Leaders are probably the most rejection-prone people on the planet. Most of the greatest leaders of all time have been on the receiving end of criticism and rejection at some point. As great leaders, we need to learn the art of dealing with rejection if and when it arises as we pursue our goals.
For example: if you're looking for seed money for your startup -- it's likely you're going to get rejected at least a few times. And some of those VCs might not be so nice to you… Are you going to let those rejections prevent you from asking the next VC?
If you already run a business, or lead an organization, you've probably already experienced rejection and criticism about something you've decided to do or say…
Often times, the person dishing out the negativity is saying something that's irrelevant or unsubstantiated… What will you do? Are you going to get all fired up and angry? Or will you handle it with valor?
I've learned an incredibly effective way to deal with rejection, and I'm going to share it with you in a story about the Buddah (yeah, really ;-)
Buddah was well known for neutralizing "evil" with "good". So, one day, a man decides to see how great Buddah was at doing this. So, he comes up to Buddah and starts cursing him out -- yelling and shouting all sorts of obscenities at him. The Buddah just sat there calmly, waited for him to finish yelling, and when he was finished, Buddah asked, "May I ask you a question?"
MAN: "Yeah, what?!?"
BUDDAH: "If someone offers you a gift, and you decline to accept it, to whom then, does it belong?
MAN: "Well.. then it belongs to the person who offerred it."
BUDDAH: "That's correct… So if I decline to accept your abuse, does it not then still belong to you?
The man was speechless, and walked away.
This might be a great strategy for you to think about next time you feel as though you're being criticized by someone.
And if all else fails, recall the words of another great leader that went by the name of Gandhi:
"Nobody can hurt me without my permission."