How To Deal With Rejections And Setbacks

August 12, 2014, article by James Caan

All of us at some point in our lives will be faced with some kind of disappointment.

It does not matter how successful you happen to be, there will always be defeats and setbacks along the journey of both life and work.

But what sets the high achievers apart from the rest is how they react and deal with those setbacks.

When it comes to business, it really is all about making the right decisions and choices for the long term. You should do your level best to ensure that the people within the business are not adversely affected, but sometimes you may have to take choices and actions which will leave some feeling disappointed.

It is important to grasp the fact that business is never about the personal, both from the point of view of the person who is making the decisions, and the individual who has lost out. Equally, as an owner-manager, you have to be very sensitive towards the affected person and treat them with the care and understanding they deserve. I have never believed in a hyper aggressive attitude to business.

If you have suffered a job related setback, for example missing out on a vacancy or interview, again you must look at the bigger picture. Every time you apply for a job, you are gaining experience. It could be experience in networking, writing speculative applications, tailoring a CV, handling tricky interview questions, or any number of things. And always take time to celebrate even the small achievements – perhaps this time you got past the telephone interview stage, which you’d not done before.

Just as importantly though, you need to be analytical. Whenever I have faced a setback during the course of my career, whether it is missing out on an opportunity or losing out on business to a rival, I have always taken time out to analyse exactly what just took place.

Take a logical look at the setback and your own performance. The key question to ask is: 'Could I have done things differently or better as an individual?' The answer to that question, if you are being completely honest with yourself, is almost certainly going to be yes. Once you have accepted your failings you can learn your lessons and ensure you are better for it next time. After all, there is no point in carrying out that analysis if you then fail to learn lessons from what has just taken place. Rather than sitting back and feeling sorry for yourself, actively look to make improvements from the word go.

Bosses always appreciate people who are positive, but likewise employees want a manager who will have a positive attitude. As the leader, you are responsible for the tone of the entire team and the last thing you want to do is have a negative effect on the rest of the group. When my first business was hit by the recession of the early 90's, there was a period where I have to admit my attitude affected morale. I felt really low and coming into the office this rubbed off on everybody else. The moment I decided to change my mindset, what do you think happened? Naturally, everybody else picked up on it and raised their game.

It may feel difficult to remain positive and upbeat, but in the long run, having the right mental attitude is what makes you bounce back and become even more successful.