A major obstacle that prevents most of us from living our dreams, and accomplishing really great things with our lives, is the fear of rejection. From starting a new business, to asking that special someone out on a date, the fear of rejection usually stops us dead in our tracks, like a deer caught in headlights. On a gut level, most of us understand that dealing with rejection is a required skill for successfully weathering the storms of life and career. So why am I bothering to address this topic again?
I’ve learned a couple of things in the past two years about rejection, and how to deal with it. When I started applying for internships as an international student in the United States, I knew the odds were not very good. The US economy was still very fragile, and companies were reluctant to make hiring decisions. Still, I felt pretty good about my chances. Why shouldn’t I? I graduated top of my class from one of Nigeria’s most prestigious universities; I had 3 years work experience in a corporate environment which had exposed me to international best practices with respect to problem solving and strategy formulation; I have good writing and presentation skills, and am very passionate about technology – my desired industry. Unfortunately, I was unable to secure a formal internship with any company by the end of the recruiting season. As would be expected, my ego suffered a huge blow as I constantly thought to myself: “Why wouldn’t they pick me??”
After weeks of mourning (with movies and ice cream), I observed that I had become pretty reluctant to apply to job opportunities that I found interesting, for obvious reasons. Realizing the dangerous position I was sliding into, I began to look for ways to ‘cure’ myself of my new-found phobia. Thankfully, I was successful. These are some of the quotes I found helpful:
- You will never know if you don’t try.
- The worst thing he, she or they can do is say no. (My favorite – frequently mentioned by a close friend)
- Think of a rejection as just another outcome. It is obviously not the desired outcome, so you have to continue making attempts until your desired outcome (read success) is achieved.
Do you have any other ideas for dealing with rejection? Kindly share them with me by leaving a comment.