You’ve made a mistake at work. Now what?

April 5, 2015, 3:00 PM UTC
Courtesy of Ultimate Lifestyle Enterprises

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 Stacia Pierce, CEO of Ultimate Lifestyle Enterprises.

Rejection is inevitable in business. However, you can’t let it stop you. In my office we have a saying, “Start before you’re ready.” This basically means take fast action on an idea and see what kind of response you get. Sometimes it will be a big hit and other times, well–you may hear the sound of crickets. When this happens, I go back to the drawing board, make improvements, and do it again. As women, we tend to take rejection personally and that’s bad for business. Just because a client rejected your offer, doesn’t mean that they have personally rejected you. Instead find a new way to reach your audience; answer some questions that were left unclear or improve the product or service.

Recently, my 24-year-old daughter created a marketing campaign for a new product. Although her plan seemed flawless, initially she didn’t get any sales. The lack of response left her feeling discouraged and drained her creativity. However, after going over her marketing strategy step by step, I pointed out a few opportunities for improvement. Once she applied my suggestions, she re-launched her product and the sales started rolling in. Like my daughter, many people allow rejection to prevent future success. It can bruise your ego, diminish your confidence, and suck the motivation right out of you. However, with the right perspective you can learn from it and make a strong comeback. Instead of letting a failed attempt knock you down, let it fire you up! The next time you’re faced with rejection use my 3-step bounce back strategy:

Ask the right questions
Instead of beating yourself up with reasons why you failed, focus on how you can improve. Use this as an opportunity to boost your confidence and motivate yourself to make a strong comeback.

Remember your accomplishments
Rejection has a nasty way of making you
forget how far you’ve come and the achievements you’ve already accomplished. Designate a token of achievement that you can carry with you to remind yourself that you’re still a winner.

Keep moving forward
Never allow a rejection to slow your progress. The longer you wait to get back in the game, the harder it becomes. Start by setting a new goal and confidently implementing your new strategy–this will build the mental toughness needed to succeed.

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

How rejection made me a better employee (27 years later) by Liz Wiseman, president of Wiseman Group.

How to bounce back from rejection at work by Kathy Collins, CMO at H&R Block.

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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