Rejecting Rejection

You want to ask. You plan on asking. It would be great to ask and hear “Yes!” The time comes and you don’t ask. Why? Because you don’t want to chance hearing “No.” Ugh! That horrible word!  It contains power, the power to feel rejected. Rather than risk feeling rejected, you say nothing – all because someone might say, “No.”

Defeat comes from inside you. It doesn’t come from an outside decision-maker, that is, the person saying “no.” Imagine a judge passes on your painting for a juried show. You think it’s about you, but it’s not. It’s about the judge’s perspective of how your artwork fits in the show. You didn’t get what you want and disappointment is natural, but how deep do you go?

The sting of rejection may make you want to slink away to lick your wounds. No wonder you’d want to avoid that feeling again. The judge didn’t inflict that feeling upon you, it’s yours. You created it. You own it, and you can disown it. Think of it as a choice.

It may not be easy at first. After all, you put your heart and soul into that painting and a judge didn’t find it suitable for inclusion, which is not to say it wasn’t worthy. Your offering simply didn’t meet the other person’s needs.

What helps many folks is realizing that their emotional investment is separate from themselves as a whole person, just as the painting itself is a separate entity. Your painting could be a better fit in another show or with another judge. Don’t doubt your self-worth or tear yourself down. Tell yourself it’s not personal. Own that instead.

The next time you hear, “no,” you’ll know it’s because there wasn’t a good match. The letdown won’t feel as dramatic. Build on this model and you’ll:

  1. Be more inclined to search out a better match with your self-worth intact.
  2. Objectively assess a situation separate from your feelings.
  3. Be more apt to ask. After all, they might say, “yes!”

For related material read “Captain of the Thought Police” 07-31-09 blog post.

Author/speaker Janet F. Williams is a high-end sales professional, sales trainer and coach for personal and professional development. She speaks on topics contained in her award-winning book “You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get” to businesses, networking groups, non-profits, book clubs and more. For more information or to buy the book, please visit: and

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