Dealing with Rejection and Failure

“Most fears of rejection rest on the desire for approval from other people. Don’t base your self-esteem on their opinions” – Harvey Mackay. On Day 4 of Employability Week, Guidance Co-coordinator Klaudia shares her advice on dealing with rejection and failure.

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1. Take time to process the rejection

Take a bit of time to process your thoughts and feelings that have come about because of the rejection or failure. Don’t push away the feelings, instead, try to understand them and find peace with them. If a feeling is repressed, it never goes away, it can come back when you least expect it but if you acknowledge that you’re feeling sad, angry or any other negative emotion you may be feeling, you will come to terms with it and it will help build up your resilience over time. In a society so fixated on winning, achieving and earning, we often forget that success is ultimately linked with failure.

You cannot change the fact that stressful events happen, life is stressful, so instead focus on what you CAN control. You CAN control how you react to these events. A good tip for this is try to look beyond today’s failure or rejection and into the future and how things will be better.

2. Focus on the good

Once you’ve understood and accepted those feelings, take time to shift your focus to what you still have in your life and what you believe in. If you’re finding yourself dwelling on past rejections and failures, remind yourself of what you have achieved and of what you’re yet to achieve. Nothing happens in one day and not everything happens on the first try either, so don’t give up.  

 “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed” –Michael Jordan

Another tip is setting some small, realistic goals. Do something regularly – even if it seems like a small victory – that enables you to move towards your goals and at the same time build up your self-esteem and resilience. Ask yourself: “What’s one thing I know I can accomplish today that will help me move in the direction I want to go?”

If you talk to people who have been through a difficult time or faced multiple rejections and failures in their lives, they are more than likely to tell you that they have learned and grown from the experience. So rather that dwelling on the negative and thinking that life will be forever bad, try and maintain an optimistic outlook by visualising what you want rather than worrying about what you fear.

3. Make Changes

Now pick yourself up and learn from your experience. What went wrong, and what can you do to improve. Maybe you need to approach the challenge from a different perspective. If it was a job you didn’t get, what can you do to make sure you get it next time? Do you need to prepare better notes for the interview, ask for feedback from the recruitment team, speak with people who already work there and ask for advice? Maybe you need some experience…ask if you can volunteer there and gain some valuable experience. That way you can also gain an insight into how the organisation runs. Maybe you need more qualifications, what courses can you pick up to maximise your chances of getting into the job? There are a million and one things you could be thinking about but one thing is for sure, nothing is going to change if you don’t make some effort.


Remember that Klaudia is here for guidance and support and can be found in C10 Mondays and Fridays or contacted on