Recently, I was talking to my girlfriend on a lunch break, and her usual perky voice fell flat as she told me the disappointing news that she did not get the job promotion she wanted. For over 10 years, she followed the playbook for her career path and built positive relationships along the way for the company she admired. Yet, her leaders, all of whom were familiar with her and who spoke favorably of her work, decided to give the promotion to someone outside the company – a person unfamiliar with the company culture but who had “more experience.”
Being told no, especially by those whom you have been loyal to and who know you inside and out, happens all too often in business and in life. You can do everything right and by the book and still face the discouragement of a closed door. It happens to both men and women, albeit disproportionately, in every race and in every stage of life.
I, too, know what such rejection feels like, to be denied something that you believed was yours, and to have all of your hard efforts and successes forgotten, overlooked or ignored.
However, it’s good to be told “no.” No is a defining moment. It can either serve to mobilize you or paralyze you; force retreat or redirect your steps. No challenges the belief in yourself and the courage in your heart, rousing up that hidden strength that you never knew was there. No matures, builds, and sculpts you into a truer, more creative version of yourself. No keeps you grounded, grateful, centered, and humble. No is just as empowering as yes.
Oftentimes, the immediate response to being told “no” for a desired opportunity is negative. Hurt, followed by anger, has the potential to lead to foolish antics and disgruntled attitudes. This is not unusual but can be counterproductive to attracting other opportunities if left unchecked.
Consider this: How does one press through the pain of being told “no”?
1. Do not self-blame. There is nothing wrong with you. Even the most intelligent, most experienced, and most qualified people are denied opportunities. When you have given your best, and the answer is still “no,” then just accept the outcome, learn whatever you can from it, and be open to other possibilities.
2. Extend yourself. Congratulate the person who did win the opportunity you wanted and offer your support, if applicable. This not only shows grace in defeat but it displays your professionalism, dignity, humility, and the strength of your character. Let your organization know – and the individual that was crowned – that this is how you “show up.”
3. Be positive and patient. Maximize the opportunity that you already have. If you remain committed to excellence in the work you do, utilizing the talents that make you unique, then eventually the right doors will open for you.
4. Leverage your talent to meet a need. This is how you make yourself relevant. The more you meet a need, the more you increase your value to that person, team, and organization. The more valuable you are, the more you attract opportunities.
Some of the most iconic, successful individuals in the world experienced rejection from organizations before reaching unimaginable heights in their career – Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, and Walt Disney to name a few. I have also witnessed countless ordinary individuals who received greater opportunities than they could have ever dreamed because of their courage to persevere.
Therefore, be grateful when your boss tells you “no.” Painful rejection is often the catalyst to shaping and positioning you for a better, more promising future.
Juliet Hall is available to speak and present to your organization on OWN YOUR OPPORTUNITIES™. Click here to request Juliet.