Re-frame Rejection for Success

Yes, even organizations feel the sting of rejection

I recently returned from the Global Leadership Summit (GLS), which is a Leadercast-style simulcast featuring thought-leaders and their insights.  The day did not disappoint, and if you’ve never attended either Leadercast or the Global Leadership Summit, you should consider at least one for 2020.  Investing in your leadership is never a waste of time, no matter how long your to-do list.

One of the more thought-provoking GLS speakers was Jia Jiang, author of Rejection Proof:  How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection. You can watch his TEDX talk here – and it is well worth 15 minutes of your time.  When Jia and his family came to the United States, he had thoughts of becoming the next Bill Gates.  He enjoyed some success early on, but his dream of being a mega-entrepreneur screeched to a harsh halt thanks to –rejection.  I don’t want to spoil his story, but it involves some pretty interesting ways he worked to become “rejection-proof.”  Be sure to take a few minutes to watch the talk or read his book.

Jia mentioned something in his Global Leadership Summit presentation that hit me.  He said that rejection is, quite simply, an opinion that says more about the rejector than the rejected.  I feel like that statement is worth repeating:  rejection is simply an opinion—it is NOT an edict.  Until that moment, I had never thought of rejection that way.rejection

At Centennial, we frequently walk both candidates and clients through the rejection process.  Yes, even our client companies deal with rejection! There are times that a candidate is offered a position, and does not accept it for a myriad of reasons.  While that doesn’t happen often, it is rejection just the same.

How do we help our valued clients and equally valued candidates get through “the business” of rejection?  It comes down to one word:  re-frame.  Re-framing rejection leads to progress – both for people and for organizations. Here is what we have found helps.

How Candidates Can Re-frame Rejection:

  • Review their strengths. Write them down!
  • Review where they fell short. Should this shortcoming be addressed? If so, make a plan and do it.
  • Think of “next steps,” and the excitement that comes with a different opportunity. Dream about it and believe in that dream.
  • Recognize that this situation is merely temporary.
  • Expect to succeed.

How Organizations Can Re-frame Rejection

  • Review their strengths as an employer.
  • Re-examine organizational culture. Are there any gaps or areas that need to be addressed?
  • Ask for the “why” behind the last-minute change, and reflect on how this can be avoided in the future.
  • Expect success—and leave the search to us. We will re-introduce you to other great candidates (which is a major advantage of using a retained executive search firm!)

One last thing. It is absolutely OK to feel disappointed and sad when rejection happens—no matter what the forum in which it occurred. Your feelings are your feelings.  But, if you find that you are “stuck” in rejection, it is a sign of strength to seek help from a therapist or a close confidante or friend.  And remember, rejection is not an edict – it is merely an opinion!

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