Hands up if any of this has happened to you: You bombed a job interview because you weren’t prepared. Or was told off in front of your colleagues for not doing a good-enough job. Perhaps you made a huge blunder during the presentation and your boss’ less-than-pleased face says it all. Maybe you were made redundant and told sorry, you’re not the right fit for the role three months into the job.
At least one of the above? That’s right – it has happened to all of us. That feeling you get? Like your confidence was given a one-two punch and jab, with you walking away head down and “tail” down between your legs. In short, it sucks. And it makes you feel like crawling into a small hole to hide away for the rest of your life.
Now now, come out of that hole. This is something you will need to get used to when working; that there will be at least one incident where someone else will think you’re not good enough. And it’s nothing to be ashamed off! Lots of people were rejected and still came out of it doing even better – like Elvis (who was told he’s better off driving trucks instead of singing), Lady Gaga (she was dropped just three months after signing with a major record label), Stephen King (his book Carrie was rejected 30, yes 30!, times before a publishing house actually picked it up) and Michael Jordan (who was ironically dropped from his high school basketball team). In fact, it is Jordan who says it best about bouncing back after a confidence blow: “I have missed over 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I have missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Moral of the story? You can bounce back even when someone tells you that you’re not good enough. Who knows, it might even be the “failure” you need to make you better at what you do… or even change course to find something you’re more suited for.
How to bounce back? Here are our four strategies:
#1 What can you learn from it?
Once you’re done feeling sad and depressed, think of what you can learn from that rejection. Did you prepare enough for the presentation? Maybe you were overly confident when you thought you had that new client in the bag. Don’t take things for granted; having any kind of expectations at all is the first reason why you feel like you’ve been punched in the gut when things don’t go your way. Your confidence blow may actually highlight some shortcoming in your skills or a character flaw so use this opportunity to regroup and think of what it is you need to improve to avoid this from happening again.
#2 Move on
That’s the best thing you can do instead of wallowing in self-pity. Everyone makes mistakes, and sometimes more than once. So learn from your mistake but don’t let it get you down. We sometimes think too much of the past (ie the mistake) that we forget to brush off the bruised ego and continue to do the good work we’ve been doing all this while. Don’t let one incident create self-doubt. Remember what you’re good at, what you’ve achieved so far, and what you are going to do to continue accomplishing things.
#3 Have a chat with the person who blasted your confidence
This is a bold move but if you really need clarity, it’s probably for the best. And if you have the opportunity to do so, why not! Nothing like getting first-hand review. Boss made a comment about the quality of your work? How about you set up an appointment to talk about what went wrong and how you can improve yourself. Didn’t get that job? While you might not be able to have a post-mortem with the person who interviewed you, maybe you can ask someone with more experience for insight on what you could have done wrong. It’s all about getting feedback and using that to improve.
#4 Don’t minimise your goals
It’s normal to want to do bare minimum for fear of being criticised again. Don’t want to share that brilliant idea of yours for fear of rejection? Shrinking in the background because you don’t want the spotlight on yourself again, even if it might be positive? Setting the bar low for yourself in this instant may save you from being singled out but it will also deprive you of achieving anything at all. Now that would be the biggest confidence blow in our opinion.
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