We face rejection all the time in life. In our career, business, relationships – and especially when we have the guts (or foolishness) to follow our dreams. How we deal with them however could become a barrier to how successful we will be in our endeavours.
So here’s how I’ve been able to deal with rejection, using stories from my life and rejection in dating and sales (which may or may not be interchangeable)…
Truth is, that for the majority of my life, I’ve not actually dealt with rejection very well.
I had learned to pick up on other people’s shameful and bad behavior, taking ownership of it and internalizing it. I had learned that if someone told me I wasn’t good enough, then that meant I wasn’t good enough.
Luckily though, because I’m a stubborn bastard, that’s lead me to improve myself (instead of feeling sorry for myself).
But guess what?
You can’t satisfy everyone. There’s always going to be someone, who doesn’t think you’re good enough. No matter what you do. And if like me, you’ve been busy trying to prove yourself worthy to them – well… Then take it from me, you’re going to beat yourself up again and again, and suffer. A lot. And you’re never going to be truly happy with who you are.
So what do you do about it? How do you deal with rejection?
Let me tell you a little story…
Not too long ago, I ran into a really sweet girl. Smart, funny, charming, beautiful, quite the personality and so forth. We spoke for a short while and really hit it off. The chemistry was solid, we’d joked, laughed, messed about and had a good time. And I felt a strong connection to her, so I decided it shouldn’t end there. I decided to follow up and invite her out.
We chatted back and forth for a bit. I was interested in her, curious and enjoying getting to know her. We talk about meeting up and because I’m a pretty honest and direct guy (and because I don’t like to waste my time), I let her know that my intentions were for it to be a date…
And that’s when I get a punch right to the gut.
She tells me: “Sure, we can meet up, but I should tell you that I don’t see you as anything more than a friend…”
And following my old programming, I went straight into beating myself up…
“I guess I wasn’t good enough.”
“I guess I’m not attractive enough.”
“I guess I’m just not worthy of a relationship.”
And on and on I went beating myself up and telling myself that I’m just not someone that anyone could love.
But then another voice told me something. The ‘no bullshit’ voice. It came up from the deepest depth of my inner self like a Viking roaring his battle cry as he charges straight into the enemy horde with bloodied axes swinging!
“Bullshit!” it rang true in my ears.
“You’re fucking awesome! You’ve got so much to offer. You’re a handsome bastard. You’re a fun guy to be with. Humble too! Sexy as shit. And very modest! And any girl would be lucky to be with you!” the voice roared at me.
And then for good measure the little Viking inside me punched me on the shoulder, saying “don’t you forget it, you god damned legend!”
That was when I saw through my own bullshit.
Truth is, I’d spent a little over an hour or two combined talking with this girl. And from that, she’d decided I wasn’t dating material? Well, awesome as she might be, then she really wouldn’t have known me yet. How could she?
The reality was that her decision really had nothing to with me, it was her decision based on whatever she had experienced and what she was going through.
And I don’t have to take ownership of that. If she feels she knows enough about me in two hours to realize we shouldn’t date, then that’s her decision. It doesn’t accurately reflect who I am. And I decided not to internalize it and let it go instead.
And that’s what we have to do. Whenever we deal with rejection.
In our relationships and in our business. For example in how we deal with sales rejection…
I’ve worked for over 5 years in direct sales. Trust me, when I say. I’ve gotten rejected a lot of times.
With the type of sales, I did, I would estimate I’d be rejected on average every day around 300 times. With around 240 working days in a year and over a period of 5 years, that comes around to being rejected approximately 360.000 times.
And to do something like that, you have to learn not to internalize the rejection. Or go mad in the process. (I’ve probably done both.)
“…. But I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart…” (Play it here)
The formula for dealing with the rejection is as it were in the story in the previous paragraph.
When a buyer would reject my offer, were they actually rejecting me?
They were rejecting the offer based on what they had heard, perceived, learned, felt and experienced on that day. And the truth is, as most people in sales know, you rarely really get to show the true value of the offer, you have. Most of the time, the customer won’t get to experience you or the product in the short interaction you have. And so when you’re rejected in sales, it’s not about you and quite often, it’s not even about the product.
It’s about what the customer got to see, hear, feel or understand at that time. And keep in mind, that’s also influenced with how they might think, act, feel, react based on their own habits and behavior.
And so ask yourself this when you’re dealing with rejection…
Did the customer really get to experience everything my product has to offer, when they said no?
Did my boss really fully comprehend everything I have to offer the company, when he rejected my promotion?
Did my friend truly understand how important this is to me, when they said no to helping me?
Did this man or woman, that I want to date, really know me, when they said no to dating?
Because if they didn’t, then it’s got nothing to do about you.
Quite often it just is what it is and there’s no reason to take any of it to heart. And other times, of course, you might also have to be a little clearer and sharper in your communication 😉
But it’s not because you’re not good enough as you are… It’s simply a question of whether the message is really being heard or not.