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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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