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How to Handle and Overcome Your Fear of Rejection

How do you handle rejection? Have you noticed that when you are rejected, it stops you from ever trying again, or do you bounce back, stronger and more determined than before? Rejection hurts, and everyone will feel it many times in their professional lives. It can be hard not to take it personally because, after all, it is your idea and your hard work that is being dismissed by others. Studies have shown that these feelings can create surges of anger or aggression, and can even cause us to actively destroy our own self-esteem. How you deal with rejection can determine the success of your business.

Often the success of the business is not determined by how big it is or if it is the best. Many times, it is the business that was the most adaptive and innovative by taking those harsh criticisms and dismissals and using them to catapult the company into a new level. Below is a list of when you can embrace rejection and practice strategies to handle and overcome it.



1. Realize That Rejection is Inevitable

When you are working for a client, you have to remember that it is impossible to please everyone. Sometimes, you will work to the best of your ability, and it still won’t be enough to keep a client. When that happens, it is okay to stay frustrated or even angry. It is appropriate and healthy to allow yourself to feel that way, but don’t let these feelings consume you.

To stop that from happening, try to create a rejection-processing strategy. Perhaps you can talk it out with a trusted friend or colleague who can sympathize and relate to your experiences without pointing out everything you have done wrong. Right now, you don’t need someone who can give you immediate advice or criticize your moves. You need a safe place first to deal with the rejection, especially if it is regarding something you worked extremely hard towards.

2. Accept Your Emotions

Many people state that the best response to rejection is to have thick skin, ignore the rebuff, and just to keep going. However, a study done by Northeastern University and George Mason University realized that you should be doing the exact opposite. They reasoned that the best response to rejection is to embrace those negative emotions, feel the pain and struggle that you endured, and then take a moment to analyze your feelings to learn why you think that way. Once you can predict how you can react, it will make it easier to build your own responses in the future. It can help you feel in control if you already have effective strategies to handle rejection in place. By embracing the brushoffs, you can understand your emotions and full emotional disconnect.

3. Find the Positives in the Experience

While it might not seem so at the time, rejection can be a blessing in disguise. While getting rejected by that client who didn’t like you or your product hurts, you should try to find the positive in that interaction. Would you want to work with a client who didn’t really like you? Would you want to dread talking to them on the phone every day, feeling like you aren’t good enough?

No, you don’t want a client like this. You should not have to feel this way every time you go to work. Getting rejected by this client is a good thing and helps you to grow and concentrate your efforts and energies on other clients that do appreciate you.

4. Use it as a Learning Experience

Steve Jobs was successful, there is no denying that. He had a net worth of more than 10 billion dollars by the time of his death and was the CEO of Apple, Inc., one of the most profitable companies in the world. However, Steve Jobs was rejected and fired from Apple in 1985. But, he didn’t let that stop him. Instead of allowing his fear of more rejection immobilize him, he went on to buy Pixar Animation Studios from Lucasfilm in 1986 and there, he made his first billion dollars. Now, Pixar is one of the most successful animation studios.

While Steve Jobs undoubtedly felt a sea of negative emotions after he was fired from Apple, he didn’t let that stop him. While he might have doubted himself and questioned his self-worth and competency in those initial days, he continued to persevere and kept trying new things.

When you have been rejected and can recognize and accept the emotions you are feeling, now is the time to grow from these changes. Begin to ask yourself questions. What could you do differently? What have you learned about yourself? Could I have handled any part of the situation any differently? What could I do better next time?

It is okay to feel rejected, but make sure to use those feelings to help you evolve into a new and better person professionally. By dwelling on the pain, you will stay stuck in the same position, leading you to feel more rejection. Instead, evolve and find that your business improves for the better.  

5. Redefine Rejection

When we are rejected, our first thoughts are that something is wrong with us. Startups or entrepreneurs are particularly susceptible to that feeling that they will never be good enough or successful. However, this is not accurate.

Open yourself up to a conversation about why you feel this way. Are you honestly not good enough or is that just the pain of rejection speaking? Was what you had to offer really below par or was it just not the right fit for the client?

By thinking about the positives of the rejection, you can discover the opportunities that might be awaiting you. Just like Steve Jobs, you could be on the edge of finding a new way to do business or a new idea that could turn your business into a huge success. By transforming your definition of rejection, and seeing what the positives are that can come out of it, you could find yourself discovering new possibilities.

Lindsey Conger on InstagramLindsey Conger on Twitter
Lindsey Conger
Associate News Writer: Lindsey is a writer originally from Chicago but can now be found somewhere in Europe. She is driven by a passion to explore every corner of the world, spread her marketing and business knowledge, and to be able to speak Spanish fluently. Follow her on Instagram at @lindseyaconger

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Associate News Writer: Lindsey is a writer originally from Chicago but can now be found somewhere in Europe. She is driven by a passion to explore every corner of the world, spread her marketing and business knowledge, and to be able to speak Spanish fluently. Follow her on Instagram at @lindseyaconger

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