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The upside of failure

April 1, 2015, 11:30 AM UTC

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 Cathy Baron Tamraz, chairwoman and CEO of Business Wire.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Although it may be true at a higher level, don’t you find it rather annoying to hear someone say that when you have just faced rejection? I do, mainly because there is nothing positive about rejection — or is there? Perhaps if we thought of it differently, we would embrace the lessons learned through rejection. Here are a few to consider:

Take a step back
Rejection forces us to take a pause and ask ourselves if we handled the situation properly. If we were given the opportunity for a do-over, would we handle it differently?

Failure is necessary
If we never know the agony of defeat, how will we know the thrill of success? It’s the theory of opposites. Can we really know one without the other?

Learn to move forward
I have the expression “nerves of steel” taped to my desktop. No one said our journey was going to be easy, but the ability to cope with everything that comes our way is a very valuable lesson that can only be learned by experiencing both the highs and the lows.

No one is perfect
Rejection is a reminder to all of us that we are not perfect. We have good days, bad days, and days somewhere in-between. Perhaps rejection serves to help us keep our feet on the ground and remember the road we’re all traveling.

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

3 steps to overcome rejection at work by Shiza Shahid, co-founder and ambassador of Malala Fund

How to avoid overreacting at work by Mary Civiello, president of Civiello Communications Group.

Why the best leaders are defined by their failures by Alyse Nelson, CEO and co-founder of Vital Voices Global Partnership.

5 stages of rejection (and how to deal) by Beth Fisher-Yoshida, director of Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Program at Columbia University.

Keep making mistakes at work? Here’s how to recover by Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO of Ruder Finn.

How to successfully deal with rejection at work by Beth Monaghan, principal and co-founder of InkHouse.

How to shake off rejection like Taylor Swift by Beth Comstock, senior vice president and CMO of General Electric.

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