We’ve all tasted rejection of one kind or another, but the nice thing about rejection is there will come a time when, in hindsight, you can see that it turned out to be a good thing.
My article about the importance of hindsight and learning from the rejection experience was originally published on the 9Honey website.
We’ve all tasted rejection of one kind or another and even the most successful of us can’t avoid failing or being rejected at least once in a lifetime. It might be a rejection in your professional life or your private one – either way, it never feels pleasant.
The nice thing about rejection is there will come a time when, in hindsight, you can see that it turned out to be a good thing. How many times have you been rejected by a potential love interest, or a potential boss with whom you’d hoped to climb further up the career ladder, only to later tell yourself, ‘I’m so glad that didn’t work out.’
Careers expert Michelle Gibbings tells 9Honey that hindsight allows you to realise that in many cases you weren’t rejected ‘as a person’. Instead, that particular role or person simply wasn’t good for you.
“Sometimes getting a ‘no’ doesn’t mean a ‘no forever.’ So reflect on what you can learn from the experience. What learning can you take away in case you face this situation again?” Gibbings says.
“You need to reflect, rather than ruminate. When we ruminate, we’re taking it personally and make it all about the other person. You mind find yourself thinking, ‘They didn’t interview me very well,’ or, ‘That person is not a nice person’. Instead, you can ask yourself what additional skills do I need? It’s important to put this behind you and do whatever you can to take it forward.”
It’s also about adopting an attitude of gratitude and using negativity to fuel your passions. Collective Hub CEO Lisa Messenger explains:
“If you’re able to reframe it, anything is possible. If you stay 100 percent on purpose and true to your vision, always acting with integrity, this will trump rejection every time.
“You know the old cliché – one door closes and another opens. In my experience that new one is often so much bigger, more exciting and wonderful than you could have ever imagined. So reframe rejection as a positive. Don’t be afraid of failure. Just fail fast.”
According to a US study, rejection and physical pain do almost the same thing to your brain. The University of Michigan study found that while the brain doesn’t process emotional pain and physical pain in exactly the same way, the reactions are very similar because a natural chemical (mu-opioid) is released during both events.
What this means is, for example, if you have a painful injury, opioids are released into the brain so that much of the pain is less severe. Scientists discovered the same thing actually happens when you feel rejected by others.
Sara Eastwood, the founder and CEO of My Best Gift, believes anytime she has faced rejection, it’s been an opportunity to learn.
“It’s important to ask, what could I do differently? Turn every rejection, into a step towards your success and you’ll start to view the rejections differently,” Eastwood says.
“Remember that every successful person has a string of stories to tell about their rejections and failures, it’s all part of the journey and it also makes your successes feel more victorious – if it was easy, everyone would do it!”
Always remember that after any rejection, you can always get some kind of feedback. Sometimes that feedback might result in you completing a course to gain the new set of skills you feel you might need. Or, perhaps the feedback will see you ending a bad habit, becoming a ‘new’ you and looking back with relief that the rejection happened at all.