Ouch! The Pain Of Rejection

Alyssa Gregory

rejectionRejection hurts. And unfortunately, it’s a common occurrence for freelancers and business owners, especially for those in the creative world. We get rejected by potential clients; our design ideas get rejected; and we get rejected for new business opportunities. Have you ever thought you were a shoe-in with a new client, or created the “perfect” design only to get shot down? Yep, me too.

Even if you are anticipating the rejection, it still never feels good. Human nature makes us want to succeed and be accepted, and being rejected is never something we look forward to or accept happily. As much as rejection stinks because it derails our carefully laid plans, deprives us of a much-desired new opportunity, and provides a solid hit to our egos, it does make us better at what we do, smarter and stronger. Here’s how:

You learn something.

Actually, you may learn a lot of things. Being rejected can teach you something about yourself, your work, your capabilities, your ability to communicate effectively, areas you need to improve, and how you deal with criticism. If it is a project-based rejection, you may also learn a great deal about the client and what they’re looking for. This information is a vital part of the design process, and it helps to think of it that way instead of as a personal rejection.

The best type of rejection includes constructive criticism and feedback that will help you do it differently (and better) next time. Each potential client relationship and un-won proposal is a worthy practice in selling yourself and your abilities. The more you pitch yourself, whether you win the contracts or not, the better you will get at it, the more confident you will be, and the more success you will achieve over time.

It puts things in perspective.

Most rejections are not personal. And most importantly, a rejection does not define who you are or how successful you are at what you do. A rejection simply means you’re not the right person at this time for a particular opportunity. In the big scheme of things, being rejected will mean very little, and it frees you up for other opportunities that may come along. Just like the saying goes, “When one door closes, another one opens.”

It makes you hungrier.

Getting rejected gives you an opportunity to start fresh with a clean slate, more determined to succeed the next time. Being told “no” can make us want to hear “yes” even more, which means we may work harder and focus more on the details in order to put ourselves in the best position possible for avoiding being rejected again. Not to mention, success is so much sweeter when it was preceded by a struggle, and rejection can make victory much more appreciated.

What’s your silver lining when you face rejection?

Image credit: Ali Farid