Professional Losses - Bouncing Back


| The road to your salary is paved with tough professional situations.

When I interviewed for my job in Sales and Business Development, one of the questions I was asked by my Chief Commercial Officer (my boss’ boss’ boss) was how I handle rejection. My answer at the time was lead by a marginally funny joke about dancing vigorously to Miley Cyrus while evaluating situational timelines and implementing lessons learned from the situation. And with the exception of the Miley portion, I have implemented the latter half of my answer in my daily career every day since being hired. So today, I wanted to break it down just a bit further, and share how I recover from professional situations that don’t go my way.

1. Take a breath: This just in…the sky, in fact, is not falling. This is especially true if the loss comes as a surprise. It’s always shocking to be expecting a certain result and it hits rock bottom before you even knew it was tumbling. Remember to slow it down. Grieving is part of the process and shock accompanies failure almost every time, so take that time to get a grip. So when you have stopped contemplating office arson or sending a hate email to your teammate, head down to number 2.

2. Don’t take it personally: Obstacles and tough situations will happen routinely throughout your career and if after every one, you spiral into a deep, self-centered pity party or temper tantrum, you are going to waste A LOT of valuable time and energy. With the exception of a performance review (a topic for another post), more than likely, you are only collateral damage in the scheme of a business transaction. Remove yourself. The time, effort, and sleepless nights you may have worked on that pitch, that contract, that presentation, that process improvement was not a factor into the decision that was made. Business is about numbers and something or someone else had better numbers. Simple as that.

3. Re-evaluate and study: I’m an analytical personality, so I always want to know the “why”. Why did so and so win over on me? Why didn’t I notice this was the deciding factors? Why does this keep happening? What could I do differently to prevent this from happening next time? What has changed? After giving yourself time to process through your initial shock and awe, it is time to move on to thinking on the situation at hand. It’s time to ask yourself the touch questions and really reflect. Why did you lose? Why was this other person, idea, presentation, etc better than me?

4. Write Down what you learned: there is a lesson in everything. Whether that’s not to put so much emotional weight in a certain person, to ask the right questions during an interview, to be more diligent in preparation...there is a lesson to learn. Write them down in a journal, planner, diary, the pages of your Bible. Somewhere you can refer when faced with a similar situation in the future. Because you are never smarter than after you have experienced failure.

Setbacks are frustrating, difficult and can yield tough conversations with your boss and peers. But it is a necessary part of learning and growing professionally and personally. Remember to take it easy on yourself, and make the best of the situation by keeping perspective and growing from it.


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