7 Ways to Get Reconnected after Professional Rejection

I’ve been rejected.

I’ve been rejected, I’ve had rejections and I’ve felt like a reject. Rejection is one word with three syllables but it hurts worse than bee stings, worse than splinters and worse than sticks and stones breaking bones. It hurts and it makes us feel sick, and quite frankly it makes us feel like ish.

But rejection has shaped and molded me like no other professional development. It has pushed my performance, it has influenced my image and it has expanded my exposure. It has encouraged my creativity and it has inspired my innovation. It has, in fact, motivated me but motivation in the face of rejection hasn’t always been easy. No friends it ain’t easy but it’s necessary and here’s how I deal...

1. I give myself permission to feel. As stated above -- rejection sucks. It absolutely, truly, undeniably, totally, whole-heartedly sucks. Yes it does and I give myself permission to feel the suckiness and permission to say it out loud.

2. I have a moment. Friends and family are friends and family. Meaning when one is hurt the others try to fix the pain, and when I say fix I do mean fix. But before getting my pain and problems fixed I have my own personal moment to vent. I have my own cry fest, my own swear-a-thon and my own woe is me and why me carry-on. And believe you me...I...carry...on and on and on and on.

3. I vent to God and I vent to others. God gets a piece of mind and so do my family and friends, but after giving myself permission to feel and after having my own moment, I am finally ready to be fixed. I am ready to hear the it’s going to be okays and the forget them you didn’t need them anyways. And not only am I ready to hear it, I am also ready to do something with it.

4. I play the question game. I try to put myself in the shoes of my rejecter in order to see things from their unique perspective and then I interrogate myself. I ask myself things like: what were my actions that contributed to the outcome, what were their actions, if I had the opportunity to repeat the situation what would I do differently, what could they do differently, and most importantly I ask myself was this even for me and is this rejection actually a good thing?

5. I put a timestamp on my emotions. Depending on the size of the rejection, I give myself an hour or a day to be in rejected-mode. That’s it. One hour or one day to feel, vent, play the question game, name shame and blame. And once my hour or day is up I have two choices...

  • I can move on and view the rejection as a something that was meant to be.
  • I can brainstorm another way to achieve that dream. 

6. I problem-solve solutions. If I determine that my rejection was a temporary speed-bump not a permanent road closure, I brain-dump and brainstorm solutions to get to the other side. I start by seeking advice from the rejecter to see if there’s something I can do to amend and alter the rejection. If it’s a job, can I gain more experience here and there? If it’s a fellowship, can I provide another letter of recommendation? If it’s a speaking or writing engagement, can I send additional materials and examples? What can I do to get the rejecter to reconsider? I brain-dump, I brainstorm, I follow-up and then I follow-through and I do what the rejecter has asked me to do.

7. I diversify my applications. Rejection is inevitable. It is. It just is. But the stock market has taught me a thing or two about diversification so I diversify. That’s right...not only do I diversify my investments, I also diversify my professional acceptances. How? I don’t put all of my professional applications in one basket. I apply for one job here and another job there, I apply for awards, speaking engagements, fellowships and professional development trips EVERYWHERE. I apply on overdrive and the way my applications are set-up, my acceptances more times than not outweigh my rejections.

Keisha MabryComment