Are you rejection resilient?
You better be. The most meaningful things in life – the things we care about most – are also the things that can crush our spirits, tick us off, and leave us feeling like we want to curl up in bed eating pasta and the watching The Kardashians. Yes, rejection can be that bad. If you let it.
But, rejection is also certainty. There is no risk about it. One time or hundreds of times, you are going to fail at the very thing you think you want most. Then what?
First things first: When facing a setback, you’ve got to decide whether the thing you are pursuing is still worth pursuing. Sometimes, we are no longer clear about why we are going after a particular goal. Sometimes something more meaningful has come into our awareness and a setback can be a great time to sit back and consider whether you should pursue your original goal or let go for something better.
But, if you decide to go forward, here’s how to deal with the pain of rejection.
Four Ways to Become Setback Safe
1. Look for a chance to improve. When you get a big no-go en route to your goal, take a deep breath and look at the opportunity within the setback. It’s easy to get stuck in the pain of rejection, or in a cycle of blaming others for the failure. But, if you can shift your perspective to evaluate your progress, take-to-heart any constructive criticism, identify your weaknesses and improve or adapt the things that need to be changed, you will not have any time to dwell on the pain of failure. Instead, you’ll be gathering momentum to make a move toward what you want.
2. Take baby steps. The day you experience a setback, do something to move in the direction of your dream. One friend advised me to send out a new pitch the same day as I get a rejection. Take some small step toward what you want – even in the midst of defeat — and the action will inspire you to keep going.
3. Keep an awesome file. Over the months and years, collect evidence of your own awesome. Keep letters of praise or kindness. Write down compliments you’ve been given. Take note of the times you feel good about yourself. Put all these kudos in a file in a file and pull it open during the gray days when you are pretty sure you will never succeed. While we are all bound to fail at times, we are also bound for success. Sometimes it’s just a matter of remembering.
4. Put your imagination to work. Research, in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry indicates that when we visualize our best possible life and write about that in specific detail, we feel more optimistic. And, that optimism motivates us to create a better future. So, right now, imagine your ideal life, five or 10 years out. Paint the picture in your imagination and then take a step toward it.