Learning from rejection and moving forward #HeshDeSilva

July 1, 2014

Heshan S

Rejection is one of the hardest pills to swallow. The feeling you get when someone tells you that you are not good enough. Inadequate. Under qualified. Sub-par. I could go on and on but I’m sure you get the point.

We’ve all faced rejection. Much of the time it was painful, but the lessons learned from it are often priceless. I find that my life has been defined by times I was let down – or I let down myself – and so that is the focus of this week’s blog.

Let’s start with relationships. The people you surround yourself with will inevitably define the story of your life. Are they people who build you up or tear you down? Do they inspire you to dream big, or tell you your dreams are worthless? Do they help you get to where you want to go, or keep holding you back for fear of losing you? These are all questions you need to ask yourself – both in your business and social life. If you surround yourself with the right people for you, you’ll find life progressing, and yourself growing. But if you find yourself stagnating, take a good look at the company you are keeping – chances are it’s not conducive to your growth.

Have you ever emailed, Tweeted, Facebook-ed, or called a CEO and been rejected? Either you never got a reply, or you were left disappointed. Don’t even get me started on the number of ‘[email protected]’ emails I’ve spammed unsuccessfully! Trust me, you are not alone. When I was starting out, I used to guess the potential email addresses of CEOs and send out emails in the hope that one of the guesses turned out right. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Then you get a phone number, and call repeatedly plus text without a reply.

I’ve been there too. It’s hard, when you’re so close then suddenly feel like you’re on different planets. These are some of the most testing times for young entrepreneurs. It’s also the most common time for young people to give up. It took me 6 months to get a reply for my first partnership, then a further 6 months before the product was sold. Resilience in the face of setbacks is key to your success.

I’ve been told that I’m too young, not experienced enough, & unqualified yet to not finish university. I’ve had people put me down saying I wouldn’t be able to deliver against orders, and that my product will be substandard because ‘young people take shortcuts’. Be prepared to have people who do not know you make judgements about you. You’ll hear it all and maybe more. If I could still rise despite this, you definitely can too.

Remember these things along your journey.

– Never put people down so that you can have an upper hand.
– Keep your conscience clear by not wronging people.
– Always take the GOOD examples from people you meet, and leave out their bad.
– Everyone and every experience has something to teach you – be an open learner.
– Know the difference between RIGHT and WRONG and never allow your beliefs to be compromised for something as temporary as money.

And finally, 3 out of every 1000 entrepreneurs in Kenya will become successful. Those are terrible odds, and when coupled with the inevitable rejections you will face – can seem like a mountain to climb. And it is! The only way to increase your chances is by doing what you’re passionate about, knowing your business inside and out, and always taking baby steps forward without allowing yourself to stagnate due to something as small as an excuse.

I wish you the best.

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