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How to bounce back from rejection at work

Kathy Collins, CMO at H&R BlockKathy Collins, CMO at H&R Block
Kathy Collins, CMO at H&R BlockCourtesy of H&R Block

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 Kathy Collins, CMO at H&R Block.

Dealing with rejection? First off, don’t consider it rejection. Instead, it’s simply someone else’s lost opportunity. Rejection is a one-sided state-of-mind — it clearly wasn’t meant to be. Okay — that’s what I tell my kids. Now, here’s what I will tell you.

Rejection is horrible. It feels lousy. You doubt everything you believed about yourself a day ago. Your ego is bruised and your heart hurts. Sometimes you may even try to convince yourself it was a stupid idea anyway. But, rejection is never the end. In fact, it’s usually a wake-up call. For me – either I was too comfortable, too confident, or too disengaged. However, the things I want are usually worth facing rejection for — they represent themselves as different opportunities. Often times, rejection helps filter out the things I thought I wanted or needed.

In the end, I have to admit that rejection has actually made me a better boss, mentor, and mother. With rejection comes humility, and with humility comes integrity and character. For instance, my 21-year-old daughter was a cheerleader throughout a majority of her high school career, until she got cut her senior year. She was devastated and couldn’t imagine going to school the next day. Of course, she did. And she went to the first football game of the season. When she came home that night, I asked her if she was okay. Her response? “I don’t think I ever liked cheering that much — I just liked wearing the cute skirt.”

So if you face rejection ask yourself, “is this truly something worth fighting for or did I just want to wear the cute skirt?”

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

The upside of failure by Cathy Baron Tamraz, chairwoman and CEO of Business Wire.

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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