5 tips on how to handle rejections

Adebola Alabi
7 min readApr 16, 2019

Truth be told, no one likes rejection. It has the tendency of making someone feel less capable, not wanted, and it can damage one’s morale and ego, if not properly handled. Many people are so afraid of being rejected that they resolve to only do things they are completely sure of being successful at and they ended up clinging to the status quo provided by their comfort zone. People that are afraid of rejection will find it difficult to make the necessary sales call, submit proposals for a bid, apply for certain jobs, write an exam that could potentially help them prepare for their next career move, or even reach out to someone they love to express how they feel. The sting of rejection can be brutal, painful, and highly debilitating. When we are rejected, we can feel isolated and unwanted.

Rejection no matter how painful it can be, is almost an unavoidable aspect of life, especially for those people that aim for growth. Everyone that ever try new things will experience their own share of rejection at a point in their life. I cannot forget in a hurry my own story around rejection. I had just immigrated to the United States after leaving my prestigious job in my home country. Immediately, on getting to my new place of residence, I started applying for jobs in order to continue my career. I had submitted hundreds of applications, and I got called to attend only a couple of interviews. The first set of interviews did not go as planned. I was rejected.

Initially, it was not a big deal to me, but as the number of rejection letters kept piling up, I began to lose faith in my ability to secure a new job. I started doubting myself and the possibility of getting into my desired career field in the country. Several thoughts were coming into my mind on what I need to do so that I can take care of my personal needs and that of my young family. I was going to settle for a job that I truly do not want, but due to encouragement that I received from my wife, I did not give up. I doubled down on my job application and focused intensely on what I truly wanted, and I made a decision not to settle for anything less. Not too long afterwards, my decision and determination paid off, I got not just one offer, but about three different job offers after a few weeks of waiting. I learned so many important lessons from the strings of rejections that I experienced while job hunting.

Many people are at a crossroad of decision making today, they have experienced several rejections in the past. They have been disappointed and heartbroken as a result of being turned down several times. The way you choose to respond to rejection could determine the entire course of your future. You can choose to give up and settle for the status quo, or you can be like me and fight back and not let the rejection stopped you on your path to what you truly want. No one can truly experience real success without first facing some rejections. Martin Luther King Jnr’s dream of an American devoid of racism was initially rejected. Nelson Mandela’s idea to end apartheid in South Africa was vehemently rejected and it led him to jail. But these men did not bow out without some fight, they held on to their beliefs and desires.

Have you given up on what you want because you’ve been rejected several times? Have you lost hope about your dream turning into reality? If so, here are some tips that will help you to deal with rejections.

1. Don’t run: The easiest and the worst thing you could do when you faced rejection is to give up and run away. Doing this will not only make it difficult to confront future challenges, it will also make it difficult for you to achieve your goals. If you give up at the first rejection that you get, you will not know what it really means to achieve your dreams. Thomas Edison put it right when he said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.This is the same way you should handle rejection. When you are turned down on what you want, don’t look at it as a show stopper, rather take it that you have learned a way that will not work, and fine-tune your approach such that you will be in a better position the next time around. For example, if you are submitting job applications for certain role and you have been turned down on several occasions in the past, the next time around before you submit your application, take a pause and assess your strategies to see if you are doing something wrong. You can ask yourself questions like — Do you really understand the job role? Are you well prepared for the interview? Do you need a coach to guide you in your interview prep? Is your resume up to date? Do you have the skills required for the job? And so on. Based on your analysis, you may find out a thing or two that you might have been doing wrong, and therefore tweak your strategy to achieve your goal.

2. Ask why: Asking questions is a good thing and it will lead you in the right directions. If you learn how to ask the right questions, you may be able to get some clues as to why you were rejected in the first place. Asking why will make you gain new perspectives about your intention. For example, let’s say you submitted loan application to banks to lend you money for a new business venture that you are about to launch. You were turned down by the first, the second, the third and up to the tenth bank. If you do not ask why, you will never know why you were turned down. If you can take your time to ask the question, why was my application rejected? You will be able to put yourself in a position to learn and do what is required to get your loan application approve in future. So, when next you are rejected on any of your endeavor, take a moment to ask why. When you ask why, you will learn about what you did wrong or where you fell short of any requirements you ought to have met. You must ensure that you completely address the concerns expressed when you were rejected during your last try, before your next attempt.

3. Overprepare: You have been rejected, it was a painful and harrowing experience, but you need to get back in the game and fight back. You should let the pains and the negativities around the rejection be a fuel to push you to prepare better the next time around. You should prepare as if your life depends on the outcome in your next attempt. Collin Powell put it right, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure”. That is what you need to get you ready and turn the rejection finally into acceptance. By preparing and working harder, you will be able to learn from your past mistakes and position yourself to become a winner and turn the rejection to future acceptance.

4. Go again: Perseverance is a trait that you need to possess to help you effectively deal with rejection. If you were rejected, don’t just accept it and close the door. You shouldn’t let rejection knock you down on your path to your goal, you should get back in the arena and give it a try again. J. K Rowling, the wildly successful author of the Harry Potter series was rejected twelve different times before the thirteenth publishing company gave her a chance. One can only wonder, what would have become of her, if she gave up on the third or tenth attempt. Be like J.K Rowling, go again, and again, until you get your desired outcome.

5. Change Perspectives: Michelle Phan said“I believe that rejection is a blessing because it’s the universe’s way of telling you that there’s something better out there. Now that you have tried all you could, you have been pursuing your particular goal for many years but results are not coming, maybe it’s time to reconsider and change your perspectives and explore other possibilities. You have been applying for jobs for many years, you did not get the kind of job that you are happy about. A change in perspective may lead you to starting your own business. You have tried to start a business as a real estate broker, but you are not able to close enough deal to make it a business. A change in perspective may mean starting a new business, maybe in the construction field. You have expressed your feeling to that lady, you have tried to woo her with all the tactics you know, but all is to no avail. A change in perspective can lead you to another special lady that will create your love at first sight story. Sometimes, re-routing and changing our perspectives may be the answer that will open new doors of possibilities and create the kind of life that we truly desire.



Adebola Alabi

A Certified Financial Education Instructor. Mission is to help bring out the best in others. Thanks for reading my work. Check my website www.winnersways.com.