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How to deal with rejection in life and in business (this story changed my life)


How do you generally deal with rejections?

No one wants a “NO” for an answer in life or business. But “NOs” are part of everyday living.

This happened to me recently. And it changed my life and taught me how to handle rejection.

Long story short, I had a French tutor named Kara (not real name) who was introduced to me through a friend. I fell for her the moment I saw her. I then proceeded to forgot my primary assignment with her was to learn French and instead focused on my other “primary” assignment. I learned that she was single and open to a relationship. I had the green light.

I got the go-ahead from my friend and I also thought (or imagined) that Kara gave me the “green light”. So I went for it.

Did I mention that I was so CONFIDENT that I would get a positive response? I already saw our happy and long future together.

And just like that,  I got a “NO” from her. A hard NO.

My first “NO” from a girl. I insisted with her (respectfully of course) for almost a year and I still got a big NO.

Fortunately, while I “lost” the privilege of becoming proficient in French language, I managed to maintain a great relationship with Kara and still do today.

This epic NO happened in 2014 and I’ve since gotten several “NOs” from many other people – be it socially, dating or professionally. These NOs have taught me a lot and also taught me what it takes to get a YES.

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What do you do when you feel rejected? How do you handle it?

This is a real story with great lessons on rejection and have profoundly impacted my ability to deal with rejection anytime it is thrown my way.

Rejections are part of life and business. And no person is rejection-proof. I have learned to be ready to be receive several “NOs” before I get my one YES. But I have also learned that sometimes you only need that one YES… it can make all the difference.

All these NOs have taught me that you need to learn how to handle rejection with grace. Yes, I just said grace.

Here are 4 tips on how to cope with rejection to come back stronger and more resilient in all aspects of your life.

how to deal with rejection - woman looking forward

#1. Accept that you are human.

You’re not perfect because you’re 100% human… and that is to be expected.

It’s your imperfections that make you unique. Humans make mistakes and you’re are supposed to learn from your mistakes…. that’s why you make them.

Learning from your mistakes make you a better, wiser and more resilient person. The more mistakes you make, the more knowledge you gather.

When you understand this, you begin to welcome rejections because you know they are benefiting you in the long run.

#2. Focus on the positives.

Even though she rejected me, Kara wanted to get to know me and become “just friends” because she wasn’t ready for a relationship with anyone. I discovered this because I stuck around long enough to get to know her as a person. I saw her initial rejection as an opportunity to learn and discover what attracted me to her in the first place. I  learned a lot about her (and myself) in the process of sticking around and not taking the rejection hard.

I was focused on my goal despite the fact that I was temporarily distracted and I won a great friend in the process. I didn’t fret or focus on the negatives or “what ifs”. I kept my head high and moved on.

This can also be applied to your life. Instead of beating yourself up because you were rejected in some form, take time to understand why you were rejected and reverse engineer that to improve yourself.

#3. Use rejection to better yourself.

I have always believed in the saying that “behind every dark cloud, there is a silver lining” and recently I have found this to be very true. By taking that first step to approach Kara, I boosted my self-confidence and I was able to overcome my fear of doing something that once seemed unimaginable to me.

My friendship with her has taught me a lot about life and what if feels like to overcome the fear of rejection. Anytime I want or desire something (or someone), I go for it without a second thought. Countless rejection has taught me to just act within the first 30 seconds. What’s the worst that can happen?

The worst that can happen is that I get a NO and then I’ll move on to the next thing. And the best thing that can happen is that it can always get better.

So, whenever I see a dark cloud in life or business, I focus on the silver lining and how it can improve aspects of myself personally. This alone has really helped me greatly in the handling of my fear of rejection.

#4. Never give up.

For every closed door you encounter, there are a thousand and one other doors that can be opened.

It’s a cliche, I know, but my experience has taught me that it is infinity true.

After I met Kara, I met other women who are equally great because I didn’t give up. I didn’t succumb to my lingering fear or rejection. I was determined and resolute. I made several friends in the process and learned a great deal about myself.

 At one point, I was tempted to curl up and let Kara’s rejection affect my confidence and ability to act, but I’m grateful I did what I did.

Now when I look back at the events that happened that year – and the chain of events that followed – I can say that I am still learning.

My decision to see rejection as a way of improving myself has helped greatly in my relationship with others and in my business. I really hope that this story will change your life as it did to mine.

in your inbox everyday at 10am CST.

No fluff or "pie in the sky inspiration." Just real stories.

Written by Adeyemi Adetilewa

Adeyemi Adetilewa is an entrepreneur who knows about digital marketing in all its forms. Asides from writing and helping businesses, his long term goal is to travel to all the continents in the world with his acoustic guitar, and digital camera.