Three Things To Remember When You’re Hit With Rejection In Your Career

Don’t let your fear of rejection allow you to count yourself out.

You know that email you’ve been waiting for…

Yeah, the one that you’ve skimmed your inbox 100 thousand times looking for, thinking maybe you just so happened to miss it when it arrived.

What do you do when it never comes? Better yet, what do you do when it arrives in your inbox and it says everything but what you were hoping for it to say?

“Thank you for submitting your application but…”

“Thank you for reaching out to me but…”

“Thank you for interviewing with us but…”

What do you do when that happens?


When the email entails the exact rejection you weren’t anticipating? When the conversation unravels in the other direction and you’re told that you haven’t done enough, or that you’re not enough?

When the thing you so desperately wanted slips right between your fingers because someone else decided that you weren’t qualified for it? What do you do when rejection meets you right where you are, just when you thought you were about to turn left towards a better destination?

Well, that’s a hard question to answer, isn’t it?

My guess is that you start to feel stuck, angry, sad, lost, and confused, especially, if the opportunity was one you were banking on to change the trajectory of your career or if you put all your eggs in one basket – like I tend to do.

Or, if you anticipated the rejection all along and the actualization of it just confirmed the feelings you had about yourself that you were unworthy, and incapable of going after the things that you desire.

That’s a tough spot to be in.

Here are 3 things you should remember when rejection slams through your front door – because let’s be honest, rejection is rude. It doesn’t like to knock.


1. Rejection is a Necessary Evil to Achieve Success

We need rejection. It humbles us. It pushes us out of our comfort zone. It forces us to be uncomfortable enough to take inventory of what we’re doing wrong and compels us to make a change or do something about our situation.

If it wasn’t for the rejection I faced in one of my previous positions, I would’ve stayed there, comfortably unhappy. You know that’s a thing, right? When you’re unhappy but comfortable enough to live with it. Rejection shakes things up so you don’t have to settle for the things you were willing to settle for, the things you were comfortably unhappy to live with.

If you look back at the times you were rejected in the past, there’s at least one situation where you can say, “If I was never rejected, I would’ve stayed where I was.” Think about friends who rejected you and created an opening for new and better relationships. Or, opportunities that rejected you that led you to experiences you will forever remember.

Rejection, as long as you choose to not let it defeat you, will always lead you to achieve the success that belongs to you.


2. Rejection is Inevitable

Yes, rejection happens to everyone. But, it’s not just a one-time thing. You don’t get rejected once and then you’re safe for the rest of your life. I wish that was the case. But, it’s not.

Statistically, you will get rejected. Someone will tell you no. It’s unavoidable. Say for instance, you apply to 10 different positions, reach out to 9 cold contacts via email or invite 25 people to a party. You already know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you’re not going to snag all 10 interviews, everyone isn’t going to respond to your email and everyone isn’t going to make it to your party. This is normal, should be expected, and shouldn’t be taken personal.

Smart people know to cast a wide – selective – net, because some fish will just never be caught.


3. Rejection is Life’s Way of Redirecting You

Sometimes we put so much hope into the wrong thing. You apply for that job and you’re already thinking about what you’re going to write in your resignation letter, what you’re going to wear in your interview, and what your first day is going to be like when you start the positon. All the while, you haven’t even been invited to come in for your first interview yet.

Sure, it’s good to visualize and speak things into existence. I do it quite often. But, when the thing you want doesn’t happen, it’s usually a sign that you’re looking in the wrong direction.

Whenever I’m faced with rejection – after I deal with my initial emotions, of course – I always ask myself: “Now that this has happened, what is the new direction I must take?”

I heard someone say recently, stress is the result of feeling like you have no options. That’s the feeling I usually have when rejection steeps into my life. But, there are always options. You just have to stop thinking about the rejection long enough to realize the solutions and alternatives right in front of you.


I don’t believe that there’s a such thing as missed opportunity. When you give 100% towards something and you get rejected or denied, it may not be the right time, you may need to try again or it just may not be for you. But, it’s not a missed opportunity. What’s meant for you will never pass you by.

But, I do believe that we pass opportunities up more often than we’d like to admit. When we wait, hesitate, sit on our desires, pause on our next steps and procrastinate our dreams due to fear of rejection, we hold ourselves back. We start to accept that maybe life doesn’t have much to offer us after all. And, while others are moving forward, learning new things, getting out of their comfort zone, fighting for their yes, and letting go of rejection – we count ourselves out and halt our progress.

Don’t let your fear of rejection allow you to count yourself out. Accept that rejection will come and know that you have what it takes to regroup whenever it does come your way. Then, move forward.


Originally published at Forbes

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