Monday, August 2, 2010

How to Handle Rejection

How to Handle Rejection: Advice from Expert Paul Kerres. 
Written by J.F. Fritch

Many of us fear rejection. It isn’t easy or fun to be rejected in anything we attempt, whether love, employment, friendships, or life. In fact, rejection has become increasingly common amongst the majority of Americans since the downturn in the economy. Many people have lost their jobs, their homes, their families… their livelihood.

How do you face rejection? Is rejection some type of uncontrollable force on the wheel of life, or is it something you can control? Would you like to have the knowledge to overcome rejection and take charge of your life?

The secret to overcoming rejection was summed up for me lately up by longtime corporate training guru Paul Kerres of Nevada Leadership Institution. Mr. Kerres believes rejection is not something to fear, but something to triumph over. A Harvard Business graduate, business owner, motivational speaker and student of Dale Carnegie, Mr. Kerres shared his secrets for facing what many of us fear most - rejection.

"First," he said, "you must expand your prospects." In sales, this means we must realize that there are more potential clients out in the world than the few we are selling to. Enhancing your "prospect opportunity" from 3 individuals, to 300, takes the pressure of you to make those 3 fit your needs, and consequently keeps you for telegraphing that pressure onto them.

Mr. Kerres states that he gets more rejections than acceptances when making sales calls. How he overcomes having a negative emotional response to rejection is to remind himself that there are many other people who will respond. He continues to expand his calling list which in turn, expands his opportunities. If you only have three prospects and they all say "no," what would you do?

Success comes from learning how to turn bad news into good news.

Next, be a predator. O.K., not in sense that you must prey on helpless little baby gazelles in the Serengeti, or on helpless residents of Forks in Twilight. Rather, be a predator in the sense of taking investing the time to learn about those clients who need your services, like predators in the wild do by watching and learning about their prey. They follow their prospect closely, their eyes well-focused on the prize. This helps predators know and then determine what the best prospect is. As you are well aware, even the clients that need your help the most might initially be evasive.

Mr. Karres adds this example. “A lion in Africa will focus on its prey, a Zebra. But do you know why Zebra’s have black and white stripes in a land of greens, yellows, and browns?" He explained that when a lion charges and the Zebras scatter, their stripes create a zigzagging effect, making it harder for the lion to keep focus on any single target." The pattern and activity of the zebras confuses the lion and increases the likelihood that the lion will lose focus on its prospect.

Just like the lion, we must focus on our singular target and only if we are assured we have lost a prospect should we move on to another. It simply a function of nature that we don’t always get the prize, but knowing when to increase our efforts or quit and move on is the key. This is the subject of Seth Godin's outstanding book, The Dip.

Another factor in the rejection equation is to eliminate the negative people and bad influences in our lives. Every Hero School workshop we teach reiterates that to be successful, independent humans, how we must overcome our natural tendency to "hang out with" and learn from people just like us. There has never been nor ever will be a successful human life that didn't begin with leaving high school buddies and family members long enough to learn from teachers, coaches, and experts.

But Mr. Karres makes the additional point that having negative or just non-supportive people in our lives will contribute directly to our failure. There is no room for negativity when you are reaching for bigger goals. You must overcome the temptation to return to the types of family members, friends, and, as Donald Trump states in How to be Rich, losers who hold you back.

“All the mistakes I make arise from forsaking my own station and trying to see the object from another person's point of view.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don’t retreat back to what is comfortable, like horses whose instinct is to return to the safety of the barn - even if it is on fire. Ranch hands must tie them down in order to save them from themselves. And in similar cases, people are often like horses. The horse knows the barn is on fire. However, when the horse is scared, it will still go to the only place it knows for safety, the barn. The barn has all its water, all its food, and is the shelter. In its mind, the horse values comfort and safety over the flames in the barn.

Remember, success comes from dealing with rejection with a positive attitude and moving forward. Regressing to old habits and old situations that haven’t worked in the past, will not work any better in the future. Learn from your previous rejections and move forward with intent, the intent to keep doing what you're doing until you achieve success.


More on Paul Karres at

If you would like to learn more, Mr. Kerres suggests reading:
“The Greatest Salesman in the World” by O.G. Mandino
“Jonathan Livingston Seagull” by Richard Bach

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