3 reasons you keep getting rejected
Neuroscience shows that the same areas of our brain become activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain: rejection actually hurts.
Feeling the pain of rejection? I can relate. Recent research in the field of neuroscience shows that the same areas of our brain become activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain: rejection actually hurts. But is there a way to minimise it happening regularly?
I felt compelled to write about rejection after I listened to this fascinating podcast the other day about how it impacts the brain. Then yesterday, out of nowhere, we received an email from a company we really wanted to work with. Like REALLY wanted to work with! The email – from someone in the business I hadn’t previously heard of – informed us that our proposal had been unsuccessful and they’d gone for another provider.
Saddled with the pain of rejection, I sat up half the night reviewing our internal processes and systems and wondering where we’d dropped the ball on a gig that was, in my mind, both ‘in the bag’ and likely to take the business to a whole different dimension.
With the dawn of day came the dawn of realisation. After our initial enthusiasm and connection with the company in question, we’d gone quiet. Afraid to ask for an update in case we came across as pushy, we’d ended up being passive. Our silence led to the dreaded outcome – rejection.
After carefully mulling it over, I mapped out a sequence of events that revealed the heart of the issue:
After an epic pitch (I’m not kidding!), the CEO was pumped up by what we were proposing – things felt exciting.
We missed the opportunity at this stage to set clear expectations about how to keep in touch.
Time went by. More time went by.
Unbeknown to us, our client representative left the company and something got dropped in the handover.
We were rejected.
I emailed the CEO to express the fact I was genuinely sad that we weren’t going to be working with them. His reply that things were ‘going OK’ with the different provider – a lacklustre response not in keeping with his usual approach – was followed by the suggestion we ‘keep in touch’.
My conclusion? There are three key reasons behind missing out and getting rejected:
1. Not keeping in touch with people.
2. Not keeping in touch with people.
3. Not keeping in touch with people.
Whether the opportunity is the perfect job, ideal client or dream partner, keeping in touch and not being bashful about your intentions is key.
It’s a fine balance – you don’t want to come across as needy. But don’t let a fear of appearing too keen make you seem uninterested. At the outset, ask the other party for a good time to check in and follow up. Then put it in your diary and do it.
How you position yourself in the relationship also counts. View yourself as an equal and not in service of the other party; this changes the dynamic from ‘needy’ to ‘interested and engaged’. After all, building any great relationship starts with mutual respect and shared responsibility.
Here’s hoping that our experience helps guide you to better choices in the future.
And remember – keep in touch.
Podcast link: Treating the Pain of a Broken Heart
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