Leadership Lesson: The Glory of Rejection

If there was one topic I would say I have the authority to discuss, it would be rejection. Throughout my journey, I’ve faced many ups and downs. At times the downs seems more than the ups, which can be overwhelming.

Rejection has historically been viewed as a form of failure. How many times have you felt that your performance was good enough only to find yourself looking for the answers to your unexpected rejection? Getting rejected is a part of life and something all leaders must accept.

Rejection is one of the most brutal stakes to the heart because it deals a direct hit to the ego. There are few experiences more painful than being rejected. Dealing with rejection can be tough. A lot of people would chose physical pain rather than being rejected. Our basic human need to belong causes these incidents to stick with us throughout the years.

Glory seems to be the farthest thing from rejection. They are flat out opposites. Little do most people know, it’s the flip side of the coin.

Often the people who you think “have it all” are people who have endured the most rejection. Not everyone who’s on top today got there with success after success. Their beginnings weren’t always smooth and they often had to face great obstacles and ridicule.

The one thing successful people have in common though is their approach to dealing with rejection. They don’t let the naysayers hinder them. They may get knocked down but they regroup and come back better and stronger. More than often they shared one characteristic in common; the commitment to their own success.

Rejection is unavoidable in a creative life. Learning how to deal with rejection will keep you from plummeting into a place of immobilizing despair.

10 Tips for dealing with Rejection

1) Have a vision and don’t let anything deter you from following it. Take Courage. Put full steam into the next best opportunity you are working on. “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

2) Keep a positive mental attitude. Stay motivated. Pick up the pieces and dust yourself off. Furthermore, don’t keep complaining about it. If you keep picking at a scab, the wound would keep bleeding and you will never heal.

Believe in yourself and there will come a day when others will have no choice but to believe with you. ~ Oscar Wilde

3) There are valuable life lessons you need to learn. These lessons would equip you for the next phase of your journey. Ask yourself “What can I learn from this?’’ Maybe it’s time to start your own business, change career…etc

4) Nothing happens before it’s time. Accept it was never meant for you at that point in time. When we get rejected we trap ourselves in a moment of doubt and distress. Don’t feel sorry for yourself and slump into an attitude of self-pity.

5) Rejection offers us a chance to evolve through and learn from our experiences. Focus on personal development (spiritual, emotional, mental, social, physical).

6) Don’t take it personally. Rejection is not a measure of your self–worth. When somebody rejects you, they are acting on their own insecurities and fears. Sometimes it’s envy that influences rejection more often then you may think.

If you want something, ask for it. Accept the risk of rejection, and summon the courage to ask for it anyway. ~Steve Pavlina

7) Avoid over thinking the rejection. Don’t torture yourself repeatedly, reliving the moments of humiliation. Don’t beat yourself up and keep replaying the circumstances surrounding same.

8) Give thanks for the bullets you dodge as a result of rejection. When you look back you will say “Thank God!” that you didn’t settle for less. There was better in store.

9) Be aware of your reaction to rejection. Life is not fair so develop thicker skin. Don’t let anyone’s opinion of you change your attitude or take away your smile. Adversity may make or break you, but it certainly reveals you.

An entire sea of water can't sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, the negativity of the world can't put you down unless you allow it to get inside you.”

10) Have Faith and Trust God to direct your steps. Things may look dismal, you may get disappointed but don't be discouraged. When one door closes,try another door. Keep trying sooner or later the right door will open and you will have matured and be better prepared to function in your new role.

5 Benefits of Rejection

1. It gets you fired up as it gives you something to prove - Harrison Ford: In his first film, Ford was told by the movie execs that he simply didn’t have what it takes to be a star. It added fire to the fuel as it gave him something to prove.

2. It makes you more creative – In 1919, Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star. According to his editor, he "lacked imagination and had no good ideas." You will find new ways to market yourself and your product.

3. It makes you work harder – Michael Jordan - "I think that not making the Varsity team drove me to really work at my game, and also taught me that if you set goals, and work hard to achieve them—the hard work can pay off."

4. It develops your character Your response to rejection shows how you respond when things don’t go my way. Are you able to let go or do you become resentful? You also will be more supportive to others facing similar struggles.

5. It builds strength Today, Abraham Lincoln is remembered as one of the greatest leaders . However, rejection followed him in much of his early life. It did however better prepare him to handle ridicule in the public eye.

My Top 10 Rejection Quotes

“As I look back on my life. I realized Every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.” ~Steve Maraboli

“Rejection is the sand in the oyster, the irritant that ultimately produces the pearl.” ~Burke Wilkinson

Do not waste yourself in rejection; do not bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you." ~Walt Disney

“I am thankful for all of those who said NO to me. It’s because of them I’m doing it myself." ~Albert Einstein

“If you aren't getting rejected on a daily basis, your goals aren't ambitious enough.” ~Chris Dixon.

“I think that you have to believe in your destiny; that you will succeed, you will meet a lot of rejection and it is not always a straight path, there will be detours – so enjoy the view.” ~ Michael York

Rejection doesn't mean you aren't good enough; it means the other person failed to notice what you have to offer.~Mark Amend

“Don’t be offended by rejection, instead let it strengthen your belief that God has better things in store for your dream” ~John Di Lemme

“Never Give Up! Failure And Rejection Are Only The First Step To Succeeding.” ~Jim Valvano

Keep in mind that you will probably never get rid of rejection; you may be rejected many times until the end of your life. Rejection on the whole is painful but viewing rejection as necessary and even positive will help you overcome it that much more easily. It’s important to recognize the hidden elements of this emotion as catalysts for productive change towards a better, stronger, more powerful you!

Remember, although the road may seem long and winding, there is a prize waiting at the finish line for you and all those who rejected you, will have to join in applauding you. Never give up, for you just may be one step away from achieving your dream.