August 24, 2020 Jo

Reframing Failure

“Rejection is redirection.” “Failure is not an option – it’s inevitable”. I’m sure you’ve heard those words of consolation and affirmation before. And while they are true, rejection still hurts. And it sucks when you really want that job or that promotion and you put time and effort into getting it and still end up without it.

What you need to do is to re-frame failure. Yes, it will still hurt. But it is most likely not saying much about you as a person – it’s usually a numbers game! Failing something a few times before you master it doesn’t make you a failure. It’s a natural stepping stone to success.

If you come to me and say you feel down about not having a job yet because you keep getting rejected I will ask you to show me your numbers: “Show me your leads sheet, show me how many people you’ve spoken to”. Invariably, it’s not a huge amount. If you’ve been to ten interviews and still don’t have a job, don’t worry! Now, if you’ve been to 20 job interviews and you keep getting rejected, we’ll examine if there is something you’re doing wrong. And then we’ll keep trying! I love the saying: “We don’t stop when we’re tired, we stop when we’re done.”
If you don’t have the results, you’re not done. Imagine if Stephen King would have stopped writing after his debut novel Carrie was rejected for a 29th time. Or if Oprah Winfrey had stopped after she was fired for “not being fit for TV”, according to her producer.

At the end of the day, you only need one win. You need one job. And once you’ve scored that job the failed interviews won’t matter anymore. (I swear there’s a Sex and the City episode out there somewhere of Carrie comparing job hunting to dating!) 

We all encounter rejection. But luckily, we also learn from it. It teaches us about our weaknesses, it keeps us on our toes, it reminds us to try harder. But despite all this, it still hurts. And that’s ok. It shows that we tried, that it meant something to us and that you went after something great.

If you want me to write more about how to deal with rejection and failure, let me know in the comments field!

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