Jan. Feb. & Mar. 2018 How to Turn Rejection into Triumph/ Keep Focus as Business0
By: Myeshi Briley, MS, HS-BCP, BREC
Many people think luck is the key to success. However, a more honest look at the road to success is to envision it as a rocky trail that’s narrow and going up a winding, steep incline with lots of loose rocks rolling in random directions as you fight to keep your footing and not slip off. As there is the dark before the dawn, failure usually comes before success. The secret to success isn’t—don’t fail, it’s how you deal with failure or rejection.
Learn From Your Mistakes
Let’s look at a favorite innovator of the day, Elon Musk. After investing $12 million of his own money into co-founding X.com, it merged with its rival Confinity, and was
renamed PayPal. Musk was ousted as CEO and PayPal then accepted eBay’s offer to buy in. After the 1.5 billion deal finally went through, Musk came away with $180
million after taxes. He took that amount and put it all into SpaceX and Tesla Motors. At one point, teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, Musk debated if he should get rid of
one of his companies so the other would succeed. He stayed with both. His net worth is now around $14 Billion.
So, maybe you didn’t make the quarterly numbers but overstepping the mark shows ambition. After all, people who play it too safe aren’t likely to think up remarkable
ideas. So, to help turn rejection to triumph ask yourself why did this happen. Examine everything in detail and figure out what you could have done better. How can you
learn if you don’t know what you did wrong? Think of errors as keys to success.
If you can pinpoint what went wrong, you’ll know what not to do next time. It’s not the failure that’s important, it’s what you do next. Look at Bill Gates. Microsoft flourished in its early years because Gates embraced failure. He said, “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it’s more important to heed the lessons of failure. How a company deals with mistakes suggests how well it will bring out the best ideas and talents of its people, and how effectively it will respond to change.”
Try, Try Again
When you see what you did wrong, correct it and try again. Rejection isn’t terrible unless you don’t learn and grow from the experience and try again. And again. And again, if needed. Steve Jobs for example, was no stranger to failure. In 1985, after several product failures such as the Lisa and the Apple 3, and revenues from the Apple 2 significantly slowed down, the board of Apple fired him as head of the Mac division, and then from the company altogether. But Steve Jobs overcame all his failures. He shed light on how he continuously overcame the fear of failure when he explained that it was his fear of death that ultimately drove his decisions. He said, “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of
embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only
what is truly important.”
Develop Thick Skin
Instead of giving up, put a spring in your step and lift your head high. Make rejection as impersonal as possible. Look at Donna Karan, the fashion icon that gave the world “7 Easy Pieces” in the ‘80s and the first two initials behind the DKNY fashion empire, had a rough start to her career. Back when she was a student at Parsons School of Design, she truly struggled with the basics of fashion design. She said, “They never thought I would make it as a designer. I failed draping!”
Expand Your Horizons
Consider more than one goal. For example, after the 2000 presidential election, AL Gore didn’t run for president again. His legacy lives on though because of An Inconvenient Truth, the book he wrote which earned him a Nobel Prize and the 2006 documentary of the same name which won an Oscar.
Believe In Yourself
Be passionate about your goals. For example, Orville and Wilbur Wright had no formal engineering training but they didn’t let that stop them. They built kites and gliders for a number of years with not much to show for it but crash after crash. However, they changed the world on Dec 17, 1903, when they broke the bounds of gravity and flew a manned heavier-than-air machine. The two brothers were originally inspired by a toy helicopter that their father brought home and flew around the room. Orville took his father on what was his dad’s one and only flight. As Orville gained elevation, his dad enthusiastically yelled out… “Higher Orville, higher!” And, when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon, inside his spacesuit pocket was a piece of fabric from the wing of the original Wright Flyer.
Get creative. Look at Akio Morita, his first company, Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corp made rice cookers that unfortunately burnt the rice and of course didn’t sell well. But, instead of making knock-off products like many Japanese companies did, Morita wanted to develop quality innovative companies.
He focused on a pocket-size radio, but the best he could develop was a bit too big for a typical pocket, so he came up with the creative solution of simply having his salesmen wear shirts with oversized pockets so the radio would fit. Morita also understood how important branding is and changed the name of his company to Sony.
An Opportunity For Success
Look at starting over as an opportunity for success. For example, Henry Ford’s first automobile design was the Quadricycle, which wasn’t fit for mass production. Then he
launched the Detroit Automotive Company, which failed because he couldn’t stop tinkering, trying to make the cars perfect. Ford had little to show for his work 18 months into the effort, and the company was disbanded. Eventually, he founded Ford Motor Company and created the Model A. However, the first batch had so many problems that Ford had to send mechanics throughout the country to fix the cars. The good news, the mechanics came back with ideas to improve the cars, and that knowledge went into correcting the future builds. Henry Ford said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” No matter what type of business you are in, the road to success is often paved with rejection and failure. The difference between those who succeed and those who fail comes down to whether or not they choose to rise above the criticism and carry on.