Let’s face it — rejection sucks just as much in the workplace as it does in your love life. You need to take big career risks, but sometimes, that big-time work project totally bombs or the promotion you *really* wanted just doesn’t come through. Being rejected can send you into a major work rut or shatter your confidence. But you don’t have to let it. We chatted with Halley Bock, author of Life, Incorporated: A Practical Guide to Wholehearted Living, about what you can learn from getting rejected and how you can use that crucial info to boost your career. After being let go as CEO of a former company, she applied these five lessons to her own mindset and overcame rejection to found her own company, Life, Incorporated.
1. View rejection differently. Halley says there are two different ways you can view rejection — one as a badge of honor for taking a risk and the other as a critical warning that your vision might not align with your audience. Viewed as a badge of honor, rejection shows that “You’re not playing small, you’re taking risks and remaining true to yourself,” says Halley. If so, then take pride in the fact that you took a risk.
If the rejection is about a certain project that depends on the acceptance of others, you may have hit an early sign that things aren’t working. “A critical warning is either a sign that you’ve lost your own intrinsic motivation for the work and should re-ground in it or that your vision doesn’t resonate with your audience,” says Halley. Don’t get angry or double-down on your vision if you get some feedback that’s tough to hear. Instead, recognize it’s an opportunity to adjust your strategy or delivery.
2. Accept that it isn’t only about you. When something doesn’t work out the way we wanted it to, we have a tendency to blame ourselves. “More often than not, the failure is due to multiple outside forces and not to one person alone. Remain optimistic, don’t point fingers and understand that other opportunities will arrive!” says Halley. While it definitely stings when you don’t get what you want, try to realize that you’re just one part of the whole equation.
3. Listen to your bod. In her book, Halley talks about her most life-changing rejection: when she was let go as CEO of a training organization by her boss, who also happened to be her mother. Halley describes the experience as “incredibly difficult, as the rejection from a parent is one of the greatest forms of rejection a human can experience.” After being fired, she had a very physical reaction to the rejection. She vomited after eating, and during one particularly hard run, she passed out. “Quite often, physical ailments are indicators of something being off within us. It’s nature’s warning sign,” says Halley. Your body might be sending you signals that you need a break from the stress that’s bugging you.
4. Allow negative thoughts to pass. It’s natural to have some self-doubts after a big rejection. These doubts may feel like they’re 100 percent true, but don’t listen to this train wreck of negativity. Halley suggests using this type of meditation to work through the negativity. “Name the thought or feeling without identifying with it. For example, name ‘self-judgment,’ ‘frustration’ or ‘rejected’ and as soon as you name it, allow it to pass and morph into the next thought. If one remains, keep repeating the label. When you attend to those thoughts and emotions, they’re freer to dissipate,” says Halley. Try this meditation whenever you feel hesitation or doubt start to creep in and let yourself move on.
5. Practice self-care. Do something that makes you feel good, whether it’s exercising, journaling, meditating or getting a massage. “Any time you can create space between stimulus and response, you come closer to your power and your truth,” says Halley. Make a playlist of your fave songs, do some spa-worthy treatments at home or craft some cards with some inspirational quotes. Whatever makes you happy, do it! Then get back to your regularly scheduled kick-ass routine.
What are some ways you get over rejection at work? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)