Thursday, September 17, 2015

How to Move on from Rejection: Advice from the Rejected

Rejection - even that word causes your skin to cringe.  Whether you get rejected from a job, lover, or another opportunity, the emotions that you feel afterward are the same: they suck. 

Today (actually, the past couple of weeks...), it happened to me, and I'm sure it happened to someone else out there, too.  But us rejectees can't give in to the tub of ice cream, the cries, or the wallowing in self pity.  Some people out there may tell you that you deserve that third helping of ice cream, but I tell you that you don't.  You don't deserve to treat yourself poorly just because someone else did.  Overeating on indulgent snacks or moping for days on end will just cause unwanted weight gain or will dig you further down a hole of misery, so don't make the situation any worse than it is.  Rejection will never feel pleasurable no matter what you do, but there is one thing that will make it a little less painful: move on.  The inspirational quote makers of the universe tell us that time heals wounds and they are right, as the always seem to be.  Begin moving on right after you get rejected.  Heck, begin moving on BEFORE you get rejected.  Moving on simply means that you are going ahead.  If you are going ahead before you even face the unfortunate fate of rejection, you'll have already thought about what to do in case you do get that "x".  This way, you won't waste any time and you'll reach your next step in life even sooner (and without gaining 10 pounds of self pity).   

Here are three ways to help you move on before you even get rejected:

1. Initiate Plan-B Mode

Just like having a spare tire in your car comes in handy in cases of emergency, having a spare idea as a backup is never a bad idea.  When you are looking for a job, don't stop at the first application you get; keep looking.  If you don't make the lineup on a particular team, you should have another team to try out for.  You've written a book and you are trying to submit it; find handfuls of publishers to send it to, not just one.  While looking for a partner, have a few others on the side...errrr...okay, maybe don't have spares for that one, but I think you catch my drift.  Like that spare tire, you'll know exactly where to go in case a hole deflates your destination.  And if you don't get rejected, those Plan-B's can sit in your trunk, just in case of an emergency.

2. Don't Be a Psychic - PS. You're Most Likely Not

Don't enter an opportunity thinking that you have it.  Don't enter an opportunity thinking that you don't.  Go in thinking nothing at all about what the future holds.  You aren't the universe's all-knowing being; there is absolutely no way for you to know what the outcome will be.  If from the get-go you just "KNOW" that this is meant to be, there is a possibility that it actually is not and you will feel even worse because not only did you not land the opportunity, you also were wrong.  On the other hand, don't go for that goal by having self-deprecating thoughts; that negativity and lack of confidence can actually cause your rejection.  Instead, try out the opportunity by thinking to yourself "if this is meant to be, it will be.  If not, something else is meant for me".  As sappy as it may seem, the universe works itself out.  Whatever is supposed to happen, will happen.  This rejection might just be the window to a different opportunity for you.  If this opportunity is meant for you, you'll get it; if not, you have your Plan-B waiting in your trunk. 

3. Get Rejected  

Why would you want to get rejected before getting rejected?  Well, once you've gotten one rejection, you have already found ways to cope with the next ones.  The second rejection will be more of a paper cut than the first one; the third rejection will be more of a bruise.  Like most situations, the more experience you get with rejection, the easier it becomes.  No, it does not make you happy the 10th time around, but you have more tolerance for the pain.  Also, getting rejected beforehand means that you have pushed yourself to try at least one other time, and that seems to be the hardest part for many people.  You can proudly tap your shoulders because you had courage to go for it.  People tend to be their own harshest critics; they knock themselves harder than an interviewer even before they get an interview.  This causes many people to refrain from attempting to reach their goals.  Unless you are extremely lucky, you will face rejection at least once.  But each and every rejection, along with each and every attempt, is a learning experience that helps you grow, reevaluate, and revise.  Who knows - that one rejection may teach you what exactly you need to tweak to get that "yes".  

Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee

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