Advertising
Advertising

Published on February 20, 2019

How to Deal with Rejection at Work: 9 Powerful Tactics

How to Deal with Rejection at Work: 9 Powerful Tactics

When it comes to dealing with rejection at work, I think the number one thing I’ve learned is that you can’t dwell on it too much. You especially can’t dwell on things that in the grand scheme of things are small. Hindsight truly is 20/20.

So how to deal with rejection at work?

The first thing to consider is to think about the ways you have dealt with past rejections. Think about those times that you were turned down. Really think about the about these past times of getting turned down, how they transpired after those rejections. How do you feel now? I hope your rejections have lead you to some positive long-term outcomes. I’ll go into that later.

Think about how you eventually got over or adjusted to the pain of past experiences.

How do I know the powerful tactics of dealing with rejection at work?

Two things.

As a business owner, I have the opportunity to both reject people and be rejected.

I’ve been through a lot of rejections myself when starting my business. For my business, I’ve also made an effort to really listen to and respect the opinions of my team. Rejection sure feels a lot better when there is mutual respect. Sometimes, I have to reject my team’s ideas.

I will say this: I’ve always been in business for myself and therefore haven’t lived the life of corporate politics. But I’ve heard plenty of stories. It’s a hotbed for rejection fears.

Rejection can be really mean. It can feel like it’s everywhere in your life. But it doesn’t have to be. It should be constructive. It’s hard to overcome the pain when it hits you. But pain does make it better. Rejection is something that you can strengthen yourself for.

I’d love to take you through some of the powerful tactics I’ve learned when it comes to dealing with rejection.

1. Embrace pain, use it as a tool to become stronger and learn

Knowledge is power. I’ve learned something negative about myself during some rejections, and I’ve felt the pain of each rejection. But honestly, I’ve found of the best way to deal with rejection is to just simply feel the pain, calm down a bit, and figure out how to move on.

Make sure you find out why you’ve been rejected. Sometimes it’s you, sometimes it’s them. Accept the reason, but make sure that reason is on the basis of truth.

2. Show off your strength and openness to people

People respond well to signs of strength. It’s a remnant of our evolutionary past as human beings.

Advertising

There’s a little story that like to tell about my summer of 2009. This was an important bout of training for me when working with rejection rather than being afraid of it. It was also when I became an accidental entrepreneur…

In summer of 2009, I was sixteen-years-old and I had gotten the idea that I should sell website design services to local businesses. I felt like I had something to prove. And I was determined. I had what was a novel idea at the time but no idea how to sell it. But I had an absurd amount of determination, and that fueled me.

Every morning, I would leave my house at 9:00 AM (the time most local businesses opened up) and visit each individual shopping center. I didn’t have a car, so I walked door-to-door to pitch my website design services to these businesses. It was a lot of effort to get around on foot.

Imagine a sweaty sixteen-year-old who has no idea how to appropriately dress, walking door to door and asking to speak to the person in charge. Meanwhile, I was drenched in sweat because I was walking outside all day. It was an awkward situation every time. I was rejected by many, many local business owners.

But I didn’t care! Well, scratch that, I did care. BUT…

I was learning a lot and I always felt like I was getting closer to the right thing to do. I began picking up subtle cues from the business owners I spoke to. I started to identify what they wanted to hear, and what they didn’t. I also started figuring out what type of clothing I should wear to make people want to listen to me — just by changing my attire alone, I had fewer owners pointing at their “do not solicit” signs.

I didn’t fear rejection here because I knew, deep down, that I was going to find my first customer. The rejections kept happening, but I didn’t take them personally. This was because I knew I was doing something wrong, and there was a fun in figuring it out.

I knew that for every “no” I was hearing, I was getting closer to that first yes. Each rejection made me better at my approach. It was only because of the rejections that I had gotten better at describing what I believed in.

3. Reprogram your mornings

How you start your morning does have a genuine effect on how powerful you feel for the rest of the day. I feel the drive to always reprogram myself if I can. Mornings are important for me because it gives my brain a chance to be at its prime for the rest of the day.

I have programmed myself to have better mornings in general:

No matter if I am at home, staying in a hotel, or even at my father’s house, I make sure that my ideal morning ritual gets done. Immediately upon waking up, before my brain begins racing. Most of the time it’s racing with the day’s activities. But sometimes dealing with rejections myself.

But before I dwell, I immediately jump into the shower. I refuse to look at my phone because the notifications are going to suck me in. Nope, then I’ll blow the most valuable hour of the day.

Getting into the shower is an easy way I can enforce that policy. This is my time, and being in the shower is perhaps one of the only times in a day that I am truly alone. No emails, no phone calls, text messages, notifications, distractions, no other people. Just me and my thoughts.

I can contemplate my previous day’s rejections with a more clear head.

Advertising

You can also try to build a morning routine for yourself:

The Ultimate Morning Routine to Make You Happy And Productive All Day

4. Give your ego a little rest

People think a lot. We’re trapped in our egos, whether it’s positive or negative. We think about all of the different scenarios, and painfully focus on the most recent rejection.

The tactic that I had used for dealing with rejection is that I let go of my ego. I can do this sometimes. It’s hard to let go of your ego.

We tend to use the word “ego” loosely to describe people that are selfish, or in it for themselves alone. I learned that I had created my own ego unconsciously to act as a barrier to insulate myself from the rest of the world.

It is an unconscious defense mechanism many ambitious, driven individuals are probably prone to. It’s certainly easier to propel yourself forward in the face of major setbacks when nothing is ever your own fault. But in doing so, you are living in “duality”. When living in duality, you are separating yourself from the reality of others and the world around me.

Living in duality creates a lot of pain for ourselves and those around us. When I had a negative, it meant filtering my entire life through a lens of judgment. Things were “right or wrong,” “good or bad,” “pretty or ugly.” But these binary judgments only served to close me off to others.

It’s exhausting, and when I can give myself a break from that and just live in the moment I feel a lot more energetic and just… good.

5. Know that embracing the unexpected can come with pain and triumph

There are people who are very career-focused. They want to pursue a path and they are going to do anything they can to get to it.

A driven-nature can be great, especially if you are working in a field that you’re in love with. But this commitment to a linear life makes rejection even more negative and consequential.

I’ve looked back on my life and have found many unexpected turns. I’m grateful for the rejections that ultimately led me to better decisions.

Ultimately, you’re better off with yourself if you embrace the unpredictable nature of life. You are more malleable yet in control of yourself than you think. The consistent feeling that you are in control and not in control at the same time is liberating.

Direction can be overrated. It’s absolutely a compass for me now, but there was absolutely a time in my life where I just explored a bunch of different options for myself. I had hobbies, which led to passions.

Just start giving new things a try! Play an instrument, make some art. Rejection will sting less when you have more things to care about yourself.

Advertising

It might sound silly, but I recommend trying to contact your inner-child. I think about myself as a kid, with a voracious desire to try new things without worrying about rejection.

6. Remember that everyone’s got an opinion

And you have your opinions too. Someone rejecting you is just them giving you their opinion. One person’s negative thoughts may be another’s positive ones.

Everyone has their own tastes. So if you have ideas that you want to share that are getting rejected by one, don’t be afraid to tell others. You may even get great feedback. You may also get a new backer.

Don’t be afraid to get feedback, you can learn from this feedback:

How to Learn Twice as Fast? Get More Feedback

7. Think about how you spend your time — what’s the purpose?

Every moment of my life feels like it has a purpose.

That doesn’t mean that every purposeful moment of my life is to fulfill some grand mission either. Sometimes the purpose of doing something is just to make myself happy. And there’s no way I should feel guilty about it.

What do you do with your time? Write it all out. And then write the purpose next to each item. It’ll give you a good sense of what you are really doing with your time.

When you are conscious about every moment you spend, you’ll live a more balanced life. Take a look at this guide to learn more:

The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

8. People move at different wavelengths

I know some people who really fret if they aren’t getting a response from someone.

That feeling of not getting that reply email can really eat away at your soul. And it likely doesn’t matter a lick to the person on the receiving end! Or it does, and they’re just very busy. Maybe they forgot to respond.

Dealing with rejection at work is about adapting to people’s different wavelengths, knowing that you can control them, and just focus on being happy.

9. Adapt the growth mindset

Around thirty years ago, renowned psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck and her team became interested in students’ attitudes about failure. They noticed that some students rebounded, while others seemed devastated by even the smallest setbacks. You can read more about this research in her 2006 book, Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success.

Advertising

From their study, Dr. Dweck and her team could place people into two categories:

Those who have a “fixed” theory of intelligence (fixed mindset). Fixed mindset people tend to think that whatever abilities they have will go unchanged no matter what they do. There’s no room for self-improvement or new ideas with this mindset.

Those who believe that they are control of their success through learning and hard work. In other words they were open to “growth” opportunities in intelligence (growth mindset). There are countless opportunities to grow and learn. The best of entrepreneurs exhibit the growth mindset.

The interesting part was that Dr. Dweck’s students weren’t necessarily aware of their proclivities towards a growth or fixed mindset. However, she and her team discerned from behaviors such as fearing failure that some people leaned towards fixed mindsets, while the growth-minded individuals viewed failure as a learning experience. Those growth-minded knew they could pick themselves up and apply what they learned to the next endeavor.

I believe that this is the key. You see, if you’re fixed on certain things all of the time, that’s where your life’s emphasis is going to be.

You’re always going to feel stuck in the mud if you’re fixed on your previous failures.

But there’s no time like the present.

In the end, really think about what makes you happy and just do it. Life is too short to dwell on things that don’t really matter!

The Bottom Line

Once you’ve gotten over dealing with rejection, you’ll be an unstoppable machine of a person compared to most of your coworkers.

Don’t forget: Most other people fear rejection too. You’ll have a tremendous advantage.

So start to adapt the tips above and rejection will be in your control.

More Resources About Workplace Communication

Featured photo credit: Kai Pilger via unsplash.com

More by this author

Joshua Davidson

CEO of ChopDawg.com, Published Author of The Entrepreneurs Framework: How Businesses Are Adapting In The New Economy

How to Deal with Rejection at Work: 9 Powerful Tactics

Trending in Social Animal

1 Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional? 2 How to Tell the Social Anxiety Symptoms from Signs of Introversion  3 How to Surround Yourself With Positive People 4 How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home 5 14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on November 11, 2019

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.

You know how this looks:

  • Parents constantly comparing children.
  • Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Adultery…
  • And many others.

For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.

Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.

Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.

In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.

If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.

How to fix a dysfunctional family

In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.

And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.

Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?

It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.

Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.

Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.

There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…

Dysfunctional… Or just average?

Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.

The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.

You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…

A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.

Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.

Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Lack of interest and time spent together
  • Sexism
  • Utilitarianism
  • Lack of empathy
  • Unequal or unfair treatment
  • Disrespect towards boundaries
  • Control Issues
  • Jealousy
  • Verbal and physical abuse
  • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…

If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.

Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.

How to turn it around

When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.

But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:

One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.

We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?

Advertising

As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.

What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?

Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?

Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…

Correction is possible

In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.

Verbalize it.

All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.

Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.

This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.

But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.

So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.

Putting it to work in real life

In real life it would be something like this:

“OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”

Or:

“Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.

Or:

“Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.

As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.

This is what you have to remember:

1-Stop.

2-Why it’s wrong?

3-What you need.

And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.

It’s a family thing

A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.

Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.

In other words, you will need cooperation…

So don’t be afraid of asking for it!

Approach your family member and ask to be listened.

Advertising

We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.

You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.

It’s not a free-for-all battle

In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.

No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.

Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.

And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…

The method

1. Drop the ego

Wherever there is conflict there is ego.

You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.

Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.

What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.

It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.

After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…

Tell the other person how important all this is to you.

Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.

Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.

And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.

You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…

2. Not blame, but responsibility

When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.

But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…

When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.

What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!

Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.

As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.

You will do something like this:

“Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.

I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.

You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.

I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.

Advertising

It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”

What happened here?

We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.

We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.

We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.

And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.

You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.

This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!

3. Doing the work

What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!

This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.

Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.

If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.

It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.

“When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.

I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.

But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”

You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.

Love is all you need

You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.

That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.

And what happens if it simply is not there?

What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?

What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?

There is only one thing you can do:

To break away.

Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.

There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:

“We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”

If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…

Advertising

Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.

You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.

Putting distance

So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.

What do I mean?

Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.

Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.

Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.

Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.

They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.

Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:

I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…

I choose my peace of mind.

And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…

Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.

Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.

How to prevent it

There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:

  • To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
  • To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)

Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.

You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.

Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.

Priorities and clear thought

You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.

You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.

You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.

Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…

If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.

And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.

Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.

But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.

Featured photo credit: Xavier Mouton Photographie via unsplash.com

Read Next