Experiencing rejection comes with entrepreneurship but what makes all the difference is how you deal with it.
By Maymunah Kadiri
By definition, entrepreneurship is a conscious effort aimed at creating a business or a chain of businesses, building and scaling it to generate profit. It encapsulates transforming the world by solving big problems like initiating social change, creating an innovative product or presenting a new life-changing solution.
But what the entrepreneurship definition doesn’t tell you is that entrepreneurship is what people do to take their career and dreams into their hands and lead them in the direction of their own choice.
It’s about building a life on your own terms. No bosses. No restricting schedules. And no one holding you back. Entrepreneurs are able to take the first step into making the world a better place, for everyone in it.
Without entrepreneurs, jobs wouldn’t exist. They take on the risk to employ themselves. Their ambition to continue their business growth eventually leads to the creation of new jobs and as their business continues to grow, even more jobs are created. Entrepreneurs usually dream big so it is natural that some of their ideas bring about positive change. They might create a new product that solves a burning problem or take on the challenge to explore something never explored before. Many believe in improving the world with their products, ideas or businesses.
Entrepreneurs are also some of the biggest donors to charities and nonprofits for various causes. Some seek to invest their money in creating solutions to help poorer communities have access to things we take for granted like clean drinking.
Yet, entrepreneurs often face rejection in business, as they test marketing products and daily activities. Sometimes, it comes in little ways such as having people unfollow their activities on social media, blocking or screening their calls, and refusing to reply their texts.
There is nothing wrong with rejecting people and their businesses. You, therefore, need to shake off the fear of rejection. In more elaborate terms, we will be highlighting two types of rejection – personal and business.
If someone you love and have a personal relationship with rejects you, it makes sense if you feel hurt and avoid such an individual. But when you are rejected by a potential customer who hardly knows you and doesn’t see you providing a needed solution, you should be challenged, not worried.
Mindfully, we understand that we’ll experience rejection in our lives and even as we build our businesses. But when we get to that bridge, it’s usually a completely different scenario.
Whether it’s a teeny-weeny rejection or a major bump in the road, it’s very easy to get lost in the overwhelming feeling of loss. The smallest sense of rejection can easily lead to days (or more) of ignoring business tasks while you binge-watch your favourite movies or do some other thing to take your attention away from the feeling of hurt.
If you are taking action on trying to accomplish your goals, rejection will be a constant phenomenon. If you aren’t being rejected, you have to ask yourself if you’re taking bold steps. Growth happens when you step outside of your comfort zone to do the things that scare you. In that space, rejection is possible.
Here are things to do when you experience rejection.
Take a Moment To Scream
You’re human. You can try bottling all those feelings and emotions inside but good luck with that strategy. At some point, you’ll explode — probably in a way that you’ll regret. Let your humanity out. Scream, go for a run, punch your mini desktop punching bag.
Talk out loud even if you’re alone and acknowledge exactly what’s on your mind. Talk to your significant other or a friend. Bring it up at your mastermind meeting. The point is, to heal you have to first acknowledge. You can’t fix a problem that you won’t admit is there.
Evaluate the “why” behind the rejection
Our minds put rejection in the “not good for us” category but that’s not always the case. Life is our greatest teacher. Rejection offers us the opportunity to make sure what we’re doing is right for us. Evaluate why the rejection came. Determine if this is something you really want to do, but need a better approach.
If you need more expertise, get it. If this is a warning message for you telling you that what you’re pursuing is not what’s best, listen. After you’re done processing your feelings and emotions, get tactical by examining what happened. A rejection can be a bump in the road or worse. What happens next is your choice. I vote for learning and coming back even stronger.
Lifespan of Feelings
The difference between the high achievers and everybody else is the lifespan of their feelings, or how long they dwell on rejection. Most people hold on way too long to feelings of rejection. Nobody likes getting rejected but the high achievers don’t go around for days and weeks telling everybody about the big enough sense of rejection they suffered.
Your goal is to constantly shorten the lifespan of your rejection feelings. It’s never going to be zero seconds because you are not a robot, but you can work on it to get it to a few minutes.
Handling rejection requires you to anticipate. Gaining this perspective will help you internalise the issue at hand and make an informed decision. You address concerns before they arise and you limit the possibility of rejection.
Immediate Positive Reaction
Anytime rejection happens you got to distract yourself immediately. It will help shorten your feelings’ lifespan. This is so you can bounce back and make that next call or appointment and have the right mindset going into it.
Determine your next steps
Your next steps after a rejection have to be strategic and tactical. Take a few days to plan out what to do next. If it’s getting more expertise, be specific about how to do that and attach a timeline to it. If it’s creating a different approach to go after the same opportunity, take some time to examine what others before you have done that helped them achieve success.
Use each rejection to fuel your motivation
It takes a lot to build a business. There will be more than a few times when you’re just not feeling it. You’ll need to be inspired and motivated to keep going when it feels like nothing is going right. There’s a mindset shift that can give you the fuel you need to consistently get motivated. Use each rejection as fire to light you up and motivate you.
Every experience in life offers a lesson. Those lessons help you become the best version of yourself. Refocus the way you view rejection. Get even more determined to accomplish that goal. Use the rejection as your motivation to continue doing the work. At the end of the day, doing the work consistently is what builds your business and accomplishes your goals — it’s not your feelings and emotions.
Experiencing rejection doesn’t have to be the end of our story. Change your story and you can change your life. You have a choice to make and you should never choose anything that takes away your inner power.
View rejection as a lesson and get tactical about what you’ll do next. This is your life and you only get one. Make each experience and decision count.
Dr. Maymunah Yusuf Kadiri popularly referred to as “THE CELEBRITY SHRINK,” is a multiple award winning Mental Health Physician & Advocate with over 15 years experience. She is the Medical Director and Psychiatrist - In - Chief at Pinnacle Medical Services, Nigeria’s leading and foremost Psychology and Mental health clinic prominent in the application of innovative clinical approaches in the management/treatment of a wide range of psychological, emotional, and behavioral related disorders.