How to Productively Deal with Rejection
You worked so hard, prepared for weeks, and gave it your all. Even still, you got rejected. The sting is shocking and painful. You’ve taken some time to process your feelings—so what happens now?
Here are some tips to move on from rejection in a productive way:
✨ Realize what you can and can’t control
You can’t change the situation, but you can change your thinking. We don’t get to choose what happens to us, but we have an incredible ability to choose how we behave in the aftermath. Focus on things under your control, like your self-talk, emotions, and response. What do I mean by that? Instead of going over what you could have said or done in the interview or bashing yourself—try to be kind to yourself. When it comes to the hiring process so much is out of your control. Remind yourself that you have experience and valuable skills that will get you where you want to go, this just wasn’t the right fit at this time.
👀 Look at the situation objectively
What if this happened to a friend or family member? How would you help them cope? What advice would you give them? The situation suddenly seems much more manageable when you envision someone else going through it. You would be able to see that this position, fellowship, or internship isn’t the only one of its kind. You’d tell them they will be totally fine—and so will you!
⚖️ Keep things in perspective
Think about a setback you faced five years ago. That time you failed a test or lost a huge game. In the moment, it was awful, but look how small and inconsequential that feels now!
Try to envision how you would look back at this moment in 6 months, 5 years, or 10 years from now. Will it really matter? Will you even remember it? Our professional paths have a funny way of leading us towards amazing opportunities. Remember this rejection won’t make or break you.
👍 See this setback as an advantage
The only way to know what strength you’re capable of is when you’re faced with moments like these. Rejection can also be amazing learning opportunities. Are there holes in your experience you can fill by taking an online course? Maybe there is a different way to talk about your last internship in interviews. You can even ask for feedback from your main point of contact at the interview. It can be hard to hear what you can improve upon but it’s the best way to get better.
Sure, one door has closed, but what about the hundreds of other doors you had never even considered - that are now wide open as a result?
We will all face rejection. But it’s in how we handle setbacks that shape our character. Interested in diving deeper? I recommend The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday for a longer read.