How to lose like a winner
One morning in 2004 my favourite client took me to a café for what I thought would be a briefing. Turns out I was being told my services were no longer required.
It wasn’t me, it was him…he needed to develop his writing skills so he could engage directly with his audience. I was crushed but took it on the chin, just like the other times I lost out on work I had my heart set on.
Rejection is a part of soloist life but like all hardship, there’s a lesson to be learnt if you handle it well.
Keep your cool
I’m all for being human in business, but while showing a degree of disappointment is reasonable, losing your head is not. When hearing unhoped for news, pull on your big boy’s/girl’s pants and stay respectful of the other party.
Follow up with a thank you
A handwritten note to say you appreciate the work you’ve done together, or the opportunity to pitch, will stick in the mind of your ex. If things go pear-shaped with their choice/alternate strategy, you’re likely to be next in line.
"Rejection is a part of soloist life but like all hardship, there’s a lesson to be learnt if you handle it well. "
Look for feedback
They may try and fob you off here but you may learn something you hadn’t realised. Maybe your experience wasn’t specific enough, maybe they didn’t think you represented good value (the scoundrels!). Maybe you already know the answer. Assess the responses reasonably before making policy changes, i.e. don’t let the tail wag the dog.
Congratulate the successful candidate
If the job fell to another, say well done. Don’t view those in your industry as competitors. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Instead, see them as collaborators. What if they’re super-stretched due to the juicy new job they’ve landed? Wouldn’t you offer spillover work to that nice person who patted you on the back after they missed out? What a great and gracious individual!
Back in ’04 I remember managing a “Thanks, I’ve really enjoyed working with you.”
Three months later I got an email (very flash technology back then) from the man himself, asking whether I’d like to co-write a book. Would I ever!
A decade on and I have wreaked revenge on Robert in a number of small but significant ways.
Not really, I’m an awesome and entirely unresentful work wife.
Have you reaped a silver lining from a rejection? Tell me about it.