How to successfully deal with rejection at work

March 23, 2015, 5:45 PM UTC
Courtesy of InkHouse

MPW Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: How should every successful woman deal with rejection? is written by Beth Monaghan, principal and co-founder of InkHouse.

I hate to lose. In fact, one of our company values at InkHouse is “We win” and we’re willing to risk failure to do so. We want to give our team the freedom to be creative. But risking failure is tricky, because well — you have to be willing to fail and deal with the rejection that may follow. And dealing with rejection is particularly tough for women. We’re still trying to break through glass ceilings — you can’t blame us if we’re overly sensitive to failure.

Let’s be honest — we can’t win at everything. Dealing with rejection is part of business and life. I try to plan for the worst and hope for the best because low expectations are easy to exceed. Here are three ways to deal with rejection and still feel confident:

First, try to avoid it. Rejection is all about perspective – not all opportunities are the right ones. You need to decide when an opportunity is worth pursuing. At InkHouse, we’ve forgone business deals with prospective clients that aren’t a good match for our approach. Whenever this happens I always remember to ask myself this: would we have been successful even if we said yes? It’s important to keep the best interests of your company in mind, even if it means forgoing certain opportunities.

Second, know your goals. If you take the time to write down your long-term professional goals, you can weigh each opportunity against them. From informal coffee meetings to team projects, when I’m clear about my expectations and what it will take to attain them I am less frustrated when I encounter rejection. If an opportunity doesn’t fulfill the goals you set, accept it and move on. This will help expend your time and energy in the right places.

Third, leverage your strengths. This is a tough one for me. Throughout my entire career I’ve always only be interested in knowing what I can do better. But it’s important to remember that we’ve succeeded based on our strengths, not our weaknesses. Revert to your strengths in order to actively diminish your weaknesses.

Read all answers to the MPW Insider question: How should every successful woman deal with rejection?

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