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Handling Rejection in Business

Rejection is such a harsh word. It just comes off the tongue aggressively! So, let’s talk about it. Let’s get more comfortable with the word, the experience and see how it can positively impact your business.




What is Rejection

o Rejection is refusing a proposal, dismissing an offer or a flat out ‘no’ to a question.

o In the book, Believe IT, by the Co-founder of IT Cosmetics, Chief Executive Officer of L’Oreal brand companies history, Jamie Kern Lima, talks a lot about rejection. She faced a lot of ‘no’s’, when she was starting IT Cosmetics. She had brands, businesses and people continually turning her down but she persevered anyway.


Accept that Rejection is a part of business

o Rejection, especially repetitive, is an indicator that you haven’t reached your target client yet.

o Rejection is important in identifying areas you can improve and grow

o Rejection can be a blessing, and you may not know it until years later


Understand that everyone faces rejection in some way

o You aren’t the only one facing rejection. Now, this doesn’t make it easier by any means, but it tells you that you are not alone.

o As mentioned, even Jamie Kern Lima has faced rejection throughout her career, prior to being a CEO, and thereafter as well.


Coming to terms with it

o Start by accepting it

o Once you’ve accepted it, it’s okay to take time to process and care for yourself

o Validate your feelings

o Once you’ve given yourself the time and grace to work through the emotions it evoked, then start to move forward


What you can do with rejections

o Sometimes a rejection feels like a hard stop. But it’s not!

o You can use a rejection as an indicator that you aren’t exactly where you want/need to be.

o Use the rejection to sharpen your process

o An example in my life; I had a client who I had worked with for a number of projects, and after the last one she left unhappy. I noticed the communication stopped, and it ‘felt’ weird. I reached out, and long story short, she wasn’t happy with our last project. Now, let me give you some background on it. We had multiple successful projects, then the last one I didn’t stay completely true to my brand/myself. We had slated a certain amount of time for the project, and day of she cut the time down. That put pressure on me to provide a service in a less than ideal timeframe. At that moment I should have stopped and educated her, however, I wanted to sever her and not let her down. So, it didn’t give her the best experience, or give me the opportunity to show up and provide my best. Which leads me to the next point -


Learn From Rejection

o Learn from the rejection.

o With this client, I offered a comped project to make up for it, followed with why the last project didn’t go ideally, nor did I provide the quality of service she was use to me giving. I walked away feeling good, years ago this would have been super stressful for me. But I’ve learned from the rejections I’ve experienced.

o So, when you are rejected, take a step back and reflect on it.

o See how you can adjust and do better next time. Take away from the experience how you can improve

§ Maybe that means educating the person better

§ Writing a better pitch

§ Improving your onboarding

§ Changing your communication method



Rejection can be hard, and it isn’t going away. Every business owner faces it at one point or another. Using these tips can help you grow and improve when you do face rejection.




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