Entrepreneurs, Here’s How to Overcome Rejection…Again


In any part of life, rejection can be painful. For entrepreneurs, rejection can be a surprising and painful blow. In fact, in my own experiences with entrepreneurs, I’ve seen that the ability to be generally successful at most things can make a sudden, major rejection almost overwhelming.

Although rejection is difficult, how an entrepreneur responds to it is even more important. In a world where 50% of startups fail in their fifth year, how you react to rejection and setbacks is key to your ability to move on to bigger and better things.

Getting rejected for a major transaction or losing a big customer is tough. It can also make it harder for your business. But learning to overcome rejection over and over again will provide you with valuable opportunities for growth and learning that you won’t get otherwise.

Don’t let expected success trump facts

Rejection can be especially difficult for entrepreneurs who have had repeated success in most other areas of their lives. Confidence and optimism are essential traits for entrepreneurs, but sometimes they can become vices.

In some ways it may be similar to the Dunning–Kruger effect, a form of cognitive bias that causes people to overestimate their own skills or knowledge, even in areas where they have limited skills. Although successful entrepreneurs are rarely incompetent, they may overestimate their chances of success based on past results or their own self-confidence, rather than quantifiable facts.

When our brains anticipate a desired outcome, we may feel that success is already there. But this kind of anticipation can fuel false confidence, obscuring objectivity about how things turn out Actually To go. Visualizing success is a useful tool to inspire our teams and stay focused on a goal. The key is to never allow your visualization to turn into waiting, or you could expose yourself to amplified pain if things don’t go your way.

Like Joshua George, founder of ClickSlice explained in a recent conversation, “When it comes to areas like search engine optimization, you can’t rely on ‘gut feeling’ to tell you whether your metrics are improving or not. All good feelings of the world make no sense when compared to the actual performance numbers. Unfortunately, many tend to let emotions take precedence over what the numbers tell them. This can lead to great disappointment when the results don’t measure up understanding what is really happening is key to putting the results into context and taking appropriate action.

practice humility

Rejection can be a powerful learning opportunity for entrepreneurs – but only when they have the humility to recognize and correct their own potential shortcomings. Like it or not, your own actions will usually play a role when your entrepreneurial endeavors are rejected.

Humility has long been cited as one of the most important traits a leader or entrepreneur can develop, improving the engagement and performance of their entire team. A key part of this humility comes from the fact that a leader knows they don’t know everything and can learn from almost anyone.

As George noted, “Soliciting feedback from decision makers is one of the most valuable ways to learn from any company rejection. It helps you go beyond the basic “no” and understand the “why” that led to this decision. When you can connect quantifiable results to deeper motivations, you get the critical insights you need to avoid making the same mistake twice. »

Rather than becoming bitter or comparing themselves to others, humble leaders reflect on what they can do to improve and solicit all available feedback so that today’s ‘no’ can lead to ‘yes’. of tomorrow.

As Marshall Goldsmith notes in his recent book, The life gained; Forget Regrets, Choose Fulfillment, “Motivation is a strategy, not a tactic. Motive is the reason why we act in a certain way. Motivation is the reason we continue to act this way. It’s the difference between running impulsively on a sunny afternoon to release restless energy and running six days a week month after month because you want to get in shape, lose weight or train for a race. In identifying your motivation, be sure to rate it on its long-term sustainability and be realistic about your ability to withstand risk, insecurity, rejection, and difficulty. Two questions: How have you responded to adversity in the past? Why will it be different this time?

Acknowledge the pain, but don’t let it overwhelm you

“It’s not personal…it’s strictly professional” can have become a pseudo-cliché in the business world, but there’s no denying that for entrepreneurs, their work is intensely personal. After pouring your passion and effort into something, it can be a real emotional shock to see it rejected.

How you deal with this pain will directly influence what you do next. At one end of the spectrum, there are entrepreneurs trying to bury their feelings of disappointment or sadness after a rejection. But this emotional suppression can eventually reappear in other destructive behaviors, both at work and in personal life.

On the other side, there are those who abuse their pain. Rather than acknowledging their own shortcomings, they use a victimized response that blames others. They may blame the decision maker for making a bad choice by rejecting them, or even blame their own team members for the failure. This can lead to bitter feelings that erode vital business relationships. This focus on grievances can be really debilitating to your personal and professional growth.

Instead, entrepreneurs must find the balance where they can acknowledge the pain of their rejection without letting it become overwhelming. Naming what you lost because of the specific rejection can help you put things into perspective and identify how other similar opportunities are still available. Rejection isn’t the end of your entrepreneurial career, it’s a temporary setback. As you mindfully process the emotional pain associated with rejection, you can focus on how you can learn and grow to take advantage of future opportunities.

Control what you can control

As nice as it is to imagine that everything that happens in your entrepreneurial career is under your control, that’s just not the case. Whether you made a mistake in your pitch to a prospect or world events completely disrupted your industry, you can’t change the past.

As Goldsmith writes, “In many cases the results of choice, risk, and maximum effort are not ‘just and fair.’ isn’t always right. It starts at birth: who your parents are, where you grew up, your educational opportunities and so many other factors, most of which are beyond your control.

But you can control how you react to rejection and apply it to your future endeavors. When you turn rejection into a learning opportunity rather than a devastating blow, you will experience invaluable growth that can serve you well throughout your career.

Rejection is one of life’s most painful experiences, especially if you’re used to being successful. It doesn’t have to be debilitating. Beneath the disappointment of rejection, there are lessons and growth awaiting us if we have the courage and humility to discover them.


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