Three years ago, when I was still starting my own sales training and consulting company, I personally went to many companies in Cebu City to offer my program and service. Most of them asked me to submit a proposal and were looking for my portfolio or background as a sales trainer. Since I just started at that time and had no portfolio to present, I got rejected 50 times. Most of them did not respond to my email nor contact me by phone, while some declined right away. When I followed up, they told me to just come back once I have the portfolio or training record. It felt just like getting your job application rejected because they are looking for applicants with experience but you’re still a fresh graduate. Then, you’d be left asking yourself how you can get the experience if no one would be willing to give you a chance.
After experiencing those rejections, one would think I would give up because it seemed impossible to get clients to invest in my training programs. Yet, I chose not to give up because I knew everything starts that way. There are many possible reasons why we encounter rejections but there are also reasons why we should not let such rejections stop us from trying again and again.
Here are the reasons why we should not always consider rejections as a sign not to pursue our goals:
- Rejections are redirections. I believe that sometimes the paths we are trying to tread may not be the best path. Which is why things do not work the way we want them to. For instance, you got rejected from a job that you wanted so you decided to apply somewhere else because you did not have much of a choice. You got accepted and ended up gaining more opportunities than you can imagine. I actually had a rejection experience in the past that have entirely redirected my career path. It was when I was still working in a hotel. I applied to work in Canada but got rejected. If I got accepted instead, I would have been working abroad up to this moment and have not gone to Cebu City, be a salesperson, and eventually a sales trainer. What a redirection indeed!
- Rejections are protections. I still remember, when I was still a kid, the many times my parents would say no to a lot of my requests. I also remember them telling me why each request was not granted, and usually, the reason was it would not do me any good. In other words, those kinds of rejections were meant to protect me from anything bad or harmful. Even now that I am older, I realized that some rejections I experienced protected me more than caused me losses. There were those which prevented me from working with people, who later on proved to have completely different principles from me and my company. Needless to say, those rejections were blessings in disguise.
- Rejections are opportunities for growth. Imagine if you have been accepted to every job opportunity you applied for, or got a yes from every person you proposed to (personal or business)… would you have learned how to be resilient, resourceful, open-minded, creative, analytical, or strong? With everything easy to get or acquire, I believe not. Yes, we all work the way we do because we aim for approval, for success, or for everything to work the way we want it to. However, these would not teach us the values that rejections do. If I always hit the sales target when I was still starting my career as a salesperson, I wouldn’t have invested in learning. If I wasn’t rejected by the previous companies I offered my sales training service to, I wouldn’t have known what I should improve on to promote my service the right way. Well, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
It is said that everything happens for a reason. This is true and definitely applies to rejections. The reality is that rejections are part of life. There is no such thing as a success if one did not overcome challenges, including rejections, in his or her journey towards his or her goal. It is time for us to embrace this fact. It is okay to feel sad about it, but learn to always see the good side of it, find out why it happened, then try again or redirect. But, never stop because, as what Tony Robbins said, “life doesn’t happen to us, it happens for us.”