Quality Magazine

Jim's Gems: Dealing With Rejection - Part 2

May 27, 2014

Most of us link rejection to failure and consider it something to avoid. However, rejection is just as important to our lives as approval and acceptance. Rejection drives a healthy system of competitiveness and supports a high standard of quality in our personal and professional lives.

The key is how we deal with rejection. How good we are at handling rejection has a direct relationship to our emotional well-being, as well as negative or positive outcomes to every situation.

One of the most powerful words in any language is "No." Most adults can't handle hearing it, and as a result, they limit themselves in just about every way.

Consider the following illustrations. How many times have you wanted to talk to someone, but decided not to do it because they might not respond positively? How many jobs have you not tried for because you were afraid they wouldn't hire you? How many opportunities have you missed because you resisted "stepping up," because you thought you might fail?

These are examples of self-created limits stemming from fear of rejection. The fear of that one word, “No," stands in the way of our growth and ultimate potential to achieve personal and professional goals.

The reality of life is that rejection will form a part of it. There will be occasions when your ideas won’t be accepted or your job application will be turned down, but don’t let the fear of rejection define your life.

There will be no real success without rejection. Ask any successful person how many times they failed, how many times someone said, "No" to them, and how many times they kept right on going.

The truth is that the more rejection you encounter, the stronger you become. If you are truly on the road to success, you look at setbacks as temporary and you bounce back every time you take a hit to try again. You become powerfully resilient.

Rejection offers us an opportunity to learn from our experiences. It permits us to look within and to ask ourselves, “What can I learn from this?" You will move further forward if you can resist telling yourself it's time to quit.

At one point in my professional career, I was managing an employee involvement and suggestion program. To stimulate ‘out of box’ thinking, which was one of the goals of the program, employees were encouraged to not worry about rejection of their ideas. They were told to increase their chances for success by increasing their failure rate.

A strange request, but it had positive results. In fact, ‘wild’ ideas were celebrated. Getting over their fears resulted in a rewarding experience for all.