Why losing out doesn’t always equal rejection

“Every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being redirected to something better” – Dr. Steve Maraboli.

This past month, both in Aotearoa and internationally, has seen high stakes rugby matches, elections, and high level appointments made. One of the downsides of high level sport, job interviews and political election is that there is only one winner. 

These contexts are competitive, implying the candidates are ‘match fit’, the best in the business, with experiences and capabilities fit for purpose. Pit two or more exceptional candidates for any position, sport, political elections, or job interviews, there is still only one winner. 

Too often, not being the winner, or not being chosen for a job you really want, feels like rejection. But is it? With job interviews specifically, is choosing one person over another really a rejection of the one not appointed? I don’t think so. My view is the real and deciding criteria only become clear after interviewing the candidates. The feeling of losing out may feel like being rejected, but actually what is not known is the criterion, or criteria the ‘winner’ was chosen for.

The feeling of losing out may feel like being rejected, but actually what is not known is the criterion, or the criteria the 'winner' was chosen for. Click To Tweet

Each time you are not chosen for a role you want, feelings of disappointment come racing in. Your future role is unclear. What do you do?

I counsel clients to dive deep into the disappointment…… for a day. Then to reflect – how confident are you that you gave the process your best shot? If yes or no, begin to look around and ask yourself these questions. What do you really want to do in your current role? What will you take on? What excites you? Are you in a transition, and if yes, what are your priorities before you hand over, or head in another direction?

With any loss, feelings can run high. If you let these dominate and act on your feelings, you push away your thinking and wise action into the background. It is easy to be critical of the ‘winner’, feel as if you ‘failed’, and to see the game or process as unfair or unclear ­– too long and drawn out, or the ‘referee’ inadequate. Questioning the process isn’t going to win you accolades in that you cast doubt and lack of trust on the people whose role it is to ensure the best candidate is chosen; the board, or CEO.

Missing out on something you care deeply about can be painful.  How you handle the loss shapes how you move forward from the setback. What is your first response to disappointment when you miss something you have worked hard for and were hoping for? Will you enhance your reputation with this set back or build your reputation for your next success? Talk with me if you want to build your resilience, and learn how to make option B as attractive as your first choice.

Diana Jones ©

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