Leverage Rejection to Build Your Best Possible Practice

by Certified Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA

Have you ever been picked last on the team? Had a Qualified Suspect (QS) hang up on you? Gotten pushed around by a playground bully? Dumped? Good news! If you learn how to use rejection and negative experiences in a new way you can build what’s called “rejection resiliency”—an important quality in a successful financial representative (FR).

What if all of your life’s rejections have turned out to prepare you for who you are today and what you are setting out to accomplish?

Here are some practical ways to use rejection in a whole new way.

First, when considering a “bad event” how do you think about it? Many people catastrophize (“I can’t dial any more today because I’m bad at phoning and more QSs will hang up on me. I will use up my phoning list. I might fail out of the business at this rate.”) Three questions Daniel Pink suggests you ask yourself in his book

To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others are:

1) Is this permanent?

In the case of phoning, does the QS hanging up on you mean that you have completely lost your abilities? Definitely not!

2) Is this pervasive?

Is every single person you are going to phone absolutely going to hang up on you? No.

3) Is this personal?

Was the QS really, truly rejecting you—the human? Is that even possible given that the person has likely never even met you?

Pink writes that the more you explain bad events to yourself as temporary, specific and external, “the more likely you are to persist even in the face of adversity.” You can also try disputing and de-catastrophizing negative explanations:

1) Poke holes in your story. If a QS hangs up on you could it have been caused by something other to do with than you? Might there have been circumstances happening of which you were not aware?

2) What are the true consequences of the event? Will being hung up on mean the end of your practice? Your ability to make a livelihood? Ask yourself what is accurate in the situation.

Author and TED talk speaker Elaine Dundon estimates that rejection is increasingly becoming more a part of our everyday lives because of social media, communications technology, the faster pace of life and other social and cultural changes. “It used to be that we could be rejected maybe once or twice a year; but now we have speed dating where we can be rejected every five minutes, or on-line dating where we can be rejected in an instant!” she says, as an example, in her TED Talk.

Dundon recommends a three-part strategy to face rejection:

1) Reflect. Why did the rejection happen? Realize that “it’s not all about you!”

2) Reboot. Start over and try a new approach.

3) Reject. Understand that some people will always reject “you” and that’s okay. Reject their rejection as meaning anything personal.

It turns out that all of of this rejection might add up to something…really good! The MORE you overcome rejection the more rejection resiliency you have. In fact, why not invite rejection by rejecting yourself? Pink recommends writing yourself a rejection letter! “When you read your letter, you’ll probably laugh,” he writes. “Once the rejection is in writing, its consequences can seem far less dire.” You may also uncover your own soft spots that you can address to improve your performance in the future. Too busy to write yourself a rejection letter? Try out the Rejection Generator Projectwebsite which allows you to receive rejection emails of your choosing. The website states it was inspired by "psychological research showing that after people experience pain they are less afraid of it in the future.”

Last, part of the human experience is rejection. You have rejected people yourself, after all. Can you show yourself some compassion for the fact that rejection is a part of life and it stings us all? Try feeling gratitude each time for rejection because it is building your resiliency that will make the sting less and less. Learning to use rejection in a positive way instead of allowing it to tear you down will allow you to fully live out your wildest dreams. Take a deep breath and join the human race as we all face and overcome rejection in the pursuit of something greater.