Rejection sucks, but it’s not the end of the world. In fact, rejection is a part of success. People who avoid rejection don’t get hurt or disappointed, but neither do they feel accomplished or successful. No one likes to hear “no”, but you can’t achieve your goals without taking a risk. Here are some tricks to overcoming rejection and the fear of rejection, so that you can achieve success.

1. Don’t take it personally. The most difficult part of hearing “no” is the feeling like the rejection is a reflection of you as a person. It can be like a stab to the heart and cause you to lose confidence. However, unless you’ve behaved badly, “no” is a rejection of what you have to offer, not your personhood. As a result, you shouldn’t feel hurt or question your value. You might need to improve your presentation or interview skills, but again, that’s about skills, not you as a person.

2. In career and business, “no” isn’t always “no”. Sometimes “no” means, “not now,” “maybe,” or “more information is needed.” For example, in a job interview, you might hear, “I’m sorry, we don’t have a place for you at this time,” which means he might have a place for you in the future. Instead of walking away dejected, ask about a time frame in which you might be needed or if he’ll keep your resume until a position comes available. You might even call or email every few months to follow-up and stay in touch. In sales, “no” sometimes means you haven’t given the prospect the information needed to show your product or service’s value. In that case, you can ask what the prospect would need to say yes.

3. Run the numbers. Timing and talking to the right person can play a part in getting hired or making a sale. Just because one person said “no” doesn’t mean everyone will. So shake off the rejection and move forward with the attitude that you’re weeding through nos to find the yeses. This is easier said than done, particularly if you’re still experiencing a “no” as a personal rejection. But if you focus getting your presentation in front of as many qualified people as possible, instead of focusing on the result, you can work the numbers needed to find the yeses.

4. Assess and adjust. Rejection is a form of feedback, and as such you should evaluate what happened and what, if anything, you can improve. If you never get a call-back after an interview, perhaps you need to improve your interviewing skills. If your website has great traffic, but no sales, perhaps you need to change your website’s text and appearance. If possible, ask for feedback so you don’t have to guess as to what’s not working.

No one likes rejection, but the successful person recognizes that rejection is part of the process in reaching goals. Instead of feeling deflated and worthless, they reframe rejection into motivation to keep going or use it as a learning tool to improve.


Leslie Truex is a career design expert who has been helping people find or create work that fits their lifestyle goals since 1998 through her website Work-At-Home Success. She is the author of “The Work-At-Home Success Bible” and “Jobs Online: How To Find a Get Hired to a Work-At-Home Job”. She speaks regularly on career-related topics including telecommuting and home business.