Monday, December 12, 2011


Those with a glass half-full see rejection as a lesson from which we can learn. Those with the glass half-empty see rejection as a broken rung on the ladder or another shovel full deeper for the current rut.

Either way, rejection can be a tough thing to swallow. (how's that for 5+ metaphors in 3 sentences?!)

Rejection can be a job not offered, a project on which we're not included, a mentor not found, a "no" for a request.... Rejection is anything where a someone cut us off.

"No" is a fact of life;  we don't get only green lights. However, some rejections are because of lack of preparation.

Before you ask for the "sale", ask yourself:

  • Does everyone have all the information they need to come to an answer?
  • Why might someone say "no"?
  • Will a "no" be a final answer or can we ask for the reasoning and perhaps meet it? (can we even meet it in advance ...see 1st bullet...)
  • If they say no, what are the remaining options? Do we need to put some contingency plans in place?
  • Have we made it easy for someone to say "yes"?
  • Do they understand the what's in it for them (if they say "yes")?
There is a great parenting book that postulates that most of the time, when parents say "no", they really mean "not now" or "it's inconvenient" or "I'm uncomfortable".  Which makes a "no" to be negotiable. In a professional situation, we say "no" for some of the same reasons. Which means we could cut rejection by a significant amount if we offer answers to the spoken and unspoken concerns before requesting our answer.

We're still going to get rejected for reasons outside of our control.... but first let's make sure we've covered all the aspects we can control.


Laura Hagglund said...

I'm so glad i caught up on your blog this morning. This post, combined with how to ask for what you want and the passions post kind of sum up my situation right now. Reading this is helping me put a framework on it. Thanks.

Dennie Theodore said...

Laura - any time... you know how to reach me :-)