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How to Deal with Rejection and Failure

Coach Chris Magee by Chris Magee
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Even saying it out loud can bring up a painful memory.
Maybe it was a girl we really loved who no longer felt the same way.
Maybe it was being casted out by the cooler kids in school because we weren’t tall enough or good enough at football.
Or how about that first job out of university we wanted so badly but they “decided to go down a different route”.

One thing is for sure – most our upbringings into adulthood have been sugar coated. Throughout our primitive years, we are taught we can have anything we want. We receive “participation medals” for coming in last place and are taught if you work hard, pass your exams and do what your told you will be successful.

The first few years of adulthood can make or break a person’s self-esteem. School does not teach us about the constant rejection and failures we will encounter at the beginning, and indeed, right through our twenties as we learn about the real world. In both our personal and professional life learning to deal with rejection is critical in the path to reaching our full potential.

Let’s break it down.

Why do we fear rejection in adult life? We didn’t fear it as children. We said what was on our mind and spoke our truths. As we grew into adulthood, many people in authority (teachers, parents, priests, managers etc.) told us how to behave, speak, dress and act and this has conditioned many of us to go against our truths and hence we cannot speak our minds authentically.

We have 2 primary fears as humans:

1. The fear of not being good enough
2. The fear of what our peer group thinks about us and not being accepted

Most our life decisions – what we do, and more importantly what we don’t do are driven by these 2 fears.

Think back to the last time you thought about your dream job or the life you wanted to live. What steps are standing between where you are now and your dreams? What stopped you from acting into putting the first steps into making that dream happen?

It was likely one of the primary fears mentioned above.

So, what does this have to do with rejection?

When we think about talking to that pretty girl, handsome man or calling that dream client to set up a meeting our social conditioning and primary fears kick in. This stops us from acting in the fear of being rejected (because we care about what that person will think or that we will never get what we want).

One of our core human needs is for SIGNIFICANCE (the need to feel important) so when we fail or encounter rejection this human need does not get met. A person may feel less important and crawl back into their shell with a shattered self-esteem.

The reality is that around 80 - 90% of the time you will get rejected or fail if you push yourself outside your comfort zone to try and learn or achieve something new.

The first time we aim for a new fitness goal we may fail, learn and give up and slide back onto your couch with a packet of crisps and bar of chocolate thinking, “Fuck that I don’t want to embarrass myself again.”

For entrepreneurs in the early stages, our first start-ups will require clients so in the pursuit of some paying clients many cold phone calls will have to be made and we may get nowhere with the first 10, 100 or even 200 phone calls and give up.

In these moments, we make what is called a key decision which puts a limit on our belief system and stops us from reaching our full potential.

We procrastinate, tell ourselves stories such as:

“I just have to get back into it”
“I don’t have the time”
“Maybe when X, Y and Z happens, THEN I’ll start again”

We are looking for circumstances outside of ourselves to blame to prevent us from taking any action in the pursuit of our dream business, fitness goals or trying to learn any new skill.
The reality is that we are the only ones who can do anything about it. Find a way, not a way out.

Even as I sit here and write this I’m nowhere near where I want to be or do I feel I’ve reached my potential. But at 28, I’ve learned that self-discipline, hard work and most importantly patience is required to achieve what I have set out to do.

Every day I take some sort of action to facilitate the growth of my businesses or myself as a person.

I was numb to rejection when asking for business because I didn’t give a shit. I was confident in my service and business and felt when people said they didn’t need it that it was their loss because we are the best. Once I carried and perceived myself to be like this in my personal life, the results were unbelievable.

How do you deal with it? Good fucking question. I suppose you seen the title of this article and thought one line was going to fix your mindset and you would be bulletproof to anything, anywhere.

I’ve got news for you. Rejection is painful and embarrassing on so many levels. Not asking the girl for the phone number or the client for the business is MORE mentally tormenting than the former. It all depends on which pain you choose to go for. Shitty paradox, isn’t it?

So, start to embrace it. Have fun with it and it does get easier. That one YES out of every ten NOs becomes addictively sweet.

When you start to perceive yourself as a person with high value and you have a lot to offer any personal or professional relationship the results in your life will be better. Your perception of yourself will ultimately lead to self-respect and then respect from others will follow.

“Progress always involves risk, we cannot steal second base while keeping our foot on first” “Fredrick Wilcox”

To move forward in life, we must take risk. We must embrace rejection and become numb to it. As an entrepreneur, we may get 1 client out of every 10 phone calls. The same goes for our dating/relationship life. The fact is most people will not want to date or become our client. So, when the rejection occurs move on, there is somebody right for you as a person or your business.

We begin everything as a novice. Failure and rejection are a natural part of progress and mastering any skill. Bear this in mind next time we fear going after what we want. Learn off other people who have achieved what you want to achieve. They have ALL failed.

They just don’t let it hold them back from getting what they want. And neither should you.

Chris Magee

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