Take a moment and think back to the last time you experienced rejection. Got it? I bet it didn’t take too long. Most of us carry our rejections with us like a permanent tattoo. Whether we are denied a job, lose a potential client or get stood up by a date, the sting of the rejection sits with us for days, months or even years.
The only people who don’t experience rejection often are those who choose to remain squarely in their comfort zone. They get a comfortable job, create a predictable schedule and avoid rejection through inaction. But even they are not immune to that ugly creature known as rejection which creeps up on all of us at one point or another.
As someone who was thrust into sales at an early age, I had to learn to live with rejection. When you call 50 people a day and only five want to talk to you, you have no choice but to start to accept it as a reality. But that doesn’t mean it gets easier. Even now, in my coaching business, I get told “No” all the time and it feels like another tattoo is being branded into my arm.
In order to remain motivated despite these rejections, I have had to shift my mindset to see rejection as a positive. Below is a story of a recent rejection I faced and the mindset shift I used to overcome it.
I Never Heard From Him Again
Since beginning my full-time coaching business in October I have been lucky enough to have a number of incredible clients sign up with me. I’ve been able to help entrepreneurs, salespeople, and creatives work towards their dreams and reach beyond what they thought was possible. However, despite all of this, there are still moments in my business that make me feel like the sales guy who got rejected 50 times a day.
Earlier this year, someone new approached me who was interested in coaching. We set up an initial call to discuss what he was looking for and if it was something that coaching could help with. We determined together that there was a possible match and that we should set up a second call to dive in a bit further.
On the second call, we dove into a few specific challenges he was facing and gave him a chance to experience coaching firsthand. By the end of the call, we discussed the progress he had made. We wrapped up the call by talking about logistics and pricing.
I asked at the end, “Is this something you would like to do?” And he replied “Yes. Let’s do it.” After hopping off the call, I sent over the contract and the calendar invite for our first call. I got off the phone smiling. I started to become excited at the prospect of being able to help this person. In my mind, it was a done deal.
Well, you can guess what happened next. I never heard from him again. Over the next two weeks, I followed up with a few emails but got nothing in return. Slowly, I started to come to the realization that it was over. He didn’t want to work with me.
For a week I beat myself up over the lost opportunity. I felt I had messed up badly. I truly believed I could’ve helped him and that it was my fault as to why it didn’t work out. Just like in my early sales days, I was carrying this rejection with me wherever I went.
I needed to shift my thinking on this in order to let the rejection go. So I turned to my own coach for help. And the concept that she introduced to me that day is one I still carry with me now. She told me that I needed to “embrace the space.”
Embrace the Space
Whenever someone rejects us, it’s easy to focus on what we lose by being rejected. If we get denied a job, lose a sale, or a client walks away, we tend to look at the negatives only. We see these rejections as a loss of opportunity, money or even happiness.
But by thinking in this way, we’re missing the other side of this. We need to ask ourselves, what is the potential upside now that this didn’t happen? What if our rejection provides us with space and time for something better to materialize?
If you don’t get a job, maybe there’s a better one waiting for you just a few weeks away. If a client leaves, maybe this is just making space for a better one to take her place. If your rocky relationship ends, maybe a better one is on the horizon.
So next time you feel the sting of rejection, rather than carrying it with you, try to tell yourself to “embrace the space.” Once you begin doing this, you’ll see that within this new space a better opportunity awaits.