How to handle rejection

How to handle rejection

Not everyone finds it easy to ask for what they need or want. The very act of asking opens us up to potential rejection – especially if what we’re seeking is really important to us. Marketing coach Stephanie Ward shares why it’s important to ask anyway, and how you can soften the blow if it’s a "no".

In life, to get what you want, you need to be willing to ask for it. Whether it’s related to your work or personal relationships, this can be scary. Because when you ask people for things, sometimes you’ll get a "no". How do you handle that?

Well, it’s possible to get a "no" and not feel bummed out by it! In fact, you can even see "no" as a good thing (more on all of this in a minute). Here are some ideas of things you can ask others for:

What you might ask for…

“Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it!” ~ Maya Angelou

  • Ask someone to go to lunch
  • Ask for a promotion or a raise
  • Ask someone to help you move
  • Ask someone to babysit your children
  • Ask someone for emotional support
  • Ask someone to introduce you to someone

Asking for things can make us feel vulnerable, but the very act of asking is a bold step towards self-empowerment. Asking for support is not a sign of weakness; it is an act of great courage. No matter whether the response is yes or no.

Five ways to handle "no" 

Here are five ways to deal with a possible rejection: 

#1 If you don’t ask, the answer is always "no" 

Not taking any action is going to bring about a predictable result: nothing. This quote pretty much sums it up perfectly:

“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.” ~ Nora Roberts

#2 "No" right now isn’t necessarily "no" forever

Frequently, timing is an issue. People may be interested, but it’s simply not the right time for them to say "yes". They may tell you this – and if they don’t, you can always ask. If it is a matter of timing, see if they’d like you to get in touch again further down the road. If they say "yes", clarify when would be a good time and then put it in your calendar and be sure to make it happen.

#3 Every "no" brings you closer to a "yes" 

Don’t let a "no" make you give up and stop asking. It’s up to you to continue to ask others until you find the person who does say "yes". Each "no" brings you closer to a "yes". Think about every "no" as a stepping-stone that you walk across, moving towards a "yes".

“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” ~ Jim Watkins

#4 Sometimes "no" leads to better things

If you’ve asked for something, obviously you wanted the answer to be "yes". And if it is "no", even though you can’t see it now, it’s possible that this was the best thing that ever could've happened… and that there is an even more fruitful opportunity right around the corner.

“Rejection is often the universe leading us in a different direction. See rejection as guidance rather than loss.” ~ Gabrielle Bernstein

#5 Don’t take "no" personally

I know this is a tough one. Remember, however, it’s not always about you! 

Feeling inspired and confident

I hope you’re feeling inspired enough to get asking for what you need or want! I hope you also feel confident that if you do ask and get a "no", you’ll know how to deal with this in a constructive way.

Thanks to Stephanie Ward for writing this article. Stephanie Ward is a Business & Marketing Mentor who helps passionate small business owners attract more clients and grow their businesses. 

What do you ask people for? How do you deal with ‘no’? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments' section. 

Vivian  Chiona


Vivian Chiona

Vivian Chiona is the founder and director of Expat Nest (, which provides emotional support to expats and their families through online counseling services. A bicultural, multilingual expat with family...

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Leave a comment

NupurBagril 15:08 | 26 April 2020

I think rejections teach a lot. If you get something really fast, you think everything is right and there is no scope of improvement. But when you face rejections, you really learn to persevere and become much more patient while developing your skills for personal/professional growth. One should take rejections positively and be assured that something better will come your way!!

vivianchiona 15:32 | 22 July 2020

Dear Nupur, Thank you so much for your comment. Glad you found this article valuable. I couldn’t agree more with you that rejections and how we handle them efficiently can really build our resilience. It can make or break you. Best, Vivian