I was being dumped. She laid out her reasons with a slight tremor in her voice.
“Ok”, I replied, calmly. “Makes sense.”
“Honestly, I thought you’d be more – um, upset.” She arched an eyebrow.
“Nah, it’s cool.” I masked myself well. “Anyway – did you hear the latest about someone-or-other? You won’t believe what they’ve done this time.”
5 minutes later we’re tumbling into the bedroom.
And so it is with life. Nearly all of the damage that is done by rejection is done by ourselves, to ourselves. We sit in it. We stew in it. We boil ourselves alive with self doubt and loathing.
In business it’s much the same. I’ve lost pitches but gone out with grace, and the client has been only too happy to come back when their first choice screws up. I’ve lost employees I wanted, supported them on their way, and had them change their minds.
And sometimes, of course, you just lose.
The truth is, rejection is going to happen all the time. The more you push yourself out into exciting territories – like hot dates, or your own business – the more you’re gonna fall on your ass.
So do it with grace. Reject rejection. Refuse to let it wound you. Taking things personally just teaches others not to risk upsetting you. Dismissing it gives you the strength to do just about anything.
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