By Sunny Simon
Reading the urgent email from my client I experienced one of those queasy feelings in my stomach having nothing to do with extra spicy Thai food I’d eaten at lunch. It was more like the feeling you get when your BFF tells you she was dumped by her long-time love. Understanding the pain of rejection your body immediately goes into physical sympathy mode.
Monica, the client I’d been assisting with her job search, messaged me that she did not get the job. While out shopping for some new business apparel and expecting to receive a call with good news about an offer, Monica instead received the toneless standard email informing her of the company’s decision to select another candidate.
This rebuff was big. It was not the casual rejection when a company opts for someone more qualified. My client’s expertise was spot on. She was well matched by all standards and had even worked with one of the executives from afar at another company.
As I processed my client’s news about the lack of an offer, I immediately wanted to rush to her side offering positive thoughts about moving on, but I knew the timing was wrong. She wasn’t ready to hear it, and I don’t do “everything happens for a reason,” coaching anyway. Emailing back I expressed deep regrets it did not work out and advised Monica to recognize her painful emotions. I promised to follow up in 24 hours.
In my book, 24 hours is a magical time period. It means between an action and more reaction, we sleep. If your mom taught you “things will look different in the morning,” she was right. Notice I did not write “better,” I wrote “different.” Monica’s rejection would still be painful after a night of slumber. No magic fairy dust was going to make it better. What we can count on after 24 hours is some softening of the brittle edges of disappointment. After a period of sleep we could better analyze the situation, which is exactly what we did.
Dealing with a heavy blow is always going to be painful. No number of positive platitudes will change the reality of a situation, but you CAN ride it out and bounce back. My “go to” rule on dealing with rejection can be summed up in these three r’s: Recognize the rejection and the pain, rest for a period, then begin to rebuild. It works every time.
Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching and the author of the blog, www.lifeonthesunnyside.net