how to handle rejection

hi friends! I recently was having a bad afternoon where I felt really defeated and disappointed by rejection. I had spent a ton of time on a new work project proposal and was hopeful/excited about the opportunity and then…got rejected (after several weeks of no response – but that’s a different story 🙃). when we are told NO (whether it’s a job offer or promotion you didn’t get, a relationship that didn’t work out, a proposal or idea that was turned down, feeling left out in a social circle, etc.) it can be hard to not let it affect your entire day or self-worth. I’m personally a words of affirmation person, and rejection seems to sting extra hard. even when I rationally know my self-worth and identify aren’t tied to the rejection, it is sometimes reallllly hard to get out of the negative headspace and emotional spiral of ‘am I not good enough?’, ‘will I ever be good enough?’ etc. I asked for some advice on Instagram and was blown away by the really helpful, encouraging, kind, and wise words from friends and followers. I didn’t want to just keep all that goodness to myself, so decided to compile the advice into a quick blog post. ✨

so, here’s some reminders and ideas on to handle rejection. hope this is helpful and encouraging to you! 💛

Reminder: it’s not about you.

There is a huge amount of freedom that comes when you remember to take nothing personally. 💛
via Savannah, who was just voted Atlanta’s #1 interior designer 🏆

I have felt more rejection in my life than I can keep track of. I think rejection comes when we take risks and it’s inevitable. And because you’re a woman of breathtaking beauty, gifts, talents, passions and courage, risk-taking will always be a part of your life…which means also so will rejection. It has nothing to do with who you are or something you lack. It’s the opposite actually, it’s everything you have to give (which is A LOT) that opens the door to rejection. I think the more gold we have inside of us, the more susceptible to rejection we are.
via Gelly May

It’s just business and you can’t take it personally. Try to not overthink it and remember there will always be more clients and new opportunities.
via Jenny, co-founder of Daffodil Digital

Shift your perspective.

Perspective is everything. Ask yourself, is this REALLY important to me? Remember the big picture. Will this matter to me in a year? Take a deep breath and focus on what is really important — my family, Lucy, my health, etc.

Reframe the narrative, remove yourself from center, and see an alternative perspective. Most things and decisions have ZERO to do with me personally.
via  Christine

Find the good.

Remind yourself how many people have said YES to me – it makes the disappointment of NO easier.

Train your brain to pick up and throw away those thoughts and replace them with good ones. Actually picture in your head yourself throwing the thought away and picking up a different one.

Gratitude- I try and remember all the awesome sales we made and the customers who’ve had a great positive experience with us. Something might be a no for now, not forever – everything in life is timing! Your product or service might not be right for them at this exact moment in their lives, but it could be perfect in the future! via Kalina, founder of Hunter & June

Remind yourself – I AM AWESOME. I AM CAPABLE. Give yourself an extra boost of positive affirmations after rejection.

Reminder: it’s not the right thing/person/opportunity for you.

If the door doesn’t open, IT’S NOT YOUR DOOR!

I only want to work with clients who are genuinely excited to work with me. If they’re not excited about what I’m not doing, then it’s not a good fit. I don’t see it as rejection — I see it as dodging a bad client. The more it happens, the easier it gets to stay positive about it.
via Mady, founder of DigiSF

Not everything can be a yes.

If it wasn’t a fit for them, it’s not a true fit for me. Feeling like “not a good fit” for others can be difficult to swallow in the moment but it’s better to be clear on that vs. spending time on something that doesn’t serve you.
via Danielle, founder of Gal Collective

Let yourself be bummed for a bit, dust yourself off, and keep going.

Let yourself be bummed for a bit. Then hit pause, change gears, and shift focus. Do something good for yourself and remember the right thing will come.
via Tory., a Bay Area-based photographer and the person I text about everything work-related problem 😅

“Acknowledge and move on. For every rejection I get, I try to send out a new proposal.”

Drop the ego.

I’ve found the most personal and professional growth from rejection, once I put my ego aside. Recommend reading EGO IS THE ENEMY. Rejection pushes me to think differently and evolve, and often times rejection opens up space for the right client or project that otherwise wouldn’t be possible without it.
via Defne, founder of MADE PR

Focus on the future.

View rejection as the universe helping you make room for something bigger, better and/or more important.

For everyone “no” there are always 5 more “yes’s”. Something better WILL come.

View each “no” as one step closer to the eventual yes. When I think of someone who’s accomplished the goal that I’m going after, I tell myself “there’s nothing innately special about that person that I can’t emulate” and that helps me work and try harder and believe I can eventually get there.
via Elaine , founder of MNTSTUDIO

“Rejection is protection from something that is out of alignment with me. Better opportunities that are more in line with me and my vision await.”
via @aschere11

Listen to Brené!

Lastly, I had so many people remind me of Brené Brown‘s amazingness – her books, her blog/social accounts, her Netflix special and all of her nuggets of wisdom.
One important reminder is that it’s okay to fail. It’s normal and WILL HAPPEN when you live life in the ‘arena’. A few quotes to share:
  • “I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.”
  • “Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.”
  • “Vulnerability is not about winning or losing. It’s having the courage to show up even when you can’t control the outcome.”
  • ”Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands.”
  • “If you are not in the arena getting your ass kicked too, I am not interested in, or open to, your feedback about my work. You can’t take criticism and feedback from people who aren’t being brave with their lives. It will crush you.”

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3 thoughts on “how to handle rejection

  1. Okay, my first thought: Who wouldn’t hire Andi to do anything including running a small country? And then, I know from my own life that every work disappointment turned out to be a blessing – often spurring a correction in my own thinking on what I should shoot for. So, what’s the next biggest thing you can go for? What were you sort of afraid to go for? Go for that.

    1. Thank you for this. So so so much. Sometimes what you miss out on turns out to be a complete blessing and opens the door for something MUCH better. I hope you guys are doing well! Let me know if you’re ever heading this way! <3

  2. Andi, This was a nice read and so much of it resonated with me and my own life. As an African American Muslim woman, I found myself easily applying a different view or perspective to the post. I reflected on the past “No’s “ that I have experienced in my life and how some of them were laced with bias and bigotry. Would the impact have been different or the meaning different if I were a white woman in the world? Would the No have even occurred? Perhaps not, but regardless, the words of this piece would still hold true. I have always saw rejection as a lesson for me in some capacity. My diversity adds a layer but it also calls for even more reinforcement of the affirmations that are mentioned throughout this piece. I think experiencing rejection is much easier when we know who we are, are at peace with who we are, and have the insight and ability to acknowledge that we live in a world full of vast perspectives and people who may not yet have the ability to connect or see what we bring to the world. You are right…don’t take it personal! Everything is not a knock on you or meant to dim your light. Life is a constant series of lessons and tests that should fortify us in who we are and the things upon which we hold dear. Rejection should ultimately make us stronger.