How to Manage the Psychological Effects of Rejection

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In life, you win some and you lose some. The same goes for work. As much as you will have successes, you will experience failures. The important thing is that you don’t let these little events define you in your career, but that they are just that, events, and that rejection is an amazing catalyst for evolution.

I’ve always been one to pile too much work on my plate, and recently I discovered that I just couldn’t handle it all. I was setting myself up for failure, and hurting my business (and personal life) in the process.

Here’s a guide on how to deal with rejection at work.

1. First of all, understand why it happens.

Rejection and criticism are a part of work life. Your manager’s job is to give you feedback so that you can do your job as effectively and as efficiently as possible, and that may come in the form of criticism. Ideally, your manager will give you the criticism in a highly professional manner that will help you to improve.

2. When the rejection first happens, excuse yourself from the situation.

Resist the urge to become angry and to lash out at work, as this could affect your reputation and even your job. If you can feel yourself getting emotional, go to a private place to gather your thoughts and to calm down.

3. Be objective about why the rejection happened.

Think through the circumstances leading up to the rejection. Could you have done anything to cause the situation? Even if you the subject of unfair treatment, remember to keep your feelings in check and act approachable, professional and friendly.

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4. Don’t let that rejection define you.

Remember that rejection doesn’t mean that you are a failure. Criticism happens to the most successful of us. After all, we’re only human! Look at Steve Jobs, who was once fired. It’s what you do with that criticism that counts. Think of rejection as an opportunity to improve and to grow as a person and as a professional in your field.

5. Ask yourself, ‘Can I improve?’

Did someone make a suggestion to you for future improvement? How can you make sure this rejection is less likely to happen again? If the suggestion came from someone you trust, consider putting it to good use. If there is a lesson to be learned, find it and use it to assess if you’re on the right path.

Don’t be afraid to get opinions from trusted advisors or mentors.

6. Dust yourself off, and try again.

Rejection often doesn’t mean the end of the line — sometimes, it’s a challenge for you to see if you can find an alternative approach to a problem, and to emerge from the other side stronger, more able, and more resourceful. Remember that all eyes are usually on a person after they receive a public rejection.

We all stumble along the way, especially while creating our own paths through the entrepreneurial world. What really matters is how you get back up on your feet and use the lessons learned along the way to improve.



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