Photo by Giulia May

A couple of weekends ago I gave a presentation via Zoom about the Art of Resilience. Resilience is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, or possessing toughness. Difficulties could mean rejection.

What does rejection actually mean to you? And why do we tend to take it so badly?

I want to help you reframe rejection as simply being re-direction. If we see rejection for what it is, the dismissing or refusing of a proposal, idea, etc, we need never take it personally. We should simply just expect it on the journey to a goal. Striving for any goal, in fact, is never a straight forward process from point A to point B. It is almost guaranteed that you will experience setbacks on the way to achieving your goals and aspirations.

I have 12 tips that can help you to reframe rejection:

See it as re-direction or simply as a delay on the path to your goals.

1. It’s important to see rejection simply as a myth.

I first heard about this idea from reading Jack Canfield’s book ‘How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be’. He suggested that rejection doesn’t really exist and is only a concept that you hold in your head. Just say you asked someone out to have dinner with you and they said ‘no’. Nothing has really changed - you didn’t have anyone to have dinner with before you asked, and you don’t have anyone to go out with after you asked. Nothing has changed. It only becomes a bad experience when you start engaging in self-talk like ‘Of course he/she would never go out with me, I’m such a loser’.

Photo by Anna Damianenko

The point is always to ask, as there is always something to gain. It’s better to know either way than to be left wondering forever.

2. Set Clear and very specific goals

Know what you really want. Ignite your fantasies and really use your imagination. Once you are very clear about your goal you realise that there is never a straight forward journey from A to B. Sometimes people give up on their goals after one or two setbacks. Instead, get emotionally involved in your goal. The expression of that emotional involvement is going to change your behaviour - you will grow.

3 Create Positive Emotions

You have control over your thoughts. You are the sum total of your thoughts, and where you are at any given moment is the result of your thoughts and your choices. Everything we think is our choice. Read that again. Choose positive thoughts. Choose to create positive states of emotion. Instead of self-deprecating thoughts and comments, tell yourself that you are strong and getting stronger! Recall past positive experiences and recreate positive states of emotion. Comments such as ‘I am a hero’, ‘I rise to any challenge’, ‘I cope well in any situation’ are so much more constructive than telling yourself that you’re ‘hopeless and may as well give up’.

4 Adopt the ‘Bounce Back Factor’

Everything is neutral until we attach meaning to it. See rejection simply as a setback. Then decide with absolute conviction that you can and will bounce back from any setback. This is obviously strengthened by keeping your eye firmly focused on your goals and dreams. Having a belief in yourself that you will survive any setbacks creates a strong resilience mindset.

5. Stop Fearing ‘NO’

In all honesty, the only person who can reject you is YOU. Just ALWAYS ask, and don’t allow the fear of rejection to stop you from asking. I have two very curious children and I have always encouraged them to ask when they want to know something. I have explained very clearly that provided they are polite and know exactly what they want to ask for – they should go for it. They understand that they have everything to gain by asking and really nothing to lose. They only lose if they don’t take the chance.

Most importantly, tie your self-worth to the effort and not to the results. Acknowledge that you weren’t perfect when you started and will have grown through the effort.

6. Use words that create a positive image

Human beings don’t see words. We see images. The words we use create images in our minds. The words that we use have a physiological effect on our bodies. Choose great words that create detailed positive images. I am chilled. I am totally relaxed. I am blissed out!

7. Choose Gratitude!

In the moment, it’s not always easy to turn to someone you’re in love with who has just dumped you and say ‘Thank you’! But after some time, we can see these experiences as positive. Give this ‘rejection’ a new meaning - something or someone better is coming. For every door that closes, there are many other, better doors waiting for you.

Photo by Benno Hunziker - Courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera.

I tell the story of when I was singing for a national company and the general music director told me that I would only ever be a chorus singer. I felt totally dejected and sorry for myself after hearing this feedback. But my desire and dreams were so strong that I found another way to fulfil my dream and consequently have had a highly successful and fulfilling career as a soloist not in Australia but in Germany. I wholeheartedly thank that person for ‘rejecting’ me! If I hadn’t had that experience I might never have been redirected into something far more exciting and fulfilling!

8. Expect Amazing Things!

Our thoughts are a form of energy. Ask any quantum physicist. They are made up of protons and electrons. Positive thoughts have a positive effect on our bodies and attract positivity towards us. The same goes for negative thoughts and feelings - they have negative effect and draw negativity towards us. At the risk of repeating myself, we become what we think about. So expect and regularly entertain thoughts of great success, great love, great relationships, and you WILL manifest them. What you think about you attract.

Photo by Cata.

9. Understand that there is no such thing as failure - only feedback!

If you receive a NO for whatever reason, think about how you can do things differently. It may be that you need to gain clarity as to why you received the NO - ask for feedback! See the failure as feedback that you need to take a different approach. Be willing and open to grow and learn from the feedback you receive. How can I do better next time, what do I need to change in order to succeed? We’ve all heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.

Feedback is your pathway to success.

It is really misguided to believe that after trying only a few times and not succeeding that this makes you a failure. Bob Proctor once said ‘Failing does not make anyone a failure, but quitting most certainly does and quitting is a decision’. The great inventor Charles F. Kettering said “When you’re inventing, if you flunk 999 times and succeed once, you’re in!”. It’s the same with singing. It may take 47 auditions before you get your break!

10. SWSWSWSW

I just love this idea! I first came across this acronym when, once again, reading Jack Canfield’s book. ‘Some will, some won’t, so what, someone’s waiting’ If you believe it’s possible and you’re willing to do what it takes to get what you want, it’s really only a matter of time. There’s no such thing as unrealistic goals, just unrealistic time frames.

11. Be KIND to yourself

Saying harsh, critical, horrible and hurtful words to yourself can cause depression and pain. Self-deprecation will most certainly hinder you and self-praise will build you up. When coaching my wonderful clients about empowering self-talk, I always make a point of saying that it’s not a requirement to tell everyone you meet on the street that you’re fabulous or to shout it from your balcony to the people below. BUT you must tell yourself you are fabulous, that you have unlimited potential and that you are able and willing to succeed! You must be your own best friend. It’s imperative!! Whatever follows the words ‘I am…’, follows you!

12. Just say NEXT!

Oh my! How many times have I auditioned in my life? I have literally lost count. Every time I have sung and then later received feedback - some good, some bad, some constructive and some deconstructive. Whatever the outcome, I have just said NEXT!! I know, and have known, that particularly in this career, I must simply just keep going.

I always have my sights set firmly on my goals. Set your goals, visualise yourself already in possession of your goals and enjoy the incredible journey you will have getting there!!

If you want to transform your thinking and your life, contact me and let’s chat about how I can help you do exactly that!!

sharon@sharonkempton-coach.com