“If you live for people’s acceptance, you’ll die from their rejection.”
“Rejection is God’s protection.”
“God’s “no” is not a rejection of you. It is a redirection to His plan that is always best for you.”
I was thinking about how to overcome rejection recently, and this memory surfaced:
I was in second grade and learning to use the phone – a rotary phone, mind you, and wondering how far that coiled cord would actually stretch. I was calling my friend Betsy to see if she could come over and play, and carefully dialing that wheel to get her number right. I nervously asked to speak to her, and when she said hello, I stumbled over asking her to come play. She asked me to hold on while she asked her parents, who were within my earshot on the other line, and somehow my brain knew to pull the phone away from my ear before I could hear their answer.
I was afraid to hear the word NO.
I can’t remember what could have caused this at such an early age. My parents weren’t yet fighting all the time yet, and we weren’t yet living in the poverty that soon set in after they divorced (which didn’t come until 3-4 years later). Maybe it was the knowledge that I’d been told no a lot from age 4 on as my siblings arrived (I relished being an only child for 4 whole years!).
As I came out of that memory, I thought how did I survive, and even succeed, in 25+ years of corporate sales/business development being afraid of rejection? To be honest, I learned to overcome rejection through my own strength by building up a pitbull-like grip on every opportunity, staying on the bite until someone actually said no. In fact, I actually had an attitude of “I will keep calling you until you say no because who’s afraid of a 2-letter word!” It was like a grudge match.
As I started my network marketing business, I often heard “rejection is God’s protection,” but it came with an attitude of “clearly that person saying no is missing out!” It wasn’t gracious, it was defensive. It was taking it personally, and again I moved forward, but again, like a grudge match. That was before I found Jesus.
Thankfully, Jesus got a hold of me and I learned that sometimes rejection IS God’s protection. And sometimes it’s just a word, a natural response, and it has zero to do with me. I read this Mark Batterson quote recently, “We worry far too much about the outcomes instead of focusing on inputs. We cannot make things grow. Period. All we can do is plan and water. But if we plan and water, God promises to give the increase.”
It reminds me of the diligence of the sower in Jesus’ parable. Regardless of the “rejection” of non-growth in certain soil, he keeps sowing. And I believe that is how we overcome rejection in business: we keep sowing. We keep serving. We keep loving. We keep trusting that God’s way is the best way, and if we walk in obedience to Him, He will redeem every step. Even the rejection.
In episode 188 of Redefining Hustle: Pursuing Success as a Christian Woman, I dug into the God’s Word to find out how His children dealt with rejection, and shared stories of how they learned to overcome rejection (including Jesus Himself!). Stories found in scriptures like:
Genesis 37-50 – Joseph’s story of repeated rejection and eventual completion of God’s plan for him.
1 Chronicles 22:7-13 – God’s rejection of David was redirection of the assignment to Solomon.
And so many from the Gospels:
Here 4 ways you can overcome rejection and turn it into triumph with the power of the Holy Spirit.
DEFINE: Build your business on the truth that only God DEFINES you. Not your work, not your client roster, not the yes or no’s or the outcomes or achievements.
DIRECT: Let the Lord direct you, not the yes or no. Don’t take rejection personally – accept the no’s as part of the assignment, and don’t let other people’s decisions stop your progress in God’s assignment.
DISCIPLINE: Stay diligent in working within God’s direction. Establish a daily discipline for your work, including giving God your first fruits by starting every day with Him. Otherwise, you’re operating in the whims of the world and other people’s decisions…and in your own strength and power.
DEVELOP: Allow the Holy Spirit to develop your ability to accept the no’s and keep moving. Learning to “shake the dust” off your feet and to forgive/give grace to those who say no or reject you. Leaving them with grace, they’re likely to remember and refer you…or even come back to you in God’s Kairos time.
Download my 4 Keys tool for more on this and how to redefine hustle at https://erinharrigan.com/4Keys
Remember this when the rejection comes because it inevitably will. And be sure you’ve got someone in your corner to support your accountability and commitment to keep sowing and serving. Someone who will challenge you to stay focused and fruitful in the face of rejection. And that someone could be me! 😉 Let’s chat about how I can support you as your coach.