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The “Write” Way to Reframe Rejection

  • Posted by Margrita Colabuno | 2 min read

As an agent, you probably dream of an unending stream of leads and referrals effortlessly flowing into your phone and inbox. The truth is cold calling is a necessary part of the job—even if its success rate is only about two percent. And all that rejection can bring you down, making it even harder to pick up the phone. The good news is, by reframing how you respond to rejection, you can learn to view cold calling in a more optimistic light.

A recent article in Forbes shared a study about how people respond to rejection on the job and how that was linked to their happiness at work. Researchers grouped participants into four categories:

  • those who personalize rejection (Why doesn’t my boss value me?);
  • those who focus on processing it (What went wrong?);
  • those who analyze (Why or how did this happen?);
  • those who focus on the future (How can I move on?)

When asked how these participants felt about work, those in the last group were most likely to say they loved their jobs. What’s the connection? The theory is that because these folks focus on the future and tend to believe in unlimited opportunities, they feel better about their work. In other words, missing out on one (or several in the case of cold calls) doesn’t kill their mojo.

Does loving your job matter?

Aside from the fact that most professionals spend at least a third of their days at work, higher levels of happiness at work also correlate with increased productivity, creativity, and quality of service. All things that equate to success in the sales arena. So if you want to feel happier on the job—and potentially more successful—consider how you handle rejection.

To pinpoint your style, think about the last time you experienced the big “no” and how you responded. Did you start personalizing, processing, or analyzing? If so, you may want to practice another way. It’s easier than you think: The first step is self-awareness (understanding your style) then all you need is a pen and pad of paper.

You can teach an old dog new tricks

According to the article, a great way to cultivate a more optimistic style (and start falling in love with your job) is to write a list of upcoming opportunities where you’ll get a chance to try again and potentially hit it out of the ballpark. This forces your attention on future possibilities rather than past disappointments. It also shifts your attitude to glass half-full vs. half-empty, which leads to a sunnier outlook. If you’re not a fan of handwriting, you could always speak your list into your smartphone or type yourself an email or text.

Either way you choose to write your list, taking this simple step could help you make friends with rejection and lay the groundwork for a happier, more productive year ahead.  

Writing has been a passion since grade school, evolving into a journalism career followed by 10+ years in advertising and a full-time freelance writing business before joining Progressive in 2009 as a marketing communications specialist. Other passions include an eye-opening cappuccino, a soulful memoir, and a perspective-shifting downward dog.