How To Use Rejection & Failure To Grow Personally & Professionally

Have you ever been rejected by someone who you were trying to help, or who you were hoping would give you a chance? Have you ever failed at doing something you thought was a sure thing? 

Rejection and failure do not have to be the end of your dreams. For some, rejection and failure are the exact thing they needed to grow and blossom into the person they truly were meant to be. In this blog, you will learn how to use rejection and failure to grow and accomplish your dreams and goals. 

Whether you were excluded from a social engagement, or you were passed up for a promotion, or perhaps you started an exercise program just to fall off the wagon or started a business you thought was a sure thing only to have it go belly up. Rejection and failure hurts. However, it’s the way you choose to respond to rejection and failure that will determine the entire course of your future.

People who are mentally strong take rejection and failure and use it their advantage. I have business mentors who literally follow the concept of “go for no“. This concept is all about getting over your fear of rejection and failure and seek out the no’s because the yes isn’t far behind. 

For just a moment, I encourage you to think back to situation where you were rejected or you failed miserably. How did it make you feel. What did you do in response to that failure? Many people, including myself, have succumbed to the rejection and failure and let it take them down in to a spiral of depression and self-pity. Or, did you take that rejection and failure and let it fuel you to go for something bigger and better? 

When I was in my late 20’s and early 30’s I trained hard for competitions. I actually trained for five figure competitions but ask me how many I actually competed in? NONE! I worked hard, seeing results but each time I let fear take me out of the game. The last time I trained, I worked harder than ever and really believed I was going to it that time. Two weeks out of competition, I realized I couldn’t get rid of a little ring of fat that just loves to stay on my body just under my belly button. My trainer had no idea how to help and I had sworn that I wouldn’t stand on the stage unless I was perfect. So, I quit. I let fear of failure, or the fear of not being number one, and being rejected take me out of the game. I didn’t even think to get on that stage and be proud of how far I had come and all that I had accomplished. I thought it was easier just to quit. From that failure, I allowed it to take me down into a spiral of negative thoughts. I dealt with my feeling through food and gained the 25 pounds I had lost over the course of four months almost over night. Which left me feeling even more like a failure. When I look back on that, I know I was not mentally strong. I didn’t have what it took to first of all stand on the stage nor to learn from that mistake. However, as I look back on that experience I have learned a lot. 

This leads me to the first way to overcome rejection and fear, which is to:

1) Acknowledge Your Emotions

Rather than suppress, ignore, or deny the pain, mentally strong people acknowledge their emotions. They admit when they’re embarrassed, sad, disappointed, or discouraged. They have confidence in their ability to deal with uncomfortable emotions head-on, which is essential to coping with their discomfort in a healthy manner.

Whether you’ve been stood up by a date or turned down for a promotion, rejection stings. Trying to minimize the pain by convincing yourself–or someone else–it was “no big deal” will only prolong your pain. The best way to deal with uncomfortable emotions is to face them head-on.

2) Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Before I speak about the second point, let me share with you another personal story. I joined a network marketing company about nine years ago and had no idea that this type of business would have me riding a roller coaster of emotions. The amount of rejection that comes from this kind of business is mind-blowing. Rejection even from your family and closest friends. I heard no so much that for many years just just succumbed to the fear of failure and rejection and rather than building a business that would give me the financial freedom I’d always longed for, I chose to stay quiet about what I was doing and just slip away from it. Now, I am in a new network marketing company, one who’s mission I believe in and who’s products I use personally and love. This time, I have committed to myself. I keep my goals in mind as I share the business and the products. I have already, in just a few short months of working the business, heard NO numerous times except rather than letting it take me down this time I am viewing the rejection and evidence that I am pushing the limits. Which is the second way to use rejection and failure to grow. 

When you push yourself out of your comfort zone and start to be rejected or fail, this is how you know you are pushing the limits and living life to the fullest. The key is to expect that you will to be rejected and fail sometimes but go for it anyway, even if you suspect it may be a long shot.

If you never get rejected or fail at anything, you may be living too far inside your comfort zone. You will know that you are pushing yourself to your limits when you get turned down or get knocked to your knees every once in awhile. When you get rejected for a project, passed up for a job, or turned down by a friend, you’ll know you’re putting yourself out there and are one step closer to your goals and dreams. No one ever got to where they wanted to go on a straight, easy path. Ask any successful business owner. There are always bumps in the road. It’s how you navigate the bumps that will determine your outcome. 

3) Have Compassion For Yourself And Others

I remember when I started building my business and I heard “no” over and over again. I started to take it personally. I started to believe that I wasn’t good enough, that even though I have a master’s in business administration (MBA) degree I must not have a clue what I was doing. I compared myself to other people who I saw as successful and was disappointed that I wasn’t in the same position as they were. This, my friend, is one of the most detrimental things a person can do. 

Rather than thinking, “I’m so stupid for thinking I could do that,” you want to train yourself to treat yourself with compassion. Respond to negative self-talk with a kinder, more affirming and encouraging message. 

Now, over the years, I have learned to be kind to myself. Building business is not easy and it’s not going to paved with people lining up to say yes please! I want what you have! It’s a series of ups and downs and learning curves as is anything in life. 

Think about how hard it is for many people to live a healthy lifestyle. It is not that easy. Especially when we live in a society where a healthy lifestyle is almost looked at as being weird. I know I have been called weird for the healthy lifestyle I live. There will always be someone or something there ready to take you down or say no to you and there will always be times when you will fail. But that’s ok! During these times, speak to yourself like a trusted friend. Drown out your harsh inner critic by repeating helpful mantras that will keep you mentally strong. One of my favourites is “be the change you want to see in the world.” This statement has got me through many difficult times in the past. When you feel defeated, first acknowledge how you feel and learn from the experience. The pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back to it! Your dreams are worth more than any rejection or failure. 

4) Refuse to Let Rejection and Failure Define You

When it comes to rejection and fear, it’s important to understand that each situation is an isolated incident. What I mean by that is that just because you are rejected, or fail at something, doesn’t mean that you are a failure. It’s important o keep rejection and failure in proper perspective. If you get turned down for a promotion at work don’t declare yourself to be incompetent. Or, if you get rejected by someone who you want to take out on a date don’t just believe you are unlovable. These are single events not who you are. 

One person’s opinion, or one single incident, should never define who you are. Don’t let your self-worth depend upon other people’s opinions of you. Just because someone else thinks something about you, doesn’t mean it’s true.

5) Learn From Rejection and Failure

When you look back at all the times you have been rejected or failed in your life it may be easy to just give up. Instead, look back on these events and learn from them. Every person who has accomplished  big things in their life will say that to you. A high-level athlete know that they will have to be rejected and fail over and over and over again before they are successful. I watched a video on YouTube not too long ago that showed a women’s race event. The women in the front fell as she was getting close to the finish line. What was motivating about this video is that she jumped up and kept going and won the race despite the fact that she tripped and fell! Think of how many people would have just given up in that moment. What would you have done? What have you done in similar situations in the past? 

When you look back at all the times you have been rejected or failed, ask yourself, “What did I gain or learn from this experience?” There is a great lesson in each one of these situations. Rather than simply tolerate the pain of rejection or failure, turn it into an opportunity for self-growth. With each rejection, you grow stronger and become better in your ability to accomplish your goals. 

About six years ago, I found myself in a very uncomfortable financial situation. I had allowed poor business investment and education to take me into a debt load of over $100, 000. At the time, I was making minimum payments but barely keeping my head above water and extremely stressed out about what this meant for my future. A good friend suggested I speak to a trustee about the possibility of claiming bankruptcy. I was sick over the thought because to me that was the ultimate failure. When I spoke to the trustee, he explained that I would likely die before I got myself out of this debt load and suggested I either claim bankruptcy or consumer proposal. Without getting into too much detail, I chose to claim consumer proposal, which meant I had to pay back about 30 percent of what I owed. When I was in the situation, I remember saying to my coach, “why is this happening to me?” And he said to me, “you might not realize it now but there’s a great lesson for you to learn here.” Boy, was he ever right! Going through that experience was the best thing that ever happened to me. I had never learned how to respect money or use it to my advantage. The lesson I had learned from a young age was spend now and pay later. But now here I am almost six years later and I am debt free, with investments and saving in the bank and have never felt more financially free. Yes, I am still working towards my financial goals but I have a great lesson from this experience and am now able to share these lessons with others to help them get through their own personal and financial hardships. 

Whether you learn about areas in your life that need improvement, or you simply recognize that being turned down and failing isn’t as awful you imagined, rejection and failure can be a good teacher. Going forward, I encourage you to use rejection and failure as an opportunity to move towards accomplishing your dreams and goals with more wisdom and courage. 

CLICK HERE to listen to the full podcast episode on this topic. >>>

Until next time my friends, 

Keep rockin’ your wellness. 

Rachel Joy Olsen, BSc., MBA


5 Ways Mentally Strong People Deal With RejectionRejection hurts, but it doesn’t have to hold you back. – Amy Morin

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