bounce backYou didn’t get the job.
You didn’t get the promotion.

You weren’t picked to go on the business trip with your colleagues.

When this happens, it sucks!! You might feel confused, blame others, or allow the negative emotions to overwhelm you in a wave of self-doubt.

Most people ask “How do I make it so I won’t get rejected?” Well, I think that’s the wrong question because you can almost guarantee that if you step out as who you are in the world, someone will reject you.

Rejection is a necessary part of growth and building our confidence in ourselves.

Self-confidence comes from your willingness to experience any emotion, no matter how terrifying it is.

If you look at everyone who’s famous—everybody who’s creating amazing things in the world, putting themselves out there on stage—they are risking tremendous public ridicule and they do it anyway because it’s worth it.

When someone rejects you, it doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t tell us anything about you. Actually, a lot of rejection isn’t even about you; it’s about outside circumstances that you can’t control.

Here’s an example of outside circumstances and rejection from my own career.

I experienced massive rejection while interviewing for a job in Seattle at a stock photography company. I was totally qualified and was invited back for three rounds of interviews, but I didn’t get the job. This crushed me. My dreams of working more with photography in my career and trying a new city to live in went out the door.

For weeks I walked around with this rejection looming over me.

Then, I learned what had really happened: Someone outside the company had called when he’d heard I was a potential candidate and told them not to hire me. Yes, I was “blackballed” as they say in corporate America. This person who called the stock photography company was afraid I’d move some business he was getting to another company, and that it would impact his livelihood.

Since I didn’t learn about being blackballed for a month, I spent that time doubting myself. But not getting hired was out of my control. There wasn’t something more I could have done than what I did. Suddenly, I found myself being grateful for this rejection. It was clear to me that I needed this rejection for two reasons. One, it gave me the confidence to stand up for myself and clear the air with this gentlemen so that it wouldn’t happen again. Second, that rejection led me to a bigger better job, that took my career in whole new direction in San Francisco.

Here are my top tips for bouncing back from rejection:

1. Allow the discomfort. Rejection hurts. But it is just a feeling that results from a negative thought you have about yourself. Learn to manage your emotions rather than just reacting to the primal fear of being rejected.

2. Develop resilience, building the confidence that comes from this adversity. The more resilience you have, the bigger the goals you can accomplish. It takes lots of resilience to make big leaps.

3. Trust yourself and your capabilities. Have the courage to continue toward your commitment. Practice building up your self-worth [link to self-worth blog post] so you feel confident about what you have to offer.

One of the main things that we need to risk experiencing is rejection. Can you go out there and be willing to be rejected? The more willing you are, the more self-confidence you’ll have!

Need some help bouncing back from rejection or developing your resilience? I can help. I’m a career coach who’s committed to helping young professionals overcome rejection and create their own path to career success. Sign up for a free 30-minute coaching session and start down the path toward your dream job and life![click here to get free mini-session]

Image by Geran-de-klerk, Unsplash