“Rejection doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough; it means the other person failed to notice what you had to offer”
Life is full of rejection, that’s reality. You don’t always get what you want, and at times that sucks.
“But how do you overcome rejection?” This was a question that was asked of me when I recently attended a Leadership Conference at my College Alma Mater. At this conference I was asked to host a ‘breakout session’ to discuss Leadership and Success in Business.
I always enjoy having an opportunity to share my experiences with students. However, since I am still working on finding the job I truly love, it’s sometimes a little difficult to offer hope to the students that their degree will give them everything they are hoping for.
I had about 20 people attend my session, and I started off telling the students about myself; where I was from, what major I was, when I graduated, etc. Then I talked about my time on campus, the leadership roles I held- Resident Assistant, Teaching Assistant, Tutor, and my experience studying abroad…. All easy topics for me to talk about.
It was when I started talking about my career and how my degree helped me get there, that I lost a little confidence as 5 years after graduating I am not where I thought I would be at this point in my life. I was honest with the students by telling them I have learned a lot and resolved many outstanding issues in the jobs I have held, but I have a desire for more. I told them how I have been on many interviews and was not offered the positions, but I keep trying.
At the end of my presentation the students asked many great questions including “how do you overcome rejection?” What a great question!, and an opportunity for me to offer some honest advice to them that maybe they will remember when they face rejection as they go out to experience the world. I told them that I learned a few years ago that you could really easily let rejection get you down, whether it’s a job rejection, break-up, not getting into a graduate program you wanted, getting turned down for a date… whatever it is it’s far easier to crawl under the covers and hide from the world. But the world goes on with or without you, so it’s better if you dust yourself off and join it. I have been through my fair share of rejection, and it took me a long time and many tears to finally get over it and not take it personally. It’s hard not to think there is something wrong with you. But if you look back on any time life rejected you, you’ll notice that it was actually redirecting you to something better.
I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, my first 2 years out of college was evidence of that as I had a whole string of events that directly led to one another. But over the last year or so when I had gone through job interviews, some more intense than other, but not job offers it’s been hard to see the rainbow through the rain. I wonder, when will it all work out? When will it be my turn? Why do I keep getting turned down? Why won’t someone just give me a chance?!
The ONLY way I have gotten through it is to remind myself that the universe must have something better in mind for me. So I try to learn from the experience and continue to hold the belief that it will work itself out. I KNOW when a new job works out, I will look back and realize the reason I went through everything I did was to get to that moment, and it will all be worth it. The same thought process can be applied to any personal life situations. Keep your head up and keep trying.
If you are curious on some other tips, here are 8 Ways to Bounce back after disappointment that align with the ideas I discuss above.
I also recommend this article. 7 Ways to Stay Strong When Everything Goes Wrong
Update: Within a month of originally writing this post, my perseverance paid off and I was finally offered a new job as a Budget Analyst at a small 4 year private college in Central NY. The transition from my old job to the new one was exciting and I am so much happier because of it.