How do you keep going after being rejected over and over and over again? How do you keep trying after you’ve been turned away from a job, a grant, or an opportunity? How do you stop yourself from taking it personally? How do you stop yourself from feeling like you’re not good enough?
Tune into this week’s episode of Fridays with Ferne to learn about how to deal with rejection!
Read the episode's transcript here:
Tell us, how do YOU deal with rejection? Do you have a case or a topic that you’d like us to discuss? Reach out! And if there's a challenge you'd like to talk about here on the podcast or privately, please send an email to us:
[00:00:05] Kim Ades:
Hello, hello. My name is Kim Ades, I am the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching™ and the Co-founder of The Journal That Talks Back™. You have just joined The Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast, and today is Friday's with Ferne. Ferne, welcome!
[00:00:19] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:00:21] Kim Ades:
How's it going?
[00:00:22] Ferne Kotlyar:
Good! Very good. The weather's finally getting nice. I love being outside. Wow.
[00:00:28] Kim Ades:
I agree. Yesterday we went for a long walk, the sun was shining, and I came home and I noticed I was in a substantially better mood.
[00:00:36] Ferne Kotlyar:
Yeah. I went for a run yesterday and I think the good energy's still here today.
[00:00:42] Kim Ades:
Good. All right. What do we wanna talk about today?
[00:00:45] Ferne Kotlyar:
All right. So today I have more of a general question rather than a case, but the general question is: how do you deal with rejection? And I think this can be applied to so many different things, with respect to jobs, grants, scholarships, with respect to people, you know, dating, all the aspects of rejection.
How do you deal with it? And actually I heard an interesting thing today. They said, instead of "how do you deal with rejection", "how do you accept rejection". Because it's gonna happen. So...
[00:01:16] Kim Ades:
It's so interesting, because what is reject– the word rejection is interesting to me. So, let's define rejection for a minute. What does it mean?
[00:01:25] Ferne Kotlyar:
I guess in this context, if you apply for something, or if you ask for something and you get denied. So for example, as I mentioned earlier, you apply for a job and you don't get the job.
[00:01:40] Kim Ades:
Okay. So it's funny. You apply for the job, you don't get the job, and then you call it rejection.
[00:01:46] Ferne Kotlyar:
What would you call it?
[00:01:47] Kim Ades:
You didn't get the job.
[00:01:49] Ferne Kotlyar:
And so rejection means what then?
[00:01:52] Kim Ades:
Rejection is a term we invented. Which is really, really emotionally loaded, which has the feeling like we have fallen short, we are not good enough, we don't fit the bill, we don't meet the standards. Right? Isn't that how it feels?
[00:02:18] Ferne Kotlyar:
I guess so.
[00:02:20] Kim Ades:
Okay. The topic of rejection is interesting, 'cause I've never really... It's not that we've never talked about rejection. We've never talked about rejection in a public format, so in a way we're talking it through as we're talking now.
But rejection is this concept that says, "Hey, when I go for something and I don't get accepted into that something, or I get denied, therefore I'm rejected". And if I'm rejected... Right? The word rejected, rejection, makes it sound like "I am not good enough, not accomplished enough". Right? And that framing causes problems.
[00:03:10] Ferne Kotlyar:
So we call it like, "oh, I just wasn't accepted", or "I didn't get hired" or "that person doesn't like me back" or...
[00:03:20] Kim Ades:
Right. So when we call it rejection, we're assigning meaning to it.
[00:03:25] Ferne Kotlyar:
Aren't you assigning meaning to basically all the words you use?
[00:03:29] Kim Ades:
We, we do, but the problem is that when we don't get accepted for a job and we call it rejected, we go on this train that causes us a lot of pain and struggle. And so, you know, you said earlier, "I heard somewhere where people said you have to learn to accept rejection", and I'm not sure that I agree with that.
I don't think we need to learn to accept rejection. We can accept failure. Failure will happen in this lifetime.
[00:04:04] Ferne Kotlyar:
And failure doesn't have a negative connotation?
[00:04:08] Kim Ades:
No, not necessarily.
[00:04:09] Ferne Kotlyar:
So then why does rejection necessarily have to have a negative connotation?
[00:04:14] Kim Ades:
I'll tell you why, because rejection insinuates that it's someone else's choice to accept you or not accept you. Does that make sense?
[00:04:25] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:04:26] Kim Ades:
So when we get "rejected", it means it's someone else's decision about whether or not we qualify. Yeah, that's exactly it. And when that happens, we go into a tailspin inside our mind that says, "I'm not smart enough, good enough, good looking enough, whatever... prepared enough, educated enough", all of those things. And I think that causes us to get into this hole, this funk that makes it harder to get out of.
So do I think it's okay to go through life knowing that not everything's gonna be a fit? Yes, not everything's gonna be a fit, not every job you go for, you'll get. Not every relationship you'll start will end in marriage. Not every... Whatever [chuckles] not every test you take will you get an A+, right?
That's okay. We can accept that. We can accept that not everything is a fit. We can accept that every group we try to belong to doesn't work for us. That's very different from being rejected.
[00:05:39] Ferne Kotlyar:
But just to go back to this failure thing, why is failure better? Why is it okay to say "I failed", but it's not okay to say "I got rejected?
[00:05:48] Kim Ades:
Because failure is something that is not externally imposed or externally decided. If I fail at something, it's in my hands, I can do something with it. If I get rejected by someone else, nothing I can do with it. Nothing I can do about it. Right?
[00:06:07] Ferne Kotlyar:
I don't know if it's so black and white, but okay.
[00:06:10] Kim Ades:
But the thing is, if I fail at something, I can try again, or I could say, I wanna try something completely different, or I could say that wasn't a good fit for me.
[00:06:20] Ferne Kotlyar:
But can't say you said the same thing about rejection?
[00:06:22] Kim Ades:
Not necessarily, because when I get rejected from someone specifically, I can't necessarily go back to that someone. I can, perhaps, but I don't know that it's always healthy to try with all your might to get accepted by that someone. Do you see the difference?
[00:06:46] Ferne Kotlyar:
I guess so, but if you say "I failed to go out with them, I failed to get them to come on a date with me", can you try that again? Or isn't it the exact same thing?
[00:06:55] Kim Ades:
You can, but then if you turn it into "I was rejected by them", now what? What we're doing is when we talk about rejection, we're tying our identity, our wellbeing, our sense of confidence, our sense of self to somebody else's decision, and that's not a healthy move.
So I don't wanna accept rejection, I wanna reframe it all. I wanna say "this wasn't a good fit, I need to go try something different". Not "I need to keep trying to bang my head against the wall to get this one person to like and love me and accept me with all their might... This one company to hire me". There are a million companies out there.
And so let's go back to the intention of your question. How do you deal with rejection? Or how do you deal with not a good a good fit. You go out on a date and that didn't work, so what do you do now? You can choose to feel rejection, or you can choose to say "that wasn't a good fit. Next. What's next for me?"
And that is how we deal with the traditional concept of rejection, is by understanding that this is like one moment in time, one experience in time, one incident in time, it doesn't reflect you or who you are or what you mean in the world. Doesn't mean anything! It means "this wasn't a good fit".
And I think if we trade in the language of rejection with "this wasn't a good fit", what we automatically start to think of is what would a better fit be. When we think about "I was rejected", we don't think of what would a better fit be, we think we suck. Do you see the difference?
[00:08:38] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:08:40] Kim Ades:
It's actually very interesting as we talk about it.
[00:08:43] Ferne Kotlyar:
So if we took an individual example, let's say there's a person who really wanted to go to grad school and they applied and they didn't get into a single school. What do you do in that scenario? How dow you do you say like–
Do you say "grad school isn't a good fit for me"? Do you say "these specific schools, all five of them that I applied to, weren't good fits for me"? How do you reconcile that?
[00:09:08] Kim Ades:
Yes, we say "this wasn't a good fit at this time. It wasn't a good fit at this time". And so we have lots of options. We might have five grad schools that we applied to, they all did not accept this, so we might look for five completely different grad schools. That's option number one.
Option number two, we might say, okay. I wonder what was the reason that they chose not to go ahead. Oh, I'm missing this one course. Or I need to add a little bit to my CV or whatever it is that we're doing. Okay, I'm gonna take the time to do that. Or I might decide, Hey, you know what? This program or this direction, wasn't the right fit for me. I'm gonna go somewhere completely different where it's a better fit.
So we have lots of options, but the minute we say this was not a good fit for me at this time, what we do is we look at the options. When we say we are rejected, what do we do? We don't look at the options. We go to bed, we lie down, we curl up in a fetal position, and we mope for a week.
[00:10:07] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:10:09] Kim Ades:
So this wasn't a good fit at this time. And so what I want people to do when they do feel rejection is I want them to reframe it and then I want them to think "what's next? What does this mean for me? What does this give me? What opportunities are in front of me? What haven't I tried?" Right?
So if I've gone out for five dates with five guys and they were all terrible dates, does that mean there's no man out there for me? No, it means these five guys were not a fit for me at this time. What's next? And how do these five dates inform me? What information do I gather?
How do I use that experience as contrast? That's a concept, right? How do I use these experiences as contrast to get more clear about the kind of date that I really do wanna go on the kind of fit that will work for?
[00:11:02] Ferne Kotlyar:
Can you tell me more about this contrast concept as you put it?
[00:11:06] Kim Ades:
[Chuckles] So what is contrast? Contrast is when you have what we call a negative experience. All experiences are just experiences, but we categorize them. So when we have an experience that we don't particularly like, and we call them negative experiences, what we wanna do is we wanna leverage that experience.
We wanna say "what happened there that I didn't like?" And when we understand what we don't like about that experience, that gives us information about what we would rather have, what we do like, what we do want. The problem is that when people have experiences that they don't like, they spin in a circle, they keep focusing on that terrible, horrible, awful experience.
And what I want people to do is go, "wow, that was a terrible, horrible, awful experience. This is what I learned from it, this is what I got from it, and now I know what I would rather have", and I want people to literally turn themselves, almost physically, towards what they would rather have.
[00:11:59] Ferne Kotlyar:
[Chuckles] How do you turn yourself physically to what you would rather have?
[00:12:02] Kim Ades:
Like this. See? Like this. So what happens is I'm over here looking at all the bad things that have happened to me. And sometimes when I turn myself around, look, I'm looking out the window. Oh, beautiful trees, flowers, hedges, green, beautiful grass up. Suddenly I'm pointing myself towards things that are much more...
[00:12:26] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:12:26] Kim Ades:
...Lovely, much more pleasant to have in my experience. And the moment I do that, the moment I physically turn myself towards the things that are more pleasant, I'm able to start pondering and thinking about what I would rather have.
"That sucked. So what would I rather have? What would a better relationship look like? What are better opportunities for me? What are potentially better fits for me? That wasn't a fit, what would make it a good fit?" Right?
So I don't like the term rejection. I think rejection gives other people a whole lot of power. And who has the right to determine whether I fit or not? I don't wanna give anybody that power. So I prefer to say "this was not the right fit at this time".
[00:13:15] Ferne Kotlyar:
I mean, because they made the decision, I think it's still in their power. No?
[00:13:20] Kim Ades:
Yes, but I don't need to leave it with them. I can decide what to do from here on in. I don't need to assign meaning to it about myself.
[00:13:28] Ferne Kotlyar:
That makes sense.
[00:13:30] Kim Ades:
Right? And what that does is it allows me to move forward much more quickly.
[00:13:35] Ferne Kotlyar:
And have you ever experienced a big rejection and not known how to move forward?
[00:13:42] Kim Ades:
I've experienced lots of rejections. Many, many in my life. Of course I have. In fact, we just applied for a grant the other day, a Canada Export Grant, and we thought it was a beautiful grant, but they rejected us. Not only did they reject us, they rejected us for the second time.
[00:14:00] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:14:01] Kim Ades:
Right. Okay, so what are we gonna do about that?
[00:14:04] Ferne Kotlyar:
I don't know.
[00:14:05] Kim Ades:
We're gonna find someone who can help us figure out why we keep doing it wrong, or we're gonna look for a different grant, or we're gonna say "okay. grants aren't our thing. Let's go look for other opportunities out there". We're gonna assess, what is a good use of our time? Is this one? If yes–
[00:14:22] Ferne Kotlyar:
Do you not feel like it was wasted time?
[00:14:26] Kim Ades:
It's not wasted time because we're learning, and the more we learn, the better we get, and we can make a decision from here. Either to continue down this path or to change a course completely.
Absolutely. But yes, I often experience moments when we are not accepted or when we don't get the results we're looking for, or when someone decides "you don't fit the bill". Yes, we experience that. It happens. What are you gonna do? You're gonna be upset for a few minutes, for a day, but then you gotta move on. And the way you move on is by saying this wasn't the right fit at this time. What's next?
[00:15:12] Ferne Kotlyar:
Yeah. I think it's important to look at kind of what's next and keep your head up. It's tough sometimes though.
[00:15:18] Kim Ades:
You know, there was a guy that I knew years and years and years ago, he was in the real estate industry and he used to sell homes, but he also used to train real estate agents in how to make cold calls.
[00:15:32] Ferne Kotlyar:
That's a tough one. [Chuckles]
[00:15:33] Kim Ades:
It's a tough one. And so where you experience a lot of so-called rejection. Right? And so he would call what's called a fisbo. A fisbo stands for, for sale by owner. So a person's trying to sell their home by themselves, and so the real estate agent would call this person and say, "Hey, how's it going? If you're struggling, I can help you sell your house. Here's who I am, here's my background, here's the kind of price we could get, etc."
So he would call fisbos and many times they would say, "no, thank you". And every time right before he would hang up, he would say, "thanks, I just earned $5" and he would hang up and he would pick up then to call.
"Thanks, I just earned $5" Next. "Thanks, I just earned $5". People would say, "what do you mean, you earned $5? I didn't pay you $5", and he would say "every single call I make brings me closer to my goal. I just gotta keep making those calls".
[00:16:29] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:16:30] Kim Ades:
Right? And so if his commission was, let's say $10,000 for the sale of this home, he understood that $10,000 divided by $5 a call would eventually lead him to his $10,000 commission. So he was okay to make all the calls till he found that one that would make sense. So he would just say five bucks, five bucks, five bucks.
[00:16:57] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:16:58] Kim Ades:
Pretty good. And so if we had that attitude, that every time we make an effort, we're earning something instead of getting rejected, then it's easy to keep on, it's easy to keep going, it's easy to keep trying.
[00:17:12] Ferne Kotlyar:
Yeah, a lot easier that way.
[00:17:14] Kim Ades:
A lot easier that way.
[00:17:16] Ferne Kotlyar:
Well, thank you so much. I appreciate this discussion.
[00:17:18] Kim Ades:
Yes. For those of you who ever feel rejected or have felt rejected in your life, turn it around, say to yourself, "it just wasn't the right fit at this time. What's next for me? What are the opportunities I can leverage right now?" I know it sounds pretty simple, but if you could just think about it differently, massive change can happen.
Thank you guys for tuning in. We love having you listening to our podcast, we love to hear from you. We wanna hear, what do you want us to talk about? What do you want us to discuss? Please reach out. My email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com. Ferne, how do people reach you?
[00:17:59] Ferne Kotlyar:
Also email me! My email address is Fernekotlyar@live.com. And please do reach out. We really do want to hear from you.
[00:18:12] Kim Ades:
So please like please share and tune in next week. Have a great week. Everyone. We will see you soon.
[00:18:20] Ferne Kotlyar: