business rejection

How to Use Rejection to Your Advantage in Business

11 February 2021 | by Gina Lucia

We’ve been lead to believe that any form of rejection is bad, no matter if it’s in our professional or personal lives. I’ve come to discover that rejection, while painful, can actually be used to your advantage in business and in this article I’m going to show you how.

Let’s not beat around the bush, rejection hurts. 

In fact, studies have shown the pain of social rejection is extremely close to physical pain. So when you experience rejection, you really feel it!

So of course, as humans, we’re naturally wired to avoid anything painful and especially if it involves other people. 

If you went back to your ancient roots and were rejected from your social group, you were then thrust out into the world. You’d be on your own and you simply might not survive. Which is exactly why we’re hardwired to avoid rejection at all costs.

The good news is, we don’t live in a time where we need to avoid rejection anymore. 

Rejection, especially in business, has its benefits

In fact, I believe it has 3 and I’m going to illustrate all 3 with 3 personal stories of mine.

Stick to the end though because as well as the lessons from my stories, I’ll be giving you a strategy you can use next time you face rejection in your business, or life for that matter.

Rejection can help you improve

A few years ago I was struggling with finding new clients for my content marketing business. In fact, I was struggling so much that I was eating into my savings.

I knew I needed to change how I was acquiring new clients, I needed to try something new. Something that would really push me out of my comfort zone.

So, I tried something I never thought I would, I started cold emailing. Let’s just say my first few attempts at cold emailing were terrible. 

I either got some pretty harsh rejections in reply, or no replies at all, which still felt like rejection. After a few of these rejections – which hurt like hell – I realised I had a choice to make. 

I could either give up and stop cold emailing, or I could improve.

I chose the second and sat down for an afternoon and improved my cold emails to make sure I was putting the potential client first.

Let’s just say it worked because to this day, I still use cold emailing to get new work. If I didn’t make this choice, I’d still be stuck struggling. 

Rejection can be a great motivator 

Let’s go back 15 years. I was sitting in English class, which I loved. 

It was the perfect level of difficulty trying to understand Shakespeare and having the freedom and time to read alone. I felt like my teacher really understood me. Until one day we were asked to complete a new assignment. 

We had just started to learn about radio plays (which I thought was really quite boring) and were tasked with writing our own. I wanted to spice things up a bit and had a very unhealthy obsession with Pirates of the Caribbean at the time. 

So I proposed I would write Pirates of the Caribbean as a radio play. 

My teacher hated the idea and said it wouldn’t be enough to get a good grade.  Let’s just say I was angry, disappointed and felt like I’d been rejected by a teacher I thought understood me. 

But thanks to some very headstrong parents, I did the radio play anyway and got an A. 

Rejection can be a great motivator to prove someone wrong. Especially if you admire them.

Rejection builds resilience  

Let’s get back to the present day. 

I’ve always believed the best way to build solid relationships is to connect with people you admire. So on a few occasions, I’ve reached out to various online business owners I admire to start up conversations.

In almost every case, I’ve not received a conversation in reply, but a polite thankyou and end to that conversation. 

Of course, there could be many reasons for their lack of enthusiasm, but one thing it has built in me, is resilience. 

If I were to take that rejection and mull over it, I would never reach out to anyone again and the potential for some seriously great relationships would be gone.

Lessons to learn from business rejection

Each of these stories has its own lesson. 

Rejection helps you improve, rejection is a great motivator and rejection builds resilience, but only if you let it.

In each case, I absolutely felt the sting of rejection and boy did it hurt. But in each one, I did something else afterwards.

And this is my advice to you…

I asked myself – without realising – what am I going to do with this?

Rejection is an opportunity. An opportunity for you to react in a way that will push you forward.

You have a choice in the matter. 

You can either overthink, wallow in the pain and absorb it, or you can use it as a lesson and make a better decision.

Instead of…

  • Giving up on cold emailing, I made improvements.
  • Accepting my teacher’s decision, I set out to prove her wrong.
  • Feeling the rejection of someone I admire, I moved on and kept my heart open to others.

Each of these was a lesson I’ll never forget.

So next time you encounter rejection in business or life for that matter, ask yourself, what am I going to do with this? 

And make a decision that will change your life for the better.

Before you go, let me know in the comments a story of you overcoming rejection.