How To Deal With Failure and Rejection

Today I received the result back for my first masters level assignment and my result was a FAIL. The situation isn’t quite as dramatic as it sounds; it’s actually very black and white. The mark received was for a 500 word draft of an essay due in further down the line and I failed on a technicality. I didn’t complete my referencing to a satisfactory level (…my argument being that it was a draft) which meant an automatic fail. I should also point out that this mark has no bearing on anything whatsoever and considering none of my feedback was about the content I provided I’m gonna assume that I’m on the right track!

It got me thinking though, about how we deal with failure or rejection. Because to be honest I’ve not really failed at many things in my life to date and that can be as much a curse as a blessing. Notable failures include my first driving test (I put that down to bad luck as I passed when I retested 6 weeks later) or my Chemistry AS Level; I think I got an E? …that’ll be down to sitting the exam in the midst of the death of a family member and not writing one single answer. And that’s it really. But the more success you achieve, the greater the fall when failure does come knocking.

So I thought I’d put my strategies in a post to share with you. Having been blogging for over 5 years now and working freelance in what is quite a cut throat industry (fitness) for even longer I’ve had my fair share of ups, downs and knock-backs but I think perception plays a massive part in how you handle each and every situation…

Allow Yourself A Set Amount Of Time To Sulk

I think it’s important not to get caught up in the emotions that you feel after a failure or rejection. It is of course completely reasonable that you might feel upset, angry or just down. But don’t allow it to take over for longer than necessary! That time could be well spent focusing on plan b or figuring out how to come back stronger and well as becoming clear on what you could learn from the situation this time round which leads me nicely into…

Try To Learn From Your Mistakes

(providing feedback is given and it is constructive)

It’s so important that you get feedback and if they don’t automatically provide it, ask for some. Job interviews or big pitches for brand collaborations are perfect situations to find out what areas you need to work on. Sometimes it is just that someone pipped you to the post but if you lost out because, for example, you didn’t sell yourself enough then you need to know so you can work on it for next time.

Open Up About Your Situation

Don’t be afraid to share your failures with friends, family or your support networks. It’s become abundantly clear that social media has become a space where we share just the best parts which actually serves to makes others feel a little less sure about how reality should feel. Y’know when everyone else just seems to have their sh*t together and just winning all the time?! I mean, I’m not saying you have to go and shout the not so great stuff from the rooftops (me failing my assignment did not warrant an Instagram post!) but just be aware of being balanced and use your real life friends or colleagues for a little mutual support. I’m pretty sure more than half my class failed too but it’s obvious some have taken it a bit more personally than others and each person has a different way of dealing with such a situation.

Make A Plan

So now we’ve had our time to feel emotional, what’s the plan? My plan for submitting an essay that will get me the pass mark I desire is to prioritise my time. I’m also not leaving all my referencing till the very end so that’s it’s a little less tedious and I can keep an eye on the amount of references I use (not using enough was some of the feedback). If you’ve found yourself not being successful at an audition or for a pitch, then find out when you can re-audition or pitch again using feedback you will have received. Because, we’re not gonna give up, right?!

Don’t Let It Stop You From Trying Again

Yeeees, don’t give up. Don’t let one rejection mean you’re not good enough. There’s a quote somewhere about when one door closes, build a new door. Or did I just make that up?! Well, either way, you can build a door, try another door, come back to the same door another time… you get the point!

And finally, on rejection…

No Doesn’t Mean Anything.

I learnt this one on a programme I took part in some years ago now. When we are told no, we automatically go into autopilot using our past experiences to make it mean something. We’re not good enough, or we’re not confident enough… y’know all the little things that voice in your head tells you. All the reasons why you got that no. But that no doesn’t mean anything other than “no, not right now”. So it doesn’t mean that you can’t try again. And it doesn’t mean you must give up. So if you approach a brand for a collaboration and they say (for example), “no sorry we don’t have the budget right now”, go back and ask when would be a good time to contact them and pop a reminder on your diary to follow up at the time they have suggested.

Basically, we have to just keep on keeping on. Don’t be afraid to talk to others and be as open as you can to allow others to talk to you openly and honestly. And smile at a stranger today or something, you don’t know their story and you never know, you just might make their day.

Do you have any fail-safe strategies for dealing with failure or rejection?? …and eating chocolate does not count.




  1. SM
    June 14, 2019 / 07:42

    The first 2 paragraphs were about you clarifying that the “fail” wasn’t even a failure therefore discrediting the entire article.

    • Elle
      June 14, 2019 / 07:51

      Thanks for taking the time to leave this comment. It’s clear you missed the point of the post which is about perspective. Ironic really!

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