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BEING DIFFERENT AND REJECTIONS – How can a professional approach succeed?

You are unique. That is beautiful.

Being different from others can be, however, very challenging as well.

You definitely know the feeling of really being different from the others, be it in a group or in a team at a professional workplace. This doesn’t only refer to external characteristics, but maybe because you are very talented, or you have a different pace, or you simply have a different view to situations. Being different comes in many faces.

Occasionally, we doubt. Especially after experiencing some rejections. For instance, you may ask yourself, will I be accepted? Am I allowed to say something? What if they don’t notice and acknowledge me? Do I really have to participate in everything to be accepted?

 In an interview with Christine Eschelbeck, we talked about how a professional approach can succeed. The interview was in German and would love to thank Christine and the community for the inspiration. I would like to summarize 10 ways for you here so that we can be proud of our uniqueness and at the same time, leave a positive impact wherever we are.

  1. Accept that you are different. Do not fight against it. Be yourself and love your uniqueness
  2. Find out what your strengths are, and your weaknesses. Focus on your strengths. Do not work on your weaknesses, since this will too much energy away from you. Rather, strengthen your strengths and complement various teams positively. It pays to take the first step on issues that are important to you. A pioneering role is an exciting role. Fuel your creativity, you are different anyway. Dare! (Picture: Pinterest, Jill Chykosky Tanner)
  3. Look for allies. Look for people with whom you can achieve visible success because that way, you do not have to do a lot of convincing.
  4. Be careful with people, friends, etc. who only feel sorry for you. That is okay for a while. However, we need people who show us a different perspective, so that we don’t sink too much into self-pity, e.g., after a perceived rejection. People who tell us “look at it this way…”, or “maybe they weren’t aware”, or “are you sure or are just assuming”.
  5. Sometimes we tend to think for others and generalize. Just because you’ve already experienced rejection from one person doesn’t mean everyone is like that. E.g. “All Germans, all Swiss, all Kenyans are…or all supervisors are…” Give each single person a chance, especially if you are planning to work or corporate with this person.
  6. When someone makes a comment in a derogating way, in most cases, he or she never thought twice about it. Accordingly, you shouldn’t take it personally. It’s usually a reflection of his/her attitude and has nothing to do with you. If it really hurts you, and you feel it would be better not to ignore such a comment, ask that person to repeat it all over again. Just by requesting the person to repeat it, he/she will realize how the message is perceived.
  7. “Choose your fights well” Not all rejections have to do with you personally. It’s worth asking for feedback if something is important to you to find out what it’s really about. Many rejection reasons are not statements about you. Even if it hurts at first. Do not belittle yourself with these statements. Not all statements are relevant.
  8. Clarify each other’s expectations, for example, with your supervisor, with your business partners beforehand. E.g. “You are aware that my German is not perfect”. This shows commitment and the person will always stand by you. Learn from previous rejections and situations for next projects and for life.
  9. Know the values you stand for. What matters most is not the outside success but the inner success. Build your mental stronghold for more inner success. Laugh along now and then. Irrelevant remarks just pass by without really reaching you.
  10. Consciously change your perspective and put yourself in your counterpart’s shoes. Take time to understand the real fear of your counterpart: “What is it really about” is the question we should answer. (Picture: Pinterest, uploaded by Ramonita)

In the business context, you might be tempted to reject others before you are rejected, or even tend to “pay back” unconsciously. Be aware of this and practice self-reflection so that you do not do the same to others. Give room and space for others to complement you. 

As Steven Covey puts it “Seek to understand before you are understood”, we can also say in a nutshell:

Seek to accept yourself and others before you expect others to accept you.

Susan Omondi, May 2021

What would you like to add? I am curious.

Yours

Susan Omondi

May 16th, 2021

PS. On June 5th, we will be talking about “Diversity: the magic in you”. Touching and inspiring. My team and I will glad to meet youhttps://www.linkedin.com/embeds/publishingEmbed.html?articleId=7939042708459255889

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