4 Ways to Use Rejection to Fuel Your Success

I once wrote a monthly lifestyle column in which I solicited dates. I can officially say I was nationally rejected. Well, if you’re going to do something, go all out, I say!

I’ve been rejected at other times in my business, too. Can you relate?  In Flee 9-5 I tell you about the time I scored a meeting with the marketing genius behind the Swisse Vitamin campaign that had flown Ellen DeGeneres out to Australia.  I wanted them to sponsor an event I was working on and it would have been a perfect match for all parties.  Unfortunately, my idea was rejected by Ellen’s producers.  Still, if you’re going to be rejected, it may as well be by the best!

Did I fall in a heap and moan about the injustice of it all? No.

Did I feel a sense of injustice at the knockback?  No.

Rejection is as much a part of business as success, and the sooner you learn to keep your ego out of the process, the sooner you’ll learn to see that even rejection has its benefits.

Join Other Famous rejects.

Most people give up at the first sign of rejection, but what might happen if they didn’t?  What might happen if they fought for their vision with all the tenacity of a bulldog?

  • The Beatles were rejected by Decca recording studios yet they went on to become a worldwide phenomenon.
  • Tim Ferris’s book The 4 Hour Work Week was rejected by publishers more than 20 times yet it went on to become a best seller.
  • Sylvester Stallone was rejected 1500 times when he tried to sell a script he had written.  This was the script for legendary and hugely successful film, “Rocky.”

If that isn’t enough for you, take a look at some of these rejection letters and take notice of the names they were sent to.

None of these people gave up.  I didn’t and neither should you.  They took rejection and used it as a stepping stone to success.

Use Rejection to Spark Your Success

The faster you are rejected, the sooner you will succeed. There must be a law in that! (Ben Angel’s Universal Law of Success?)

Despite what you might think, rejection is only a negative experience if you allow it to be.

What’s good about it? The writer, James Lee Burke, said “There’s nothing like rejection to make you do an inventory of yourself.”

Rejection makes you think.  It shakes you out of your complacency and tilts you off your path so you have to stop and reassess your direction and plans before you move on. It points out any gaps so you can fill them. It clears your vision and gives you the power to bust through blockages in your thinking.  That’s what makes you a winner.

Don’t attach your emotions to the result. Whether your proposal is accepted or rejected, the result is rarely related to you as a person.  It’s a business decision, not a personal one.  Sometimes it’s even a result of the crap going on in the other person’s head.  If you just spend your time feeling hurt, you’ll never get anywhere.

Use rejection as fuel.

  • Define your market – A rejection will soon show you who likes what you’re doing and who doesn’t. Divide and polarise! Polarising opinions is a key to building a successful public profile. If people are expressing opposing points of view about your brand, it means you’re doing a good job.
  • Sharpen your plans – Rejection might point to a flaw in your plans or a gap in your presentation. With every no, you can refine and sharpen your product or presentation until it’s unbeatable and irresistible.
  • Burn for success – There’s one great thing about hearing the word “no.”  It makes me work even harder to get the result I want. You’re an entrepreneur. You’re an agent of influence. You have a goal. Use every rejection as fuel to help you work harder and faster to reach it.
  • Blast through your limits – The only limits on you are the ones you put on yourself. Sometimes it just takes a little rejection to make you burst through your perceived limits and discover a whole new set of skills and abilities that you didn’t know you had. Use every brush with negativity as a stepping stone to a stronger, more evolved version of you.

Remember, you are an entrepreneur – an “ideas” person. You see things that others won’t, so don’t be surprised when you hear a “no” response to your suggestions.

Rejection and criticism gets easier and easier to accept each time you face it. Once you have learned how to perceive it as the opportunity it is, you will realise that you are being given the gift of evolution, and that will take you as far as your imagination allows.

Are you ready to get out there and start pushing your boundaries?

Share your war stories below.


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  • Ben Angel
    Ben Angel

    Have you got a ‘rejection war story?’

    Share what you learnt from it here, we’re all friends here.


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