Lately we’ve been coaching a number of Founders struggling with rejection. Whether it’s losing business to a competitor, pitching a Venture Capital firm for funding and receiving a “not interested”, or losing key employees who jump ship for another firm we can likely all agree that rejection isn’t an awesome feeling.
Learning how to manage and push through rejection (whether it’s personal or professional) is a skillset that doesn’t come naturally for even the most optimistic of us- it must be cultivated.
Cultivate the ability to separate what may feel like a personal rejection from a professional one. Emotional resiliency is key.
Here are a few of our best tips for managing through rejection.
- Don’t take it personally. Most salespeople are exceptionally adept at managing rejection and quickly pushing past it, but this can be more challenging for those of you who aren’t accustomed to being told “no” multiple times a day. Cultivate the ability to separate what may feel like a personal rejection from a professional one. Emotional resiliency is key.
- Persist. No doubt you’ve heard the saying “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” A “no” to a sales effort likely doesn’t mean “no, forever” (on average, it takes 20 “no’s” to obtain a “yes” in the sales cycle!). Some Founders pitch upwards of 80 Venture Capital firms before securing funding. An employee’s departure may open a new opportunity for another within your firm or a new hire may turn out to be a superior performer.
- Ask for feedback and keep the door open for future conversations. Open dialogue and asking sincere questions are your best opportunity for avoiding future rejection. Lose a project? Ask the client what you could have done differently to secure their business and make sure you ask for future opportunities to work together. Maybe you received a “no” to a funding request? Ask for feedback on your investor pitch. Lose a valued employee? Make sure you conduct an exit interview to determine what, if anything, you could have done to keep them and onboard any feedback about your work environment that could potentially cause future attrition.
Interested in reading more about how to manage through rejection? Check out this article from Harvard Business Review for more tips and tricks.