It’s the third week of January and already the windows of new opportunity are opening up. In my case, a door had to be shut before a window could open up. You know where I’m headed with this one. I’m talking about the optimistic expression, “every cloud has a silver lining.” What’s the upside potential of difficult events like rejection, loss, and personal or business hardship? How can we contain the emotional and psychological impact of rejection so it doesn’t prevent us from reaching our goals and fulfilling our full potential?
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
– Alexander Graham Bell
No shame. No silence.
The natural inclination is to keep our failures to ourselves. Telling other people about rejections that you’ve encountered might lead them to thinking you are weak or a loser. Or perhaps you don’t want people to feel sorry for you. So you suck it up, and suffer in silence. After all, no one wants to go to someone else’s pity party. Crying is for babies, etc. Well, I disagree with this stinking thinking. I like to take a different approach.
As part of my resiliency, I would like to share my latest rejection with you, my valued readers. This week, one of my largest and most cherished clients told me that they wouldn’t be needing my services this year. While I was very disappointed, I was grateful to the client for taking the time to call me and personally explain their decision. This act of personalized communication demonstrated how much they respected me and my work. It also showed their high level of integrity and professionalism. After all, they could have just emailed me the bad news, or worse, announced it on Twitter (“You’re fired.”). We had a very good conversation, sharing balanced feedback, and leaving the door open for future work together in 2020 or beyond.
But the reality is that this loss will have an immediate impact on the financial health of my business in 2019. The emotional impact was immediate, too. After I hung up the phone, I walked around and breathed. Then I put my head down and cried, no wailed, for three minutes straight. Fortunately, no one was around except for my dog Sofiya, who was tremendously supportive with her unconditional love. She didn’t say a thing, she just listened, cuddled, and was fully present with me. After this intensive emotional release, I dusted myself off. I could now begin to think clearly. What did I need to do next? How can I grieve this loss, learn from it, refocus and move on?
Visualize Your Goals
“As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.”
– Steve Maraboli
The same afternoon that I received this difficult phone call, I attended a workshop at my local library called Build Your New Year Vision Board. This was one of the suggested activities that I included in the blog I wrote two weeks ago, called What’s Your Power Word for the Year?
The workshop was a very cathartic experience for me. It was the perfect activity to do in the aftermath of receiving bad news. I met new people, heard about their life’s challenges, dreams, goals and ambitions. Through our vision boards, we shared our stories – the story that we wanted to create for our lives in 2019 and beyond.
I created two vision boards – one for my personal life and one for my business. I have displayed them in my home office in front of my desk where I can see them every day. I particularly like the cut out I found in a magazine that says, “Is it too much TO ASK?” It reminds me that it’s okay to ask for what you want and need. It also reflects my sassy and bold personality. I make no apologies for this. This is part of my brilliance.
Letting Go: The First Step Towards Moving On
“We can see a “no” as part of the journey to getting a “yes” from even a better source. Rejection, then, becomes a good indicator for the number of risks we take in life. We build our rejection muscles, and in turn, rejection rewards us by making us more enlivened, engaged and resilient.”
– Ari Honarvar
The other things that I am doing to help me get past this latest rejection are meditation and yoga. I find that these two activities do wonders to clear my mind and reduce stress. By focusing on my breath and my body, I become calmer, stiller, and more peaceful. I find that my anxiety and fear of rejection is lessened.
I’ve put more focus on my daily practice of gratitude, counting the many blessings that I have in my life. I’ve also reached out to close friends to share the news and get their perspective. I realize that I am not the only person who has faced rejection. It’s really a common experience. We have all faced it at one time or another. In fact, learning to deal with rejection builds our resiliency and makes us stronger.
Lastly, I began to do a series of small, positive activities to rebuild my business. This week I mailed out 30 autographed copies of my new book, Defining YOU, to existing and inactive clients and new prospects. I felt better with each signature, each personal letter, each mailing letter, each padded envelop I sealed. Planting seeds of new opportunity and connection is essential to building up one’s rejection resilience.
You are the Author of Your Own Story
Best-selling Australian author Ben Angle shares comforting insight into how to overcome the fear of rejection. At the end of this six-minute video, produced by Success Magazine, Ben says, “You are the author of your own story. Rejection only carries the weight that you give it, nothing more and nothing less. What you write will define what you do, but more importantly it will define whether or not you can be present right here in this moment, when it really counts.”
What Matters is What You Do Next
I have said many times that “If you haven’t been fired or laid off at least once in your career, you haven’t really lived.” That’s just the nature of the “At Will” employment relationship. And if you run your own business, that’s the nature of the free market.
Rejections will continue to come and go. That’s business. That’s life. That’s reality. They say don’t take it personally. But when it happens to you, as it just happened to me, it hurts. It feels intensely personal.
What really matters though, what really shows what you are made of, is what you do next. You decide what it means. You control your own reaction. You get to write the narrative.
I encourage you to reframe the meaning of rejection in your life. Rejection is not a dead end. It does not stop your journey. Rejection simply challenges you to find another path towards your dreams and goals.
More Resources for Resiliency
While preparing this blog post, I found a few other helpful articles. Of course the topic of rejection and resilience is covered by many authors, books, blogs, and research organizations. Please share the resources that you have found most useful. Here’s a link to the different ways to contact me.
- Read an inspiring personal story from Ari Honarvar who is the founder of Rumi With A View, dedicated to building music and poetry bridges across war-torn borders. In this article she shares practical ways to alleviate the pain of rejection and even use it as an ally in practicing well-being – https://www.success.com/3-practical-ways-to-use-rejection-to-build-resilience/
- Tips for Dealing with Rejection by author Mandy Kloppers – https://www.mentalhelp.net/blogs/rejection-and-how-to-deal-with-it/