6 tips on handling rejection

Mar 28, 2023

Have you ever been rejected? I have, too many times.

When I left my corporate job to start my own business in the early 2000s, I had to wear many different hats to make my business successful. I was the visionary, goal setter and planner; I was in charge of marketing, responsible for every sale, as well as being a problem solver every day. Being an introvert, sales was especially challenging to me. I made a lot of mistakes resulting in many customer rejections. The rejection not only was a huge setback for me as an entrepreneur, it also made me feel like a failure combined with feeling anxious, desperate and sometimes even angry at myself for leaving the comfy corporate job which I was very good at.

How do you feel when you are rejected? On this post, I’d like to share a few tips to help you turn rejection into a strong motivator for a stronger and more confident you.

How to handle rejection

The word rejection comes from the Latin word, reiectionem, which means “act of throwing off or away; refusal to accept or grant.” When not handled properly, rejection may cause you to retreat from moving toward a goal, take away your confidence, or make you all together quit or give up from something meaningful and important.

Here are my 6 tips to help you handle rejection.

1. Rejection is… inevitable

You don’t prefer it, but rejection simply is a part of life. Acknowledging this truth will help you to not get caught by surprise when rejection comes, because it will come. The sooner you accept this fact, the better you are able to face rejection in a healthier manner and not let it take away what’s important at hand.

2. Allow time and space to process your emotions

Even when we accept this reality, it doesn’t mean rejection won’t hurt. Allow yourself to accept and properly process the emotions caused by rejection. When times are rough, give yourself some self-care and the needed compassion to process or express your feelings; coloring, journaling, running or simply sipping on a cup of hot tea are just some ideas to start with. Read more about “managing your emotions.”

3. Avoid a victim mindset

While you are processing your emotions after rejection, be mindful not to excessively indulge in negative emotions. Ruminating or blaming yourself and others excessively may lead you into a victim mindset, which makes you feel out of control and power and eventually prevents you from taking smart action and well-calculated risks for your future.

4. Evaluate where the rejection comes from and learn from it

As painful as it sounds, rejection can also be opportunities for growth and discovery. After taking care of your emotions, allow yourself to evaluate and understand what may have caused the rejection calmly and logically. Could you objectively miss some key skills for that dream job? Should you have invested more time to prepare for the interview?  Or perhaps there were things that could’ve been done to prevent you from such rejection? Without such process of evaluation, you may lose out great opportunities to make improvements for the future.

5. Refocus and restart

All successful people experience rejection or even ridicule for the world to see; Steve Jobs, for example, once got fired from his own company. When he gave the commencement speech at the 2005 Stanford University graduation, he said: “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me…” Never let rejection stop you, but learn from it, look forward, shift your focus, find courage and keep going again.

6. Seek support

Seek support from those who care about you and whom you can trust. Whether it’s for you to vent, get feedback, bounce ideas with or solicit solutions, having a good support system not only understands and supports your emotional needs, it also comforts and encourages you forward without judgment.

Did I feel like giving up my business venture and going back to that corporate job when I first became a business entrepreneur? Absolutely! Going back sure sounded straightforward and easy; however, I had dreams of my own which I knew a corporate job could have never given me, and I simply couldn’t give up without giving everything I could. I ended up investing more money on myself by hiring a business coach to help strengthen my mental resilience as well as build the business one task at a time.

One thing my business coach (Tim, thank you Tim!) taught me which has stuck with me ever since was:

Each rejection leads you one step closer to your success. So, focus on your future success, because you are getting closer each time and your success could be just one rejection away.”

Am I able to avoid rejection? Absolutely not. But I don’t take it personally. Instead, I evaluate each situation, improve myself when see fit, I give myself a pat on the back, re-strategize with my support system and move onward again and again. I have a lot of people to be thankful for, because as tempting as it was, I had never gone back to the corporate world.

My friends, perhaps you recently were rejected during a series of job interviews, maybe someone said no to you in a relationship, or your customers are giving you a hard time for your business. Whatever that is, I hope you’ve found encouragement and allow yourself to process the rejection so you can go at it again with total focus and enthusiasm. Stay focused and charge onward in life.

About Faye Weng

Your Online Life and Career Coach

Faye Weng is an expert life and career coach who works with clients to take back control of their lives by rediscovering their passions, living/working with a clear purpose, and becoming people who can positively impact the communities around them. As your life and career coach, Faye will help you minimize noises and distractions, focus your effort and attention on the right things, execute a clear plan of action, and celebrate alongside of you when each milestone is reached. Click here to book a complimentary session.