Like many other people, I have felt the sting of rejection. There have been jobs I was not hired for, contracts I was not awarded and keynotes I was not selected to deliver. To make matters worse, my 8th grade girlfriend broke up with me (Ocotber 1984). Ugh!
No one likes rejection. However, any good entrepreneur will tell you that you learn more from your failures than your successes. So when these challenges happen to you, how do you recover? What do you do next? Here are some ideas:
- RELAX: The first time I lost a job, I took a break, moped around the house and watched television. My wife told me I could do this for 3 days and no more. Her rationale? Jesus got 3 days before the Resurrection and that was all I was going to get. I took my 3 days. I saw movies, relaxed and threw away old papers and promotional items. I also registered for unemployment. When my three days were over, I got back to work. I picked up the phone and started calling people. I read business books and magazines. I continued to expand my professional network. Result: I had a better job in 4 months.
- LEARNING POINTS: Anytime I don’t get a contract, I ask myself what I could have done differently. In some cases it is a timing issue. The prospective client may not have been ready to buy. Was my price too high? When I did pharmaceutical sales, I always took time after an appointment to have a post call evaluation. After a job rejection, take some time to figure out what went wrong and what you will do differently the next time. Make sure you ask other qualified people for their opinion.
- PLAN: If you are going to apply for another job, have a structured plan. Before starting my current company, SciSpeak, I created a spreadsheet that included my skills, qualifications and job objectives. I also included people I knew at certain companies and how likely I was to actually get a job there. Instead of randomly applying on Monster.com or Careerbuilder for every job listed, I had a daily schedule of people to contact. Similar to a sales funnel, I tracked the progress of my touch points with people.
- ACT: Eventually, you have to take the next step. If you are applying for another contract, fill out the paperwork and submit your Request for Proposal (RFP). If you are applying for another job, start emailing people or working your online network (LinkedIn). This is one of the hardest things to do because it exposes people to the potential for rejection. However, it can also be the step that leads to your biggest payout – financially and emotionally.
Michael Jordan was rejected from his high school basketball team. Abraham Lincoln was defeated in two runs for the Senate. Rejection is not pleasant, but it can be over come. When (not if) it happens, it can define you as a person. Successful people know to accept it, learn something and move on. Something better is coming.
Scientifically Speaking, of course.