Rejection Therapy: Turning losses into opportunities

Rejection is difficult, let’s be honest. It’s perhaps more painful when you’ve done everything you should do before an application: you’re interested in the opportunity, it suits your skills and interests, your CV looks good and you know the company’s values like no other. However, it is definitely possible to turn losses and rejection into an opportunity and today, we’ll be looking at some ways to help you do exactly that.

1: Ask for feedback.

One of the difficult elements of facing rejection is the element of ‘Why did I get rejected?’ The first and easiest way to turn a rejection into a learning experience is to ask for feedback. Receiving feedback helps us to know exactly where we went wrong and exactly how we can improve the next time. Recently, I applied for an opportunity which seemed ideal for what I was looking for and I got rejected at the very last stage, after about 5 recruitment stages. This was initially very hard to deal with given that I’d put a lot of effort into the process and didn’t even know where it went wrong. However, despite being hesitant at first, I asked for some feedback and the organisation was incredibly helpful and I was able to see where I did well (which was in more areas than I assumed) and knew exactly why they thought I wasn’t right for the position. This is feedback which will be incredibly helpful if I decide to apply for a similar opportunity in future. Asking for feedback puts you in a position of knowing how to do better and that’s a powerful position to be in.

2: Take a break and remind yourself of your ‘why’.

Resting and having time off is one of the best ways to refresh yourself and regain motivation to try again, especially if you’ve lost sight of why you want these opportunities. If you’ve been applying for some work experience for example and haven’t been successful so far, take a break from applying. During your time off, do some other activities you enjoy and which refresh you. After your break, think about why you want to get work experience or why you want a part-time job and use that as motivation to try again. Is it because you want to find out more about a particular sector or to get practical experience of being in the working world? To help you remember your why, put visual reminders around you- whether that’s on a mood board or as a screensaver on your phone.

3: Build your resilience.

See rejection as an opportunity to build your resilience. Whether it’s in application season, at school or just in life, resilience is an important skill and thankfully it’s one that everyone has the ability to develop. One way to develop resilience is to go through the process of trying, learning, taking a break and trying again if you need to.

4: Gratitude and perspective!

After facing a setback or a rejection, our tendency is to immediately assume that we’re doing everything wrong or are just ‘not good at anything’. At Doceo, we are champions of developing a growth mindset and part of that starts with acknowledging the things that have gone well. Remind yourself of some past wins and things you’re grateful for or even reasons why you’re happy you applied for the opportunity regardless of the outcome. It might be useful to do this exercise more regularly (on a weekly or monthly basis for example) in order to keep remembering the things, people or situations we are grateful for. So right now, I encourage you to write down 3 things you’re grateful for this week!

5: Get inspired.

We are definitely advocates of learning from other people’s experiences or advice so if you’d like some inspiration, listen to other people’s stories or read about how they’ve overcome specific challenges. This is such a useful exercise as it reminds us that failure is often a natural result of trying, one which most if not all people experience. If you’d like some recommendations for where to start, have a look at some of our favourite resources for developing a growth mindset.

Let me know in the comments, if you’ve ever dealt with rejection, how do you bounce back from it? Have you ever requested feedback or if not, has today’s post changed how you’ll approach rejection in the future?

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