How to Be Rejection Proof

Last Updated May 30, 2011 1:45 PM EDT

When it comes to careers, little risk usually means little reward. Stay safe and don't speak up, meet people or put your ideas out there and you're unlikely to progress very quickly. So why aren't we all busy venturing our opinions and displaying out capabilities all the time? Fear of rejection, of course.

Those who worry about the sting of being told no aren't crazy. Rejection hurts, but that doesn't mean you can afford to avoid putting yourself out there to save yourself the pain. Luckily, there are ways to think about rejection that can soothe the pain and make you braver, according to a recent post on blog Dumb Little Man by Celestine Chua, who offers five ways to defend yourself against rejection. Among her tips:
Expect rejection. Anticipating rejection helps me in two ways. First, it challenges me to set a high benchmark to what I do. Since I'm expecting a rejection, it forces me to push my boundaries and put my best work forward, so as to increase my chances of a "Yes". Secondly, even if a rejection does arise, it helps me to handle it better, since I'm already prepared for it. This doesn't mean you start going "Oh the world sucks and no one will accept what I do/say" and adopt a doom-gloom view. The underlying principle here is to do your best, while preparing yourself to handle the worst.

Maintain your focus of control. There are two focuses of control in life -- external focus, which refers to anything outside our sphere of influence, such as our environment, colleagues, and society. Internal focus refers to what's within our sphere of influence -- our thoughts, feelings, actions, behaviors, etc. Most people will adopt a high external focus of control in the face of rejection, which serves absolutely no purpose other than to feel like crap about yourself. Not only that, you're also relinquishing your power to others. The best way to handle rejection is to maintain your focus of control.... Focus on the things you can take action on. What can you do about this situation? What have you learned about it? The more you focus on actions you can take, the more you empower yourself.

Realize rejection is progression, not regression. Most people dislike rejection because they associate it as regression -- moving backward. To get a rejection means to face a dead-end in your goals. It means you have wasted your time and effort on this for nothing. Right? Wrong. Contrary to popular belief, rejection is progression, not regression. Rejection is actually a step forward to knowing what people want, what's out there in the reality, and how to improve ourselves to achieve our goals. In fact, the more times one gets rejected, the better -- because then you'll have such an extensive understanding of your blind spots and what people are looking for that nothing can take you by surprise anymore. In which case, rejection becomes your best friend and partner in growth.
Intrigued? Check out the complete post for a more detailed explanation of these ideas and further tips. Or if you're looking for more expert insight on how you can shrug off your fear or failure, maybe this video is for you. in it, best-selling author Tim Ferriss counter-intuitively recommends dwelling on possible failure to teach yourself to be immune to achievement-limiting negative emotions is for you. Or if you prefer a kinder, gentler approach to tackling your anxiety, this TED talk argues that in order to allow yourself to be vulnerable, you need to be authentic.

Read More on BNET: (Image courtesy of Flickr user ryaninc, CC 2.0)
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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.