This post is inspired by the Hero’s Journey by the late Joseph Campbell. It got me thinking about rejection and really in some ways failure can be a heroic journey. Let’s really think about it. You may decide it is way too hard to continue with whatever you were trying to achieve, you may have experienced rejection and walked away. In doing so, you may later feel a greater sense of serenity with a new endeavour or relief that you have left a bad situation. By searching for something new you can find your bliss and consequently undergo a rebirth. It’s an opportunity to look at the past with a new lens. You then may decide you want to give another shot at what you were originally trying to achieve and with fresh eyes, more experience a real sense of vitality emerges. In fact, it develops into a resurrection of your original idea but so much better. Was the hero’s journey really failure? Or just an opportunity for self-discovery? In summary, the hero’s journey is departing from the situation which requires sacrifice, finding fulfillment and then returning with renewed vigour.
Therefore, one of the things that we fear the most is rejection which seems like failure. Yes, that’s right it is actually terrifying. Failure can be crippling but if we follow the advice of Rabbi Gourarie we might find it to be the catalyst for greatness. Rabbi Gourarie says, “The reality is that everything we do ends in success. The divine design of creation includes failure as part of human development and growth.” So here is the crux of what he is saying – it’s what we do with failure that can make us even more successful.
Basically, the end result does not always mean that we have failed in our mission. The solid attempt and the effort is itself our success. Most importantly, failure is a learning opportunity. The vital thing is to recover and keep moving. Contrary to our normal beliefs, constant success and happiness can also result in limited personal growth. We become too comfortable with ourselves and are unable to break out of our own little world, and go beyond our own limitations. Professionally we constantly need to stretch ourselves and our boundaries to see how far we can actually go. Sometimes failure can have the effect of breaking the shell of our comfort zone to allow us to take a giant leap into something new. We are forced to rethink our strategies and our goals. It becomes an amazing opportunity to change direction. So don’t be afraid of failing. If it happens, welcome it and use it to reach a new level of self-development. We often appreciate the good so much more when we have experienced the bad. Perhaps, this is G-d’s way of making us more appreciative for everything we have.
One of my sales hero’s is Jill Konrath, author of Agile Selling. She says, “When a competitor wins a deal, agile sellers refuse to see themselves as the loser. When they fall into slumps, as we all do, they don’t take it as an indication of their competence. In short, failure isn’t one bit personal.”
CEO of Spanx, Sara Blakely, the world’s youngest female billionaire, says it was the question her father asked her every single night at dinner that sparked the fire in her belly. The question was, “What did you fail at today?” If she hadn’t failed it was a sign she wasn’t growing, learning or extending herself.
On a very personal note, as a Specialist in “Starting Customer Conversations” over the last thirteen years, I have often felt like I had failed to open a door. I too have experienced the yuck factor, rejection when calling prospects. But each time it only heightened my desire to reach that senior executive who was trying to avoid me even more. With every No, it intensified my resolve to get a Yes. I can only say, with a lot of persistence, sweat and self-belief I did get a YES and as they say… the rest is history. Cold Calling is definitely shifting to warm calling and with so many ways to familiarise yourself with your prospect prior to making the call, rejection should be a lot less frequent.
I recently confessed to a business associate, Peter Singer and said, “I am learning as I go along a lot, I have no university degree, absolutely no management experience, everything is self-taught. I am making mistakes but really paying attention to each one so hopefully, I won’t do it again.”
His reply really struck a chord with me and I wanted to share his valuable insights with you.
“Odile you will get way further than most people will get, let alone degree qualified people! Deep learning and wisdom comes from what we choose to choose to learn, from our errors. Most people stop learning the day they leave school.”
Think about what I have written and hopefully some fresh ideas will emerge like yeast in bread. All the good ideas rise to the top and from that point onwards you know where to go. Acclaimed author, William Isaacs says, “The fruit of thinking is sometimes a seemingly simple, quiet idea that stands out among a crowd of passing thoughts. It arrives unannounced.”
Finally, rejection is simply a bump in the road, a lesson which makes you stronger along the way to where you need to go. Never let it be a deterrent, never let it get the better of you and never stop trying…when you stop trying, you might as well be dead. Never say Never!
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ABOUT ODILE FALUDI
“I help people not only open the door of prospects but their minds which result in more happy customers!”
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