In the public square of social change, rejection is intensely personal. If you believe in your mission, and if you are giving it your all, then it’s always personal. Let’s admit that every dedicated social entrepreneur takes rejection personally!
Every change agent and societal visionary worth a damn is always working against, and undermining, the status quo. Therefore, inescapably the largest percentage of feedback will be negative – if not downright hostile.
Because life is lived in a series of feedback loops, unrelenting disappointment – a feedback loop of Noes – can result in dejection, fatalism, cynicism and jaded negativity – and, sometimes, even anger. I know this is true because it happens to me, even though most of my colleagues would tell you that I am a generally upbeat, optimistic, high-energy person.
Commonly, the vocabulary of social change prizes the stoic, outwardly assured over the doubting collaborator who is feeling beaten down or disillusioned from tackling huge social justice problems which, by definition, remain forever unresolved. A few actionable tips:
In pursuit of your values, rejection can play havoc with your virtues: It can make you risk averse. It can corrupt your social action self-confidence. Your capacity to manage rejection, day in and day out, is the most important skill you aren’t taught in school.
– Jonathan C. Lewis, Host/Founder, Café Impact (original blog at Huffington Post)