Everyone experiences rejection but rarely are we taught how to deal with it productively. And knowing how to deal with rejection is an important skill for everyone to have.
Your first reaction will likely be defensive. No one likes to be told they’re wrong. When it happens to you, take a breath immediately and strive for objectivity. Most of the time there’s a reason you’re being shot down. And since most people actively avoid conflict, it’s always worth asking why you’re being told no. Feedback provides an opportunity for learning and growth.
Acknowledge the emotions you’re feeling—rejection hurts. Deal with your feelings to keep them from getting out of control. It’s very easy for resentment to build if given the opportunity—and it can sour your relationships with others, ultimately derailing your career. Things just didn’t go your way this time. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything about you. How you handle your negative emotions says a lot about your adaptability and professionalism.
Not all rejection is total. There may be room to negotiate. If you’re turned down for a raise but your manager acknowledges you’ve been doing an excellent job, it may be that there’s no room in the budget right now. Negotiate for other perks like working from home a few days a week or getting more vacation time.
Rejection is useful, it teaches us to either change ourselves for the better or justify who we are. Wanting to prove ourselves in the face of rejection is a powerful motivator. Top performers look inside and determine what they can do to achieve a different result next time.