As a writer and (currently) a job hunter, I understand the sting of rejection. But I’m also okay with it. I often joke that I’m great at being rejected. And this is because I know how to stop a rejection letter or email from knocking my confidence.
Here’s how you can become immune to rejection too…
Remember it’s not about you.
It’s not actually you being rejected. It’s just words on a page. It’s pixels on a screen. Or, if you have been rejected after a job interview, even though the interviewer met you, they don’t know you. So it’s not you as a person that’s been rejected.
Ask for feedback, if possible, in order to learn and improve, but don’t worry if the feedback isn’t useful. Let go of comments that you cannot act on constructively.
Have new opportunities in the pipeline.
Not putting all your eggs in one basket is better for your brain too. If you’re applying for jobs, have multiple applications on the go. If you’re applying for writing competitions, apply for more than one at a time. This way, when you inevitably receive the rejection email, you’ll already have another potential lined up.
Kit de Waal came to speak at my university a couple of years ago and she advised us creative writing students to keep a spreadsheet of our magazine/competition submissions. She also advised we think of each rejection as one step closer to an acceptance. This idea stuck with me.
Find some perspective.
There is no such thing as a perfect opportunity. There’s no perfect job or perfect competition or perfect university course. There are pros and cons to every “dream job” and now is the time to start thinking of those cons. Write a list if you have to (I love a good list).
This could be considered lying to yourself, but it’s actually a perspective shift. A lost opportunity can sometimes seem all the more appealing because you can’t have it. This exercise will get you out of this mindset.
Of course, I’m not saying you shouldn’t feel disappointed if an opportunity falls through. It’s also totally normal to feel upset if someone rejects you in a way which is personal or hurtful. Every situation is different, but using these tips could help you build up your resilience when the next rejection letter arrives.
If you’re reeling from a recent rejection, I’d also recommend reading a book to empower you. The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer will make you feel like anything is possible and Little Black Book by Otegha Uwagba will equip you with practical business tips.
How do you respond to rejection?