Photo by Rhendi Rukmana on Unsplash
This week, I got rejected. Like, I’m talking FULL ON rejection. By a guy.
Walking off the stage at MoMondays, I was on a bit of a high, as I normally am after giving a talk. And after the final words of the night were spoken, and the applause and the dancing died down, my friend and I walked towards the bar for a glass of wine.
(Yes, it was a Monday evening, however I do like to celebrate after my speaking engagements, and it sometimes involves a glass of vino!)
On our way, I got stopped by a nice looking gentleman, who paid me a lovely compliment about my performance.
‘Thank you!’ I responded politely.
Shortly thereafter he walked over and joined my friend and I, and soon the three of us found ourselves in a pretty interesting discussion. He was also with a friend, who mine ironically recognized, as the two of them had briefly dated. Small world! Eventually the 4 of us began chatting, and then the two of them, and the two of us.
And while it was far from ‘love at first sight…’ I was enjoying the conversation, he seemed to have really good values, and maybe in part due to the glass of wine, I thought, ‘hmm… he’s actually pretty cute!’ (I will admit he did have beautiful blue eyes!) He was pretty engaged, or so it appeared, and I kinda thought maybe he thought I was kinda cute, too. And so, I found myself jumping way ahead of the game, and decided that should he ask me out, I’d more than likely say yes.
Now I did give him some push back when it came to his ideas on balance, and some grief when he ‘cheers-ed’ without looking me in the eye (that’s a big thing for me… luckily my friends and family all oblige this interesting idiosyncrasy of mine!), but I was also being kinda flirty.
Well, before we knew it we were closing down the place, although it was barely 11, and my friend announced she was going home. It was about that time, even though I almost assumed we’d be continuing the conversation.
He then asked if she’d be alright, and if he could walk her home. Now at first I thought it was a tad weird, but quickly replaced that thought with the idea he must simply be a gentleman as he appeared to be. So I figured we’d all leave together, and even offered to drive her home. So we all squeeze into my mini and off we go. And then as she gets out, so does he, as he begins to say ‘I was actually hoping to ask for your…’ as my passenger side door gets slammed shut.
My initial reaction? ‘Did that really just happen?!?’
I guess he was into her the whole time! And in that moment, I not only felt stupid, I also felt FULL ON rejected.
Clearly I read the signs all wrong! Maybe he had been talking to me because he was more scared to talk to her. Maybe he wanted to get in good with me as her friend so I could put in a good word. Maybe he was only talking to me because I was talking to him.
At first I kinda chuckled, but even though it was a guy I just met, and I knew there wouldn’t be any wedding bells in our future, in that moment, my ego and my pride were totally crushed.
And so, I did the healthy thing to do! I came home, I made popcorn, I had a little ‘woe is me’ Netflix binge-watching session.
Now I know what you’re thinking. ‘Carol, totally justified! Why didn’t you throw a little ice cream into the mix?!?’
And you know what, I can’t even remember the last time I watched Netflix, so I’m not going to beat myself up about it.
But it also got me thinking. How do I handle rejection in other areas of my life? And the truth is, not always very well!
And I know I’m not alone.
Did you know that fear of rejection is one of the BIGGEST fears experienced by humans?
And this fear is often what prevents us from raising our hand, sharing our big idea, or putting our name out there for a new position, a promotion, or a raise.
And so, we often don’t even put our name into the mix at all.
If we don’t try, we can’t get rejected, right?!?
Well yes, that’s true. And, it also means we’re likely not taking the risks required to go after what we truly want.
And that’s not what living BIG is all about, and not what you’re all about!
So seeing as how bringing on the biggest you is going to sometimes mean rejection, let’s look at 3 ways to face it, combat it, and win over it.
1. Feel all the feels
Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you’re feeling. Don’t be afraid of the discomfort. You have to sit in it, in order to work through it. So, find your coping mechanisms. Be it ice cream, Netflix, calling up a friend, going for a run, putting on some loud music and dancing in the kitchen, taking a bath, retail therapy, journaling. And, I might also suggest putting a timeline of sorts on it! You can wallow for a while, heck even throw yourself a little pity party, but after a few hours, it’s time to move on!
2. Get REAL, dig deeper
Ask yourself what’s really going on. Beneath the rejection there is almost always a thought or a believe that is being triggered. Is it your pride, is it an old story coming up, is it an expectation being thwarted? Get honest. Name it, and bring it to the surface. You gotta first get clear on what’s happening at the core before you can be ready to move on.
Take the thought or belief that’s creeped its way into your head, and choose a more powerful one. Instead of ‘No,’ choose to look at it as ‘Not right now!’ It may also be beneficial to reframe how you look at the entire event. Instead of living in a binary world where there’s either success or failure, right or wrong, good or bad, look at every action you take as an EXPERIENCE (check out a previous post where I explain all about the power of getting into the EXPERIENCE ZONE) Because when you look at it as an experience, you’ve already won. And there’s no chance for failure or rejection!
When you take the time to go through these steps, you’ll be ready to jump back onto the horse in no time!
And because you’re all about playing bigger, living bigger (otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this right now!) you gotta be willing to put in the work.
It’s not always going to be easy. Rejection, and the fear of it, ‘aint going anywhere any time soon. So you gotta be willing to put yourself out there in spite of it.
And if you think about it, the alternative is you failing by default by your lack of trying.
As my wise father used to say: “A no you already have, a yes you can get.”
So go for it. Take the action. Ask for the number, apply for the opportunity, share the big idea.
You never know what could happen!
(And then share what action you’re going to take this week In SPITE of the fear of rejection below!)
Have a FAB week!