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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 February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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