It happened again just this week. Someone reversed course on me. Didn’t do what they said they were going to do.
I had been running a phone campaign pretty heavily all week in an effort to book speaking gigs and workshops. I had a great conversation with one individual in particular. We connected on one of my workshop offerings, and the answer was, “Call me back tomorrow so we can book some dates.”
Now, I know. I know. A true salesperson never gets emotionally involved in the sale. I should do a better job of distancing myself, but I’m selling me, my dream, my message, so it is a little difficult not to get emotionally involved in the sale.
I did call back only to hear the dreaded, “no”. Something had come up, and he is not able to book me at all. Ever.
As many times as I have been through this, it still feels like a personal rejection. Like I’m getting dumped at the 7th grade dance.
Do You Know What is at Stake?
Readers, when this happens to you, you must understand exactly where you are. For years, I did not understand what was at stake, and I did not know how to navigate this inner terrain.
When you meet with that instant of jarring defeat, there is only one thing you can do.
Years ago, before I was familiar with this part of the roller coaster, I would go straight to just feeling rejected. I was hurt, so I did something to nurse my wounds. This usually involved some type of “woe is me” catastrophizing or getting out of the house to run some errand that had suddenly become so important.
This week I did something much different — I got back on the horse. You see, for me, if I don’t pick up the phone and make that next dial, I have a great history of letting that loss, that rejection, become the defining moment of my day.
Avoid the Spiral
When I met with rejection in the past I used to go down this mental spiral of despair. It involved doubting my call, thinking I was misinterpreting my purpose, and waking to the fact that God was really trying to tell me that I just wasn’t cut out for this. Then I would spend the next few days not doing anything really productive in my business.
I can’t tell you how many times I did this.
Years later as I started studying individual performance for my doctoral degree I learned that there is a name for what I was doing. It is called emotion-based coping. It is classic avoidance behavior, and it is usually not a good thing.
After I had some time and some distance I was finally able to see just how damaging my behavior was to my long-term success. Now that I can see this — the accumulated effect of my emotion-based coping — it makes it much easier for me to pick up the phone to place that next call.
I have learned the valuable lesson of making a molehill out of a mountain. What could be something that derails your entire day can, instead, turn into just a momentary loss if you treat it right.
The Results are Powerful
In sheer determination of NOT allowing my setback to ruin my day, I picked up the phone and dialed about half a dozen more prospects. I could feel the sting of rejection start to leave with the very first call.
By the end of call #4 I had spoken with someone who wanted me to send a proposal.
I did, and she booked a workshop!
Years ago I would have missed this win because I would be nursing my wound of rejection for the next several days.
When you fall, get back on the horse.