I have a question for you. How can you know how far you can go in life or what you are capable of overcoming if you don’t experience rejection or failure?
Think about this for a minute. Do you date every guy or girl that has expressed interest in you? Do you give your money to every one you see begging at the traffic light? Do you buy everything some one pitches to you? Do you hang out with your friends every single time they ask you to? Even the choices you make inherently reject the alternatives – so if you do reject ideas or offers for any reason then your reasons can be as good as anyone else’s. You have to accept that no matter how awesome you are, people will not always make choices that will line up with your objectives.
So instead of worrying too much about whether people will like you, or why they won’t respond to you, or whether you will get the job or whether you will win over that customer or whether that girl/guy you really like will accept to go to dinner with you or whether that investor will love your business idea etc … understand that you will win some and lose some. The least you can do is present your case. Afford the other person the opportunity to decide for themselves which direction they want to go. Don’t assume what the outcome will be. You could be wrong. The worst thing you can do is not try because you assumed the odds will not be in your favor. How can you know the odds? Well let’s take a look at some odds of famous people we know.
People who kept on going in-spite of Rejection
- Media proprietor, Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job as a reporter. If she had shrunk from that experience, she will not be the icon and billionaire she is today. She did not let that experience define her. If anything, she dusted it off and charged forward.
Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.” – Oprah Winfrey
- Comedian, Jerry Seinfield was booed and jeered off the stage when he went to do his very first act. If he had let that experience handicap him, he will never have made the list as one of the greatest comedians of all time.
Once you start doing only what you’ve already proven you can do, you’re on the road to death.” ― Jerry Seinfeld
- Actor, Sidney Poitier was told “Why don’t you stop wasting people’s time and go out and become a dishwasher or something?” on his very first audition. If he had let that define him, he will never have become the award winning movie icon he is today.
I always wanted to be someone better the next day than I was the day before.” – Sidney Poitier
- Actor, Harrison Ford was told he lacked what it took to be a star. That statement could have chipped any ego but he didn’t let that define him and today he is a celebrated success with hits like Indiana Jones.
What I observed about my fellow actors was that most gave up very easily.” – Harrison Ford
- Movie Director, Steven Spielberg was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television, three times. Did he throw his hands in the air and say, ‘my gosh there is no way I can make it?’, Nahhhh he went on to another location and today he is a billionaire.
You shouldn’t dream your film, you should make it!” – Steven Spielberg
- Author, J.K Rowling who wrote Harry Porter may be a billionaire now but she didn’t get there on a rosy parade. Her manuscript was rejected twelve times before she received one yes and even then it wasn’t a true vote of confidence. She was asked to get a day job because there was no money in children’s books. This on top of her many other setbacks but did that stop her? She could have thrown her hands up in the air after her 5th rejection or eleventh or even twelfth rejection but she didn’t. She is not where she is today by accident.
It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default. ” – J. K. Rowling
- Business Magnate, Walt Disney was fired by a news anchor. The reason given was that he lacked imagination. He was turned down hundreds of times before he received financing to create Disney World. Well, the rest is history.
All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” – Walt Disney
- Engineer, Soichiro Honda was rejected by Toyota Motor Corporation after interviewing for a job as an engineer. He was jobless for quite some time before starting to make scooters of his own at home and with some encouragement from his neighbors, started the million dollar Honda Motors company we know today.
Success represents the 1% of your work which results from the 99% that is called failure.” – Soichiro Honda
- Singer, Elvis Presley was fired by his manager after just one performance. His manager said “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.” Did that make him go back to “drivin’ a truck”? Nooooo. That pushed him to become a legend.
Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine.” – Elvis Presley
- Composer, Ludwig Van Beethoven was considered hopeless by his teachers. They did not think he will ever succeed in playing the violin or composing but that didn’t stop him did it? Today he is one of the greatest composers that ever lived.
I will seize fate by the throat; it shall certainly never wholly overcome me.” – Ludwig van Beethoven
- Professional Basketball player, Michael Jordan was cut from his basketball team in high school. He also did not make every winning shot or win every game, yet he went on to win 5 MVP Awards, ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine All-Defensive First Team honors, fourteen NBA All-Star Game appearances, three All-Star Game MVP Awards, ten scoring titles, three steals titles, six NBA Finals MVP Awards, and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. He holds the NBA records for highest career regular season scoring average (30.12 points per game) and highest career playoff scoring average (33.45 points per game). In 1999, he was named the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN, and was second to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press’s list of athletes of the century. None of these accomplishments are by accident.
If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan
- Entrepreneur, Steve Jobs got fired from the company he started. In a twisted act of faith he found himself back at Apple, after life had given him the opportunity to evolve as a human being and the rest is history.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs
- Author, John Grisham’s first book was rejected 28 times before he got one yes for a 5,000 copy print. He has gone on to sell over 250 million copies of books he has authored.
My name became a brand, and I’d love to say that was the plan from the start. But the only plan was to keep writing books. And I’ve stuck to that ever since.” – John Grisham
- Author, Stephanie Meyer who wrote Twilight was rejected and ignored by 14 of the 15 literary agencies she approached with her manuscript. One of the 15 gave her a chance and that one ‘yes’ has taken her from ordinary to millionaire status. She could have easily assumed there were far too many ‘important’ or ‘well known writers’ for her book to be considered but she didn’t. She have herself a chance and the rest is history.
I had the easiest publishing experience in the entire world. I sent out fifteen courier letters to agents, got five no replies, nine rejections and one I want to see it. A month later I had an agent. Another month later I had a three book deal with Little Brown.” – Stephanie Meyer
- Entrepreneur, Tim Ferris who authored the 4 hour Work Week was rejected by 26 publishers before one gave him a chance. The book became a best seller and has sold over a million copies.
Everything that works in sales has been done already. Just keep track of the crap that you buy, or the awesome stuff that you buy, and decide what was the trigger, and then just sell to people like you. It’s really that easy – and that’s what I do.” – Tim Ferriss
- Record Producer, Jay-Z did not make the cut at first. Not one record label would sign him so he sold CDs out of his car and later on created his own record label. Today he is worth over 500 million and is married to the iconic Beyonce Knowles.
I was forced to be an artist and a CEO from the beginning, so I was forced to be like a businessman because when I was trying to get a record deal, it was so hard to get a record deal on my own that it was either give up or create my own company.” – Jay-Z
Entrepreneur, Sir James Dyson depleted his 15 years of savings and went through over 5000 prototypes of his vacuum cleaner before finding one that worked. Today the Dyson brand is considered one of the best selling vacuum cleaners in the United States.
You need a stubborn belief in an idea in order to see it realized.” – James Dyson
- Singer, Jennifer Hudson was rejected on American Idol as the finalist. She did not let that stop her. She has gone on to sell over a million copies of her songs as well as winning awards for both her music and acting careers.
You’re not living if you don’t go out and try things for yourself.” – Jennifer Hudson
- Entrepreneur, Bill Gates was a flop at his first attempt at business. The product wouldn’t even work. That slump prepared him and his partner for unprecedented success with Microsoft even making him the richest man in America as of this post date.
Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” – Bill Gates
I could go on for days on end but you get the point. In order for you to get to success, you have to go through setbacks. That is the only sure thing at the doorway to self made success. If you turn around too soon you will never know what was awaiting you on the other side of that door. Look at the list above, imagine if any of these people had given up or let rejection stop them cold in their tracks? We probably won’t be discussing them today.
6 Tips to Manage Rejection
- Acknowledge it for what it is. It certainly is NOT a rejection of you as a human being.
- Learn from it. It possibly holds some good feedback afterall so look at what you could have possibly done differently.
- Make it light. Laugh out loud about it. It is an experience and that is all it is.
- You are paying your dues. Remind yourself of all the successful people you admire. I bet you that not one of them ever got to where they are without having to get past some rejection and if you want to be like them, look at it as the price you have to pay.
- Don’t let it freeze you. You may get rejected but if you look at each experience as a life class, it will only help prepare you for the next round which is a great thing. So instead of waiting to get all your docks perfectly lined up, take the plunge, make the phone call, send the email etc and believe that you are equipped to handle any situation and if you find that you needed some more preparation, then be glad you had the chance to identify what you could do differently.
- Find a motivational anchor that you can turn to when your spirits are low. It can be motivational quotes, a person, an audio tape, a movie … whatever it is have your anchor. Mine consists of a combination of many different things. Here is one of my motivational youtube videos.