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It’s very rare for people to not experience any type of rejection at work (and in life). No matter how smart, qualified, attractive or charming you are, there will always be certain positions and opportunities that simply won’t be handed to you, regardless of how much you want it or how hard you worked to attain it.

There are so many reasons behind rejection – politics, competition, wrong timing, wrong fit and others. Some of them make sense, and some of them don’t and just seem unfair. The important thing, however, is you can’t let rejection keep you down. You can’t let someone’s “no” prevent you from becoming successful or getting what you want.

If you have failed, once, twice, or several times but you believe in that “something” that your life is supposed to do, you should learn from that rejection and continue persevering. After all, success is often the product of “learned failures”.

JK Rowling, author of the wildly successful Harry Potter is one such example – she was rejected by at least 12 publishers before becoming one of the most influential writers today. Arianna Huffington, Oprah Winfrey and Sheryl Sandberg are also examples of women in the spotlight who went through hardships and rejections in their career and personal life prior to their current success.

Persevering is the logical thing to do but how exactly do you make rejection work out for you and transform it into a tool for achieving your goal? Well, we’ve got you covered.

What To Do

1. Find people who can prop you up. Turn to your family and friends for encouragement – the people who love you will not only be your shoulder to cry on (it does hurt after all to get rejected), they can also provide you a positive perspective of the rejection. You may also want to turn to a personal coach who has the tools that can help you create something good out of rejection.

2. Take time to reflect. Think about the criticisms you’ve received. You truly may be lacking in some aspects so you need to find out how you can make up for what you lacked. Try not to get defensive over it, instead listen hard.

3. Analyse and identify. Do your homework. Examine what happened to determine the good/strong and bad/weak stages of the situation. What could you have done differently? How can you adapt?

4. Take a break. Pull away for a while especially if you keep getting the same disappointing outcome. Create time for self-reflection so you can break or snap out of the trend. Sometimes you need to extract yourself from a situation in order to see things more clearly and with a broader perspective. Remind yourself that rejection is just a “moment in time” – it doesn’t determine the rest of your life unless you allow it to.

5. Chuck the idea of luck out of the window. Never make it a variable in the equation to achieving your dreams.

6. Combine persistence and experimentation. Let rejection inspire you to try new strategies for success. Work hard, efficiently, and tweak the tactics that you’ve been working with to see how big a difference they can make in taking your closer to your target results.

7. See both sides. Always remind yourself that there are good and bad in every situation. In the case of rejection, it may be a discouraging incident in your life but it’s not an entirely bad thing for it may have happened due to various reasons – maybe you simply weren’t prepared for what you wanted, or there’s something out there that’s a better fit for you that you still need to discover.

8. Next steps. When you experience rejection, the next order of business is to stage your comeback. However, do so by starting with small goals that are much easier to accomplish. Success with these small goals will boost your self-confidence, hone your skills, and develop your personality – all necessary ingredients for the recipe of success.

It’s so easy to feel disappointed, discouraged and frustrated when you get rejected but that shouldn’t end your world. With the right attitude and mindset, rejection can propel you closer to the success you’ve been aiming for.

Salma El-Shurafa is an experienced Executive Coach and founder of The Pathway Project. She is a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach from The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and a graduate of CTI’s Co-Active Leadership program.

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