Friday, July 15, 2011

KeFactors Friday: Ah, rejection, my old friend, we meet again….

I’ve learned to embrace rejection with the Nietszche quote, “What doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger.”
  • Rejection makes you strong, like bull. I had a friend who opted to go into a months-long retreat—“I haven’t properly grieved for my job”—the one she lost due to massive layoffs. Months of chest-beating and depression followed….I’m sorry, but….Come on! Unless you probe rejection for those hidden insights, you’re just letting it kick you while you’re down.
  • Remember: rejection won’t kill you. It can make you feel like warmed-over duck poo for the rest of the day, but that’s just a few hours. What’s left is the information. Think of hidden insight as buried treasure, ready for you to pull it out of the ground.

Was your price too high? What, then, was the client really looking for?

You were asked to bid, but never really hit it off with the client panel—why?

You worked for years with this client and now they’re opting for another vendor, one of your rivals—what’s changed? How well did you observe those changes coming?

  • Like anger, rejection has an immediate, clarifying effect. If human communications is an imperfect process, it’s partially because human beings dislike being direct or blunt about their choices. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings….I felt it best to let her down easy….I decided my point could be better made by saying nothing at all….All good intentions, often resulting in a muddled lot of wasted time.

Rejection is final and decisive, so it leaves you with clear-cut facts and circumstances.

If you get rejected, the situation compels you to rethink, to reconsider your priorities.

How important was this to me, really?

Never mind what I said…what did my actions say about my intentions?

Did my priorities mesh well with the customer’s?

What can I do differently or better, going forward?

  • Rejection reminds you to keep abundant options. The fewer options you have, the more it hurts when one of them rejects you. If your job hunt list only has five prospects, of course it’ll rankle if four of them turn you down. But if your list has 50, then it’s easier to keep going to the rest if the first four are rejections.
  • Rejections run in proportion with risk and effort: the more you attempt, the more you risk, the more rejections you’ll encounter. If you venture nothing for the next 20 years, you’ll be assured of zero rejections—but is that any way to live? The only way to live fully, to live an expansive life, is to encounter rejection and know how to read it, deal with it, and put it in its place.

Rejection always hurts—don’t plan to make it your new best friend—but over time, it can be like that abrasive, plain-spoken, but well-meaning aunt or uncle who barrels into your kitchen when you’re nursing a pounding head, and says, “OK, look, I must speak up: here’s why it went south.”

You hate them for speaking up but you always learn from what they’ve said. And after a while you don’t dread it when rejection comes through your door.

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