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We are living in challenging times. Young graduates are having their placement offers revoked. Young executives are being laid off. Salary cut is par for the course. Except for a few industries, this is the norm in most sectors. How do we strengthen our internal spring to face these challenges, rejection and setback?
The 2020 season of Kaun Banega Crorepati has an apt tagline in tune with the mood of our times: “Setback ka jawaab Comeback se” .
When faced with the pink slip, do we get into a denial mood or do we sit up and figure out what we need to do?

Anna Wintour the legendary editor-in-chief of fashion magazine Vogue has this to say about getting fired: “Everyone should get sacked at least once. It forces you to look at yourself… It is important to have setbacks, because that is the reality of life. Perfection does not exist”.

I am not wishing that you should get sacked or fired. But remember even if you get fired, it need not be the end of the road.

Handling Rejection: The Three Step Process
The three-step process to handling rejection or any challenge starts with the first step. Get ready to face the setback. Don’t let the setback push you into a negative spiral. It is easy to blame the environment, the cruel ‘Hari Sadu’ boss, the Head Office dictator, unyielding American Bosses and more. But banish all those thoughts. Just park them aside even if they may be true. Face the setback without getting into a negative mind game.

If you don’t capture the learning from each rejection, you are bound to repeat the same mistakes, leading to the same results.

The next step is to process the rejection. What happened? What could you have done to save your position? Often you have a tunnel vision. You are not able to see beyond your narrow lens. You need to have a Rejection Processing System in place. This could consist of a set of questions you ask yourself. The system may involve you seeking honest feedback from the person who rejected you, if that is possible.
In an interview situation that may be difficult, but if you are friendly with the HR team, they will be more than happy to share with you what they think was the problem in your CV or with your interview. If you are not able to self-process the rejection, then you need to activate your network. This network may include a trusted friend, may be a former boss or even a professor from your university. Can you seek them out to give you honest feedback? In the book SPRING – Bouncing Back From Rejection, I have spoken about a startup team that got rejected 100 times before they met a mentor who gave them vital cues on how to reorient their pitch deck.

You have reconciled yourself on the rejection. You have processed the issues that led to the rejection. Now comes the most important part. What have you learnt from the rejection that you can use to spring forward?

It is important that after each rejection you need to find out what are the lessons. What can you learn from the rejection? It is possible that your CV was badly written. Or you did not do your homework before getting into the interview room. Or you did not recognize the person interviewing you.

If you don’t capture the learning from each rejection, you are bound to repeat the same mistakes, leading to the same results.

The three-step formula is simple if you get it: Face the rejection with courage. Process the rejection with confidence. And learn from each rejection.

Managing rejection in this manner will help you figure out the best way to reboot and rekindle your journey. It may be for a job application. Or it may be for a promotion in your current job. Or it may even be to get your book published. The same three-step formula should help. You can learn all about how I used the three steps in my 40-year career, but you can also learn valuable lessons from business leaders, entrepreneurs, musicians, authors, academics, scientists, Nobel laureates, Olympic athletes, movie directors and more in my new book SPRING – Bouncing Back From Rejection.

The book will also teach you new tricks on how to use the power of ‘Redirection’ when rejected. Do you continue the same path or should you explore new direction? Or the power of ‘Reframing’. Will you be able to sell your idea or your proposal if you package it differently; if you can present your proposal under a different ‘Frame of Reference’ you may well win the big prize.

In addition to these important tools, the book will also arm you with ideas that can help you face any rejection and bounce back with confidence.

Ambi Parameswaran is an award-winning best-selling author of ten books. His latest book ‘Spring – Bouncing Back From Rejection’ is also available as Kindle e-book and Audible audio-book.