How To Face Rejection Like a Pro

I decided to be an actor when I was a kid. I attended every audition at school and open-calls for professional productions. During my freshman year of college, more than 500 students auditioned for the main stage season and there were only 70 roles available in 4 different productions. I wanted to get cast in the musical Guys and Dolls. I thought I would be cast because I have strong dance talent and great stage presence. It turned out that I got rejected. Having been cast in professional paying productions made this rejection suck even more.

Deal With Rejection

Let’s face it, rejection is not enjoyable. Whether you ask a crush out on a first date, you interview for a dream job, or pitch your business idea to an investor, you want everyone’s approval and to validate your ideas. When you’re rejected, you can feel worthless and sometimes angry.

So how do you deal with rejection? First, you must realize that rejection is part of life. Everyone faces rejection at some point or another, and you are not alone. No one goes throughout life being accepted by everyone. When you realize that rejection is part of life, you should feel at ease knowing that rejection is a shared experience by everyone else on earth.

Next, you must build your self-esteem. When you place your self-worth in another person’s acceptance, your power is given to the other person. Don’t do it! My dad always says (in his Brooklyn accent), “Forget about ‘em!” If you don’t land your dream job at first, your crush turns down your date invitation, or investors roll their eyes during your pitch, move-on and focus your energy on ideas, people, and projects that build your self-worth, community and value.

When you realize that everyone faces rejection and you have the ability to move on, its time to direct your focus and energy on people and projects that help you thrive and be happy.

Redirect Your Focus

When you are rejected, you tend to focus on your negative qualities. Stop that immediately. You must focus on your positive attributes. Instead of thinking, “My ideas stupid and unworthy,” change that to “There are people who like my ideas. I can’t wait to find them!”

This is not always easy and it takes practice to shift your mindset and way of thinking. The more your shift your attention to positive ideas and supportive people, negative feelings brought on by rejection disappear.

You need to replace the word rejection with opportunity. Every opportunity is a chance to learn how you can grow and improve in the future. Just because you did not pass a class or your pitch was not given an investment, you have the opportunity to understand what you can do better. You can learn something from every experience.

To take this practice into action, I want you to think of two situations: one time when you were rejected, and one time when you were accepted. For each of these instances, answer the following questions and discuss them with a close friend, family member, or colleague. Ask for their honest feedback, and don’t be afraid to be completely open with them. They may share a rejection they faced and you’ll realize that everyone has been rejected at one time or another.