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If You Can’t Win, Don’t Lose: 2 Quick Tips to Maintain Your Self-worth after Rejection

By LaPora Lindsey

A sign of the word no stuck in an older tree. The angle of the camera is facing up so that you can see the sign facing down with the sun and a blue sky behind it. This picture is symbolic of what we can win even when we lose.

I need to be honest y’all. We can’t always win.

Even when you try your hardest to win, the answer won’t always be, “You’re the best,” or “Yes.” Sometimes you can give it your all and the answer is still, “No.”

Rejection is extremely painful, and it’s not something that many people go chasing after. And know that rejection is happening regardless, I also need to let y’all know that rejection is one of the most potent intrinsic tools that you can use to propel your career. 

How you react to rejection shares a story about you. We don’t all feel rejection the same way. For one person, it can mean they aren’t liked. Rejection may mean for another person that they aren’t good at their job. And for another person, rejection means they aren’t good enough. However you interpret the meaning of your rejection, being rejected doesn’t mean you lose everything. Or, to sum it up: If you can’t win, don’t lose! 

I’ve experienced a lot of rejection within my career. I don’t like how rejection feels when it’s fresh, but I still try and allow the rejection to become the driving force behind how I bring value, and I want the same for you, and so below are a few ways to keep going after rejection.

The first way to keep going amid rejection is the next time you are rejected in your career, be willing to learn and don’t stay positive (that’s not a typo—I said what I said 🙂 ).

If you get turned down for a promotion or your idea is denied, experience the hurt. If you aren’t selected for a new career, allow yourself to feel the pain. How can you grow from something if you can’t allow yourself to experience it? 

Don’t allow yourself to miss out on opportunities. You can’t win by avoiding rejection altogether. 

Avoiding the pain that rejection can cause because you didn’t win is not a solution—-it’s a deterrent. So, when you are rejected, take time to feel the hurt, frustrations, sadness, and whatever else you may feel; this will help you learn about yourself. 

Rejection is a great learning tool, but the learning doesn’t come from avoiding the pain. The wisdom comes from experiencing rejection, the “good” and the “bad.” Have you heard of “toxic positivity?” It’s a real thing. When you have a mindset that everything will be alright even when you experience challenging times, that is not of help to you, it’s toxic. So toxic positivity is when you don’t allow yourself to experience a variety of feelings, but only the positive ones. Avoiding all feelings can stunt your professional growth.

There is a lot of positivity going around about how wonderful rejection is, and I partly agree—there are many advantages of rejection, that’s why I created an Advantages of Rejection workshop around this topic. However, don’t get so caught up in trying win for the future or get past rejection that you ignore your current pain completely. 

Don’t get so caught up in getting past rejection that you ignore your current pain completely.

Another way to keep going after rejection is to focus on how what you can control.

You can’t always control the outcome related to your career, but you can control how much effort you put into it. 

When you are rejected (I said “when” because it will happen), you don’t have to be happy all the time. Instead of trying to manipulate your thoughts to think only happy thoughts, focus on the truth about yourself. Ask yourself this, “Before that rejection, did I do everything in my power to practice and prepare?” If so, give yourself props for that, you didn’t win but you also didn’t lose. 

You can also tell and ask yourself, “They may have told me “no,” but did I have an opportunity to try something different?” If so, give yourself praise for that.

You can’t control the thoughts that enter your mind, but you can control how you entertain those thoughts, if you decide to entertain those thoughts as all.

And remember, this isn’t about ignoring the pain. It’s about finding ways to experience the pain and then finding counterarguments to address the pain with the truth of your efforts. Those counterarguments can show in positive ways in your career or resume.

Moving on after rejection isn’t always easy, but it’s something that you have to do if you want to find ways to grow. It’s okay if we don’t win. It’s okay if things don’t go as planned all the time: there will always be bumps along the way as we navigate through life. So, if you get rejected, don’t let rejection stop you. You may not always win, but that doesn’t mean you lose, so keep going.

To learn more about how self-worth and rejection can help your career contact me to schedule a free consultation. In the meantime, you can check out some of my guest podcast appearances, and Google Reviews here.

LaPora Lindsey

Hi, I'm LaPora!

I am passionate about helping you define your own version of success in your career. By recognizing your worth and using rejection as a strategic tool, you can enhance your career or job search.

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