Money Matters

How to Pivot Quickly After Your Dreams Are Crushed


It’s been a tough week across the country. In households everywhere, parents are wiping their own tears and the tears of their college-bound kids who received rejection letters from their dream schools. 

It’s a bitter pill to swallow for an 18-year old, but let’s be honest. The medicine doesn’t go down any easier when we are in the “real” world.

There are a few things we can do to soften the potential rejection:

  1. Be realistic about your chances. Be as educated and informed as possible while you are pursuing a goal. 
  2. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.  Line up multiple opportunities for a goal you are pursuing. 
  3. Don”t take it personally. Know that most decisions aren’t personal. Often they boil down to who or what the deciding party needs at that precise moment in time. Everyone experiences rejection at some point.

If your goal doesn’t come to fruition, how can you quickly recover and look ahead to what is possible?

Here are 7 strategies to help you come to terms with the pain that invariably accompanies rejection, make peace with the decision, and ultimately move on. 

  1. Acknowledge Your Disappointment and Pain. It’s not weak to feel pain. It’s human. If you deny your pain, you’re paralyzing your ability to move through it. 
  2. Seek The Right Support. This is the time to critically analyze your inner circle. What you need most right now is compassion, empathy, emotional safety, and a totally judgment-free space. Anyone who doesn’t fit this criteria has to go. 
  3. Give Yourself Time to Grieve – But Not Too Much Time. There is a grieving process that accompanies a goal or dream that failed to materialize. It’s important to honor the grief. Equally important, however is a time limit. Achievers don’t have the luxury of wallowing in their own sorrow indefinitely. We must accept what has come to pass, and plan the next move.
  4. Reflect on What Doors the Failed Opportunity Has Opened.  You didn’t get the promotion. Where else can you go in the company or outside the company?  Your child didn’t get into the college of their dreams. Where will they land? You didn’t close the sale you anticipated. What was the real reason you didn’t get it? What can you learn from it?  Where can you direct your energy now to bring in other business?
  5. Remove/Disconnect Yourself As Much as Possible from The Failed Opportunity. Once a door has closed, reconfigure your life so that you aren’t constantly reminded of what didn’t happen. Leave any social media groups that may have been connected to your goal, archive all emails. Unsubscribe to lists connected to your pursuit. Revert back to life before you chased the opportunity.
  6. When You’re Ready, Tell Everyone Else. Once you’re at acceptance, proactively inform people who may have known what you were pursuing. Let them know you’ve processed the outcome, and you’re graciously accepting the new reality.
  7. Embrace the Now. The inability to release what no longer exists is one of the greatest causes of needless suffering. When we cling to what was, or to what we dreamed but never manifested, we stop ourselves from appreciating the present – even when it isn’t what we envisioned. 

Through all of this, it’s essential to find positive, healthy outlets for stress relief. Additional stress cranks up our cortisol and adrenaline, which lowers our immunity. Some ways to protect our health include:

What we focus on expands, and what we ignore dies. If we choose to only focus on what we’ve lost, we won’t be able to embrace the possibility of what is.  One decision never defines us. It is a blip on a larger radar screen, and never reflective of the totality of our complete experience. 

As cliché as it sounds, after rejection it is essential to “trust the process” so that we may be open to the opportunities that are indeed meant for us. 

“Accept then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. This will miraculously transform your whole life.” ~Eckhart Tolle.  

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