When I was 18 years old I met someone who I thought was very successful. I vividly recall asking him, “How do I become as successful as you?” His response has remained with me my entire life.
“When you have been told ‘No.’ as many times as I have been, you’ll be successful.”
A light bulb went off in my head. Game on.
Except that, it isn’t that easy. Rejection sucks. It hurts and can be emotionally draining. I don’t care how tough you are, no one likes rejection, and yet, you will have to learn how to overcome it as it is weaved into nearly every part of your life including but not limited to your dating life, social life, sports, insurance carriers, credit card applications, and even employment to name but a few.
Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to soften the blow and keep moving forward. As a Real Estate Broker who employs Real Estate Agents & Professional Salespeople, I can always tell when one of my sales agents has taken a beating at the hands of the rejection monster. I can hear the defeat in their voice and the fatigue in their posture. They may not say it verbally, but their body language says, “I can’t take this.” This is no different than the person who has been applying to job after job without being hired, or the person who has tried every dating site or app on the web without getting to the second date or worse yet, no dates at all.
Here’s the truth. You can take this. Rejection is just another form of resistance no different than the resistance our bodies must tolerate in order to build the physiques we want. I’d even argue that we can see the results in the same fashion we see our bodies improve, it’s just more subtle. As you become more resilient to rejection you gain confidence and that confidence is usually projected in the way you carry yourself and the way you dress & look. Trust me, you can spot someone who exudes confidence, and I will contend that a lot of that confidence stems in their ability to tolerate rejection. These people have an IDGAF what you think about me attitude. Now I know some of you will argue that this is a mask that some people put on to protect themselves from their insecurities, and while that may be true in some cases, that mask eventually grows thin and we all have to eventually deal with the person we face in the mirror every morning.
I am going to give you 3 quick tips on how to deal with rejection.
Tip #1 – It’s Not Personal
I know you’ve heard, “It’s not personal.” before. You may have also heard different variations of this that include, “It’s not you. It’s me.” or “You were a great candidate, but…”
Anyway you look at it, it’s a form of rejection, and as corny as it sounds, it isn’t personal. That’s right. It. Is. Not. Personal.
I want you to think of your favorite desert. What is it? For me it’s always something fruity and tart. Now, what is your least favorite food? If someone offered it to you would you eat it? Of course you wouldn’t because you don’t like it. When you reject the offer for your least favorite food, does that person break down emotionally? Nope. Why not? Because the fact that you dislike [insert least favorite food], has little to no effect on them. It is not a personal reflection of what you think about them at all, even though it was a form of rejection.
There are some men and women who are attracted to a certain look. Some prefer blondes or brunettes and some like their men with a little fur and facial hair. You can’t change what someone is attracted to, and while you might argue that you can change your physical appearance to match someone else’s tastes, that is a slippery slope you don’t want to be on. Once you start trying to change yourself for someone else, you start to lose your identity. I’m not going to get to deep into this, all I am repeating is that: it’s not an attack on who you are, it’s just what someone else is attracted to. Don’t take it personal.
In business, when someone chooses another product or service-it isn’t personal. Do you have any idea how many times I’ve heard, “Paul, we like you as a person, but we’ve decided to go with XYZ firm.”? More times than I care to admit. And you the know the weird part? I really felt like I had connected with many of those clients during my sales presentation. Why did I lose the sale? Because, say it with me, “It isn’t personal.” I lost that sale because my product or my service, or my presentation was not on point. I had to take responsibility and inventory of that fact. It wasn’t my personality that cost me the sale, it was my presentation or my inability to convey the benefits of my product or service. Once I understood this and took ownership of this, I was able to improve my presentation and properly explain why someone needed to sign with me instead of XYZ firm.
This same rationale applies to job hunting. If you know that you are applying for a position that requires some skills or qualities you don’t have, then you had better spend some time improving yourself instead of blaming the employer for not hiring you.
Tip #2 – Identify Who Your Prospect Really Is
One of the reasons most professional salespeople suffer a great deal of rejection is because they improperly label someone a candidate for their product, service just because some was nice to them or let them speak. Ditto for the dating scene.
Guys& Gals, just because someone gave you 5 minutes of their time does not mean that they are ready to date you.
Improper classification of a prospect is a HUGE reason that people suffer unnecessary rejection because they continue talking to the wrong people who aren’t going to buy what you have to offer anyway.
In sales you need to be spending most of your time prospecting for clients and then identifying which of those clients are potential buyers, or sellers in my case, and then spending most of your time with those opportunities. You have to be willing to let go of clients just as quickly as you have identified them as a lead that isn’t going to perform. I know what you are going to ask yourself next, “At what point do I let them go?”. I’d say after about 4-5 attempts with no contact is a good time to place them on some type of automated campaign. That’s a topic for another blog entry. Either way, get used to casting your net wide, and then sifting through the possible candidates. When you do this, you will see that you are actually being rejected less because you’ve properly identified the right prospects to invest your time in, and your closing ratio will go up.
The same rules apply to the dating scene. Don’t believe me? Why does Eharmony use their proprietary 32 dimensions to identify common interests to match people up? It is designed to help people properly identify the right candidates for them to date. When you do this, it brings down the rejection level considerably.
Tip #3 – Fill Your Pipeline
This might sound a little similar to the last tip, but it is worth mentioning. Once you’ve mastered identifying who your ideal prospects are, it is important that you don’t stop mining for gold. In other words, you can’t stop prospecting.
How does this help me deal with rejection? Well for one thing, if you spend most of your effort prospecting to fill your pipeline, then investing the rest of your time properly identifying the candidates you get, you have little to no time to spend wallowing in your rejection sorrows.
Filling your pipeline may mean different things to different people. At work it means constantly seeking out clients. On the job hunt it may mean applying to as many jobs as you feel qualified for, and for the dating scene, it means dating as many people as you feel comfortable dating until you find Mr. or Mrs. Right. Filling and re-filling your funnel instills a sense of confidence and independence in yourself, and prevents you from just settling for what is handed to you.
Rejection is not fun, but it is a part of life, and the sooner you learn how to deal with it, the more successful you will become in every area of your life. I hope these quick short tips help you on your quest to become the happiest and best version of yourself.
Originally published on PaulArgueta.com on 11/20/2019