“We regret to inform you….” The famous last words that bring a drop to your stomach. Even writing those words out brings back sordid memories of my own rejections that I have gone through in life. While I have faced many different types of rejection that have left me heartbroken, to say the least, I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for them.
From personal to business related aspirations, rejection is a part of life that we cannot avoid as much as we want to. I remember the moment that I received the devastating news that I wasn’t accepted into my first choice college. This was a blow to my self-esteem, and my heart ached like I was going through more of a breakup than just a college rejection. Needless to say, that was just the beginning of the many rejections to come my way.
Even in my own writing and career goals, I was met with a plethora of rejection letters or “you’re not the right person for this role,” follow-ups. Those situations once again left me heartbroken and questioning my own self-worth. For me, these endeavors were an extension of my identity, so when they were rejected, I took it quite personally. However, if it weren’t for facing rejection I wouldn’t have worked harder to prove to others, and most importantly to myself, that I was worth taking a chance on.
Rejection is similar to constructive criticism in that as a human you should receive a mix of both throughout life to keep you humble and grounded. As an entrepreneur, you have probably felt your fair share of rejection that can come in various forms. Maybe it’s the idea of owning your own business, or in achieving a dream that some would say is quite advantageous to pursue, that have others rejecting your ideas.
So how does one face the dreaded feeling of rejection without letting it tear down both your self-esteem and entrepreneurial goals? Here is a personal insight into some positive ways to not accept defeat, and to keep moving forward regardless of the disruption or roadblocks that come your way with rejection.
Be your own friend, not enemy
In an article entitled, “5 Ways Mentally Strong People Handle Rejection,” writer Amy Morin, highlights the different ways that people can handle rejection in all aspects of their life. One of the most compelling thoughts was to talk to yourself with compassion.
Morin says, “Whether you got dumped by your long-term love or blindsided by a recent firing, beating yourself up will only keep you down. Speak to yourself like a trusted friend. Drown out your harsh inner critic by repeating helpful mantras that will keep you mentally strong.”
Facing rejection isn’t the time to be your own worst enemy, but a good friend in need of some uplifting. If you wallow in your own self-pity, what good does that do for you and your career? Talk to yourself in the way you would to a friend in need, or if someone else was in a similar situation. You wouldn’t kick someone when they were down, so the same goes for yourself when facing rejection.
The past is the past – let it go
A wise friend once told me why dwell in the past when you can’t go back and change it? While rejection hurts, it will only hurt for as long as you let it. As they say, time heals all wounds. The same goes for when you are facing rejection in your entrepreneurial dreams.
If I were to dwell on the rejections that I faced 10 years ago, then I would have been too afraid to take any chances in life ever again. I would have stopped writing or applying to jobs that I felt were too out of my league. I am glad I didn’t let that happen.
You can’t let the ghost of the past dictate the road to your future. Rejection shouldn’t stop you in your tracks completely, but simply make you step back and reevaluate your practices or entrepreneurial goals. After all, the past can only help us in not repeating the same mistakes, not stop us completely from pursuing a business goal or dream.
Take a step back
I remember after I was rejected by so many high-profile writing outlets, that I took some time away from it. I grew from the experience by reading articles from some well-known writers and bloggers, as well as taking note of what successful authors did to become the wordsmiths that they are today.
The rejection, while painful, was exactly what I needed to reevaluate my writing abilities and make them stronger. The same can be said for your own entrepreneurial aspirations. If you have been met with rejection after rejection, then maybe it’s best to step back and look into what is causing this roadblock for you.
I even recommend taking a small break, as much as you can, from your business. This doesn’t mean to let everything fall to the sidelines or ghost prospective investors, it just means to give yourself a breather and regroup. Taking a step away from something will not only give you a clearer mindset, but also restart your creativity and boost your ambition to tackle your goals with newfound appreciation.
Learn from your experience
Learning from experience might sound like a cliché, but it’s the truth when it comes to facing rejection. Morin also mentions this piece of advice in her article as well as saying, “rather than simply tolerate the pain, turn it into an opportunity for self-growth. With each rejection, make it an opportunity to grow stronger and become better.”
You can rest assured that you are not alone in getting rejected in your entrepreneurial path. However, this is the moment that can make or break your future successes. Ask yourself, what can I gain from this experience as opposed to why do I keep getting rejected?
Treating your experience as one you can learn from, not wallow in, can really be the stepping stone you need to keep positive and move forward in your business aspirations. There is no time like the present to learn new things, and this includes embracing the fallbacks that come your way.
In the end, the best lesson that can be learned is to not only better yourself from being rejected, but to prove that you can do anything regardless of the hurdles that come your way.