Skip links

Let’s talk about Resilience and Rejection

According to the dictionary, resilience is defined as ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.’ The type of difficulty can vary massively but today, we’ll focus on recovering from rejection. I don’t know about you but getting constant ‘I am sorry to inform you that you were not successful’ emails can be quite discouraging. However, whether it’s in application season, at school or just in life, resilience is an important skill and thankfully it’s one that we can develop as we continuously pick ourselves up from setbacks. 

What are some simple and practical ways to develop resilience after a rejection?

Gratitude and perspective

I strongly believe that these two are linked because remembering what you’re grateful for gives you room for perspective. After facing a setback or a rejection, our tendency might be to immediately think that everything is going wrong or that we are never successful at anything. In these moments, remind yourself of previous wins and the things that you are grateful for. It might be useful to do this exercise more regularly (on a weekly basis for example) in order to keep remembering the things, people or situations we are grateful for. So right now, I encourage you to write down 3 things that you are grateful for this week. 

Take a break

Resting and taking time off are some of the best ways to refresh yourself and regain motivation to try again. Doing the same thing over and over again without any breaks or changes can make the action incredibly repetitive. If you’ve been applying for some work experience for example and haven’t been successful so far, take a break from applying. During your time off, do some other activities that you enjoy and refresh you. After your break, think about why you want to get work experience or why you want a part-time job and use that as motivation to try again. 

Ask for feedback

You’ve returned from your break, you’ve yourself why and now before you move on, it’s important to face failure or disappointment one more time, but this time- to learn from it. Receiving feedback helps us to know exactly where we went wrong and exactly how we can improve the next time. I recently got rejected for a programme I applied for and I asked for some feedback. The organisation was incredibly helpful and provided me with some clear and useful feedback. I was able to see which parts of the application process I did really well in and the other areas in which I didn’t. This feedback will help me in the future when applying for similar opportunities. 

Get some inspiration

After a rejection, it’s easy to convince yourself that you are the only people who ever got rejected. Wrong. This is why listening to other people’s stories can be so encouraging as it reminds us that we’re not alone in this process as failure is often part of achieving success. I’d recommend talking to people around you about how they’ve dealt with rejection in the past, listening to a podcast or watching an inspiring YouTube video on the topic. I particularly love listening to inspiring podcasts and hearing other people’s journeys, especially whilst doing mundane activities such as washing the dishes. 

Try again

The last thing to do is to simply try again, apply for a different leadership position at your school or another work experience opportunity. However, remember that this time, you’re not starting all over again or starting from scratch, you’re starting from experience and because you’ve asked for feedback, you’re starting from an experience you’ve learnt from. 

As a bonus point (because I love these!) – remind yourself that you can do it even if it’s difficult. Our ability to conquer challenges increases as we grow and experience various things. Whilst I absolutely believe in making it as easy as possible for yourself to apply for that position, for example, trying again might be hard. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it!
Let me know in the comments, if you’ve ever dealt with rejection and how you bounced back from it? If you’d also like some inspiration through hearing other people’s journeys to help build your resilience, then do have a listen to the new thinkHER ambition podcast

Wriiten by Kofo
Kofo is a gap year student who loves to write about personal, academic and professional development. In her spare time, she loves to read fiction, eat ice-cream and watch dance videos. On the thinkHER blogs, Kofo will be writing on topics including personal growth and reviewing her favourite books to help you on your continuous growth journey.

Leave a comment

  1. I know exactly what you mean! The point about finding inspiration is really good. I personally love stories like J.K. Rowling and Stephen King. They got rejected by everyone. Reminding yourself of the fact that everyone gets rejected a bunch before getting a “yes” is really helpful.
    Awesome post!