Rejection stings. There’s no way around it. Whether you didn’t land the business partnership you were banking on or the sponsorship proposal you worked on for months wasn’t accepted, being rejected can feel profoundly personal. To make matters worse, as humans, we’re hard-wired to resist rejection and the feelings of failure that come with it.
That’s because, thanks to dopamine, the anticipation of success can feel just as exciting as achieving that success itself. When we’re anticipating the desired outcome, our brains behave as though that outcome has already happened, which is why hearing “no” is so alarming, and overwhelming for some of us.
In my ten-year career, I’ve experienced my fair share of rejection. I know what it feels like to be taken off a project I’m passionate about or lose an advancement opportunity. I can recall the exact humiliation that came with spending months on a partnership proposal to a multinational company, only for the idea to be stolen by the corporation without any compensation.
But there’s one thing I’ve learned through all these tough moments, and it is: Rejection is not failure. Rather, It’s an opportunity to learn and to grow, and ultimately, to succeed.