5 steps you can follow. Practice this process and you will build the physical and emotional tolerance and grit to go after what you want and never let rejection keep you from moving forward:
Step 1: Rejection is as normal and natural as breathing. The Universal Rejection Truth says that not everyone and everything will always respond the way we want. Lots of people will respond the way you want, many will not. No matter how much or how little we have, no matter how we look, and no matter where we come from, this law of nature says that we will not always get the results we desire. Embracing this law of nature and recognizing it makes it far less dangerous and damaging. My job is to figure out why I’m not getting what I want. This can be painful for people who do not have the emotional strength, fortitude, and knowledge of this law of nature.
Step 2: Explore if you are the problem. You might be the reason that you’re not getting what you want. And that’s OK. Answer this question without shame or embarrassment. Rejection is choosing one good thing over another good thing. You have to believe that you are a good thing or this question will be too hard to ask. If someone doesn’t want what you are offering this should make you curious. The information will inform you. You might be able to change the outcome or you won’t. But you will learn how to move forward.
Rule 3: Explore if someone or something else the problem. You might discover the reason behind the rejection will have nothing to do with you. There are endless reasons why someone or something will not respond the way you want. There could be an existing relationship, personal challenges, or obstacles that you can’t even imagine. When you ask this question without requiring one answer or another you can be present and connected. The information will help you know if the circumstance will change in the future or not. And this will help you know if you should continue taking the same risk or change direction.
Step 4: Decide if you can change the outcome. If the problem is you, can you change the outcome without compromising your character or integrity? If the problem is something else, what outside forces may change the circumstances so you can get the results you desire? Sometimes you will encounter Raw Rejection. This is a form of rejection that can’t be changed. No matter what you say or do, you will not get the results you desire. When you recognize the Universal Rejection Truth, you can face Raw Rejection without shame or judgement. If I can’t change the outcome, I can spend my time on other risks.
Step 5: Take the same risk or take another one. When you go through this process you will learn if you should continue down the same path or change directions. As strong willed, worthy, and deserving as you might be, there can be obstacles that can’t be moved in your lifetime. When this happens, turn to people who have faced similar obstacles and learn how they were able to find other paths to achieve their goals.
Rejection is painful to those who are untrained and unfamiliar with the process. Rejection isn’t something you need to avoid; it’s something to embrace. The more you face rejection the better you will become at dreaming, believing, and creating magic in your life and the lives of others.
- Harlan Cohen, author of Win or Learn