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Three ways to reframe rejection for your own success

How could rejection be a positive? Use these strategies to reframe how you think about changes to your career plan.

A person sitting at a kitchen table with their face obscured by their hands in the stress of rejection.

Have you ever been rejected? If your answer is “no” you’re either lying or you haven’t experienced enough. While rejection has a negative connotation and, yes, it can hurt, it’s not necessarily an all-around bad thing. One can learn a lot from rejection. 

Similar to hearing people say, “if it weren’t for that one relationship not working out, I wouldn’t have met my soulmate.” The same can be true in any facet. Though the relationship initially “rejected” that person, the outcome was far superior.

To be successful – meaning consistently successful and not just lucky – one has to become comfortable with rejection.

When I was first starting as a writer, I clocked 20 rejections on a short story before getting it published. Not only did it feel especially exciting to finally get that acceptance letter, but it taught me a valuable lesson that things aren’t just handed to you (an assumption that many people starting out wrongfully make).

Getting into that mindset early in my career allowed me to expect that rejection is part of the experience. It gives me a chance to form stronger ideas and come back with a better product as a result.

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Here’s three ways to have your mindset see rejection as a positive.

1. Reframing “no”

Starting out as a young entrepreneur, it’s likely many people will tell you “no.” Take that, consider what may have caused the “no,” and figure out how to improve on your product or pitch.

Getting stuck on the “no” will define what comes your way. If you’re only looking at the negative, you’ll never seek the positive.

2. Persistence is key

This creates a trait that is paramount to the success of an entrepreneur: persistence.

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If you’re not willing to be persistent, it doesn’t matter how good your product or service is, you’ll burn out right quick.

3. What’s meant to be, will be

Have you ever heard the phrase, “If that door doesn’t open, maybe it wasn’t meant for you”? If you’re getting a rejection, maybe that’s a sign that it wasn’t the right fit. I’m not saying that a “yes” is an automatic right fit, but, ultimately, you want to work with those who want to work with you. So if you keep trying to find the right fit, the door should open for you.

To recap: seeing the benefits of “no,” staying persistent, and finding the right door are the ways of making rejection work in your favor.

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Staff Writer, Taylor Leddin is a publicist and freelance writer for a number of national outlets. She was featured on Thrive Global as a successful woman in journalism, and is the editor-in-chief of The Tidbit. Taylor resides in Chicago and has a Bachelor in Communication Studies from Illinois State University.


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