Rejection can be a cruel blow to any of us, and when it happens in the workplace the effect can be lethal. Considering we spend so much of our time at work – often more than we do with our families each week – being rejected can quickly turn nasty and have long-lasting effects. You’ve just worked up the courage to make your pitch. Maybe it was to take on extra, higher tasks beyond your current role or perhaps it was a request for a pay rise. But despite your best efforts, your manager quickly rejected the idea and knocked you back, with little prospect for a different, more positive answer in the near future.
So how do you deal with rejection in your job? Well, career advice can come from the most unlikely sources and when it comes to dealing with rejection at work none other than action movie superstar Sylvester Stallone provides some sage wisdom. Sly once said: “I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.”
That’s the type of attitude we should all take when we inevitably experience rejection in our job. Whatever the situation, your reaction to any rejection will determine your future success.
The first thing you should do is put your rejection in perspective and put some context around it. Identify the reasons behind the decision to reject your request, and put those factors in their rightful place. This will help with the next step: moving on. You can’t change what’s happened, so by keeping a positive mindset, you can use the rejection to plan ahead for your next move or request. Formulate a new plan of attack, a new idea or challenge, and move towards making it a success. Having a new goal soon after being rejected will help motivate you to put the recent rejection behind you and focus your energy into achieving a positive outcome at the next turn.
A final tip relates to strength in numbers – because rejection happens to everybody, in every walk of life and situation. Knowing that you’re not alone in being rejected can ease the sting and help you realise that it’s a normal part of life. Treat rejection as a challenge, and keep in mind those wise words of Sylvester Stallone!
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