Thank you to Laurie Hunt for opening up and sharing her thoughts, as well as giving up some tips on how we can deal with rejection.
A couple weeks ago I received a ‘rejection’ notification email. I had applied to an organization with which I felt a great deal of alignment of purpose, values and what they were trying to accomplish. Truthfully, I felt that I was natural fit. That all my varied experience in organizational development, leadership, non-profit consulting, athletics, mentoring and coaching meant I was ideally suited to set up a local branch of this U.S. based non-profit that is looking to expand globally.
After evaluating the opportunity carefully and deciding that I wanted to be a part of the organization, I submitted my application. I was quickly granted a video interview the following day with two senior staff of the organization. I was right! They had to be very interested in me to respond so quickly.
After the interview was complete, I felt depleted rather than excited. From my end, I thought I handled the interview well, responding to their questions thoughtfully and with enthusiasm. Yet something felt off. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was that caused my energy to drain. Then, just as quickly as they scheduled the interview, I received my rejection email the next day.
My immediate reaction was huge disappointment. Part of me was very surprised and another part of me wasn’t because of the impact the interview had on me. They said my way of doing things didn’t align with theirs and that some of my projects wouldn’t fit with setting up a branch for them. They must have misunderstood who I am and how I do things! I quickly typed up a response clarifying my perspective and asking them to reconsider.
Then I went for a run. It was a big decision on my part to apply in the first place and their rejection caused me to feel off balance. Getting outside and moving always helps me find a fresh perspective on a situation, especially troubling ones.
The conversation I had with myself went something like this:
Laurie: OK. Well that wasn’t the result I expected. However, since I believe things work out the way they are meant to, what’s the reason for this rejection?
Inner Self: You felt a disconnect between who they said they were and how they treated you in the interview. They said they are creating a warm, friendly, non-competitive environment and yet they were cool and formal in the interview. It wasn’t a conversation. It felt more like an interrogation. Well not quite that severe, but similar. Who they were being doesn’t actually align with what’s important to YOU.
Laurie: Well, yes. That’s true. My comment after the interview was ‘that was strange’. After my many years of experience in HR and interviewing, that was not a best practice interview by any means.
Inner Self: You also have said that your More-In-Me Movement is important to you. You are launching soon and if you were accepted by this organization, your focus would be on creating that entity and not your own work. You have been so excited to bring all your skills, experience and passion to your More-In-Me Movement.
Laurie: That’s true too. It seems that this rejection is a good thing. Reminds me of my tendency to help others and put their initiatives and businesses ahead of my own. LOL. Saying no was the best possible outcome for what really matters to me and where I want to focus my time and energy.
My learning from the reflection resulting from the rejection is invaluable and will serve as a reminder in the future to say no when other ‘shiny things’ show up to distract me from what I say is most important to me.
It took a week for them to reply the second time and say they were not changing their minds. By then I had firmly decided that I did not want to work for them. I had wondered how I would say no if they came back and said yes. But I didn’t have to. Things have a way of working themselves out when we trust in the unfolding and stay true to ourselves.
Here are three suggestions for dealing with rejection:
- Turn rejection into reflection. What did you learn from the experience? Ask, what else? What’s possible that wouldn’t have been if you were accepted? What do you really want?
- Do your best and accept the outcome in the end. You may not be happy with the result, however, dwelling on it won’t serve you. Ask yourself, what would you do differently next time? Did you do your best? What other options are out there? There are always more options.
- Most importantly, don’t take it personally. Rejection isn’t about who you are. It’s about what they want and their perception of how well your skills, experience, and approach fit with theirs. If they don’t see a fit, then it’s not likely the right opportunity for you. After all, they know their organization or situation best. And it means there is something else out there that is going to be just right for you. You get to choose too. It’s never just a one-way street although it sometimes can feel that way. You get to evaluate how well they fit with what’s important to you. Turn rejection info reflection and trust your instincts. Be a possibilitarian and see what else is available for you to discover. There’s more for you out there.
Laurie Hunt believes everyone has more in them. Calling herself a possibilitarian and system disrupter, Laurie works with clients to discover their ‘more-in-me’ by seeing new possibilities and disrupting the habits and patterns that may get in the way. Laurie recently launched The More-In-Me Movement. It’s a movement because she wants to get people moving – literally- towards what they say they want in life, work and family.