I recently got rejected from what I thought was a fantastic career opportunity. I was told that I was “Not entrepreneurial enough.”
Those that know me well know that it’s probably one of the few things I’m good at. Many of my mentors who I told this story to laughed out loud.
These three words were career feedback and I was always led to believe that to ignore this feedback would be ignorant and stupid.
I pondered that thought for a few days and then had a revelation: “I don’t have to listen to every bit of feedback I get.”
Pissed off is a natural first reaction.
That’s how I felt after someone told me I was crap at the very thing I love and have dedicated most of my time to. Our brain wants to be angry and fight back. Our first reaction, though, is often not what we should pay attention to.
“Empty space and time to reflect is how we process career feedback for what it really is: an opinion”
Don’t let your first reaction dominate how you think about the feedback. Maturity that can come at any age will show you to question everything – even your reaction.
Some people just don’t get you.
You’re not their type, they don’t like you, you speak a different language or you may have different values. Not everyone is going to get you and what you stand for and that’s okay. In my case, I didn’t connect.
Buying into the circus that is me is not for everyone. If you don’t like vulnerability or breaking comfort zones, then you probably won’t like me.
If you’re not obsessed with big goals, doing the impossible and trying to improve just a little bit every day, then you probably won’t like me.
That’s okay and I forgive you. I don’t have all the answers and I’m far from perfect – like the rest of us.
Learn to accept that some people will never get you and what you’re about.
That realization is how we overcome career feedback that we may not agree with.
Sometimes it’s any excuse. The real answer is something different.
Feedback can be disguised by the truth. The truth is maybe there was someone else the whole time and I never had a chance at this career opportunity. Maybe it wasn’t me at all.
Sometimes feedback is given because the real reason is much harder to deliver. It’s not easy to say “Tim, thanks but we hired someone else and you were never in the running.”
Admitting you never even had a chance is something many of us would never want to say. Being brutally honest takes courage, and courage is not everyone’s kind of kebab with garlic sauce on top, sprinkles and chili flakes.
We all get rejected.
I nearly forgot this fact. Everyone gets rejected. In fact, right now, someone is being rejected.
Rejection is not limited to you and me; learning to deal with it will only help us, not hinder our ability to achieve success in any field.
“We’ve all got 99 problems and thinking you’re special will only create more pointless thoughts that won’t serve you or your goals”
The thing about career feedback is that you have to take responsibility. Maybe in my case, I didn’t deliver the message of how obsessed and skilled I am at entrepreneurship. Maybe I could have done a better job at explaining my entrepreneurial background and passion.
It’s highly likely that I am entrepreneurial enough for this career opportunity and that it’s not a lack of skill at play here but a lack of effective communication.
“Responsibility always trumps the blame game and it helps us grow more as a person”
There’s always one lesson.
Mine was to develop more skills in strategy.
Let’s stop for one second: I hate the word strategy. The other career feedback I got was to do more strategy yet that’s not a skill of mine and I have no desire to do lots of that in my career.
The key here is that there’s always a lesson from all feedback and it might not be the intended lesson that the giver left you with.
There’s either a great lesson in the feedback or a reminder in the feedback of what you stand for. Don’t let any feedback compromise your values and who you are.
You are good enough.
You just have to believe in yourself and eventually, the right opportunity will find you.
Don’t give up your hopes and dreams because of one rejection. Interrupt the story in your head that plays on repeat and focuses on anger towards another person.
Replace that story with thoughts of how you can do better and get to the next opportunity.
Through rejection and bad career feedback, you find your way to what you’ve always wanted. That’s the hack and it works.
I’m off to suck up the rejection and take my own advice. Much respect.
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