Reject the Rejection!

career change emotional intelligence Jun 23, 2023

How many times have you been rejected within the past month?

How about in the past week?

Or in the last 48 hours?

Every minute 7.8 million of our 7.8 billion world population is being rejected - either from a job they thought was their dream job, or from the guy on Tinder they thought was “the one”, or from a bank loan application, or a potentially lucrative client.

You are standing, exposed, having put yourself “out there” revealing everything in your resume, online dating profile, or financial disclosure, hoping for that ecstasy, that adrenaline, that comes when we get the “call” that says yes, “I want YOU”!

But when that yearning for yes turns to an empty silence, we retreat, we doubt, we go to our dark place of self-criticism and spiralling self-esteem.

You want to crawl under the duvet and hide. You wonder what’s wrong with you. Why am I not good enough?

Rejection, unlike failure, is raw, it’s personal! Research out of the University of Michigan shows that not only does the brain process rejection like it does physical injury, but that personality traits, such as “resilience”, are vital to how we process pain. No wonder we’re hurting!

There is also evidence that suggests not being able to “think straight” is a real outcome of feeling rejected. According to research from Case Western Reserve University, exposure to rejection led participants in a study to have an immediate drop in reasoning by 30% and a drop in IQ by 25%.

ALL of us will feel rejection. Rejection is just part of the human experience. The question is: how are you going to respond with resilience?

As a recruiter and career coach, many of my 3000+ job seeking clients have reached out for my help after spiralling into demotivation, depression and self-deprecation because of what a hiring manager said, or…didn’t say.

I’ve even seen some job seekers start to self-reject after just 48 hours of radio silence from the recruiter, even though the hiring process can often take weeks!

So, what do you do after you feel that stab of rejection?

You have two choices.

You can either feel sorry for yourself but get back out there, now with an insecure neediness that turns off future employers.


You can decide that it isn’t personal. That you will push through the discomfort and ramp up your resilience by bravely continuing to collect more rejections in this "numbers game".

Over my 30 years of changing jobs every 18 months, slugging through online dating for more than two decades, and marketing coaching services for 15 years...I have faced plenty of rejection! Weekly!

But I reframed my approach to rejection into a simple 3-prong strategy that I want to share with you:

1st - If they don’t want me why would I want them?

Jobs are a two way street. We get money, feel a sense of purpose, and use our skills for progress. But it has to fit for both sides. And maybe they showed you their true colors when they ghosted you.

Don't force it. Don't be needy.

2nd - Look at the circumstances.

Things are not what they seem – if you didn’t get the job, maybe it’s because there was an internal hire, a change in level, or you were even overqualified.

It’s not necessarily about YOU not “being enough”.

3rd - Break your patterns.

Take rejection less seriously. Less personally.

Redirect the energy to fuel you. To motivate you to want it even more.

Retrain your brain to choose your response intentionally, rather than emotionally (over)reacting.

“Insanity is about doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” - my favorite Einstein quote.

So the next time you’re rejected, don’t forget: if they don’t want me, why would I want them, keep perspective of the circumstances, and break your old brain patterns.

All we have to do is embrace rejection as redirection. It is your choice how you respond.

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