29th Jun 2020
Rejection is rarely anything personal, writes Niamh Ennis
If you’re a model, singer, dancer or an actor, the chances are you have probably got more used to living with rejection than most.
Hearing that they want a redhead when you’re blonde, that they want an older woman when you’re too young, or that they want a contralto when you’re clearly a soprano; there are so many reasons how rejection can become part of your everyday working life.
It doesn’t mean that you learn to love it but it can mean you learn to live with it.
It can also mean that you grasp the key part to understanding rejection far quicker than most, which is this… rejection is rarely anything personal.
The difference between those who are winning at life, who are going out there and grabbing what’s theirs and those who are not, I believe, is that the former group, those who are chasing their dreams, are simply not afraid of that feeling of rejection.
They understand, know and accept that rejection is just part of the deal and that it is something that we all just have to get through in our daily lives. They have no fear of it and this separates them.
Fear has within it so much power. Fear stops us from stepping into our own power of reaching our own potential. It stops us from doing what we want, in favour of us staying where we feel safe, secure and wrapped up tightly and protected by our comfort zone. Fear tells us to stay where we feel most protected.
Yet in our professional lives, whether we are the chief executive, a senior manager or a business founder of a company of one, that sense of rejection can be extremely debilitating.
In an environment where, let’s face it, we potentially already feel alone and a little removed from our teams and our customers, any rejection can feel significant and the impact it can have on us can be very deep.
Not that long ago, as a founder of a business of one, I found myself dealing with my own taste of rejection and honestly I was surprised by the ferocity of my reaction. Without doubt, I totally overreacted to the situation, but it was at that time my truth and therefore I thought it would be helpful to share.
I have an emailing list of people that have expressed an interest in my 1:1 coaching, my workshops, my podcast, my blog (remember those?), newsletter and my free resources on change from my website. I have built this up and nurtured it over the last few years and I love it as a way for me to engage with anyone who has a desire to learn more about change or who wants help with navigating change in their own lives.
The truth was that at that time I was simply not ready to be visible and it was fear that was stopping me from doing what everyone else was doing
At the beginning I wanted to refrain from selling anything to my mailing list and so I ignored the fact that all other professionals in my space were doing the opposite and I thought that because it felt ‘icky’, it meant it was not right for me.
The truth was that at that time I was simply not ready to be visible and it was fear that was stopping me from doing what everyone else was doing. Fear of selling and having nobody buy. And so I hid.
Eventually my business started to grow and the clients I wanted to work with found me and the fear of failure slowly started to dissipate. Recently, I decided to send out an email to my emailing list letting them know that I had two spots available coming up in my three-month coaching programme and also about a forthcoming workshop. I received quite a few sales as a result but I also had four people unsubscribe from the mailing list.
I had been rejected and I had taken it as a personal slight
So guess what I decided to focus on? Yes, you guessed it! Not the sales, not the new coaching enquiries but the four people who unsubscribed. “Why had they done that? What had I said that would make them do that? What was I doing wrong?” Crazy stuff, I know, but clearly this had happened to teach me something. I had been rejected and I had taken it as a personal slight.
After subjecting myself to a health dose of my own medicine – I coached myself and I began to realise that by these people removing themselves from my mailing list they were creating space for new subscribers, new energy to come in. It was not rejection. It was simply time for them to move on.
And that’s what happens in life. When people, for whatever reason, big or small, choose to move out of our lives, we must let them. We must also recognise that this is not always a bad thing. When someone leaves, space is created for someone new. When I realised that and fully accepted that, the energy of that rejection totally dissolved.
I am not for everyone.
You are not for everyone.
And that’s perfectly okay.
Niamh Ennis is Ireland’s leading change & transformation specialist and founder of the RESET for Change System
Niamh works with women who feel stuck, unable to move their lives forward and are looking for someone to assist them navigate change.
Read more: Setting boundaries: ‘You have to know what you’re no longer willing to tolerate’
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