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What To Do When Your Best Isn’t Good Enough

When you try your hardest and still fail, it can be devastating. When your best isn't good enough, here's what to do.

Over the course of your career, you’re going to deal with a lot of rejection even if you aren’t in creative fields like acting or writing.

Rejection stings, there’s no denying that, and each individual deals with rejection in their own respective ways.

Here are some of the ways when my best wasn’t good enough:

Give Yourself Time To Grieve

At the beginning of the year, I was told that I hadn’t been selected to move forward in the selection process for a government sponsored teaching abroad program. I tried to pretend that everything was fine, that I wasn’t bothered by the decision that had been made, but the truth was that I was crushed.

I let myself feel that pain for the next few days as I tried to move forward with my life, whether that meant fitting in an extra workout to blow off excess energy or excusing myself to go outside and have a good cry.

Let yourself feel your disappointment, or whatever other emotion comes with the rejection. The more you push your emotions down, the stronger they will get.

It’s healthier to express your emotions when you’re feeling them rather than pretending to feel an emotion you aren’t.

[Tweet “The more you push your emotions down, the stronger they will get.”]

Taking the time to feel your emotions after you get rejected from a position will allow you to take the next step in your career without holding onto any emotion from the past.

Seek The Support Of Loved Ones

No matter how many times you may be told, “Every ‘no’ is one step closer to a ‘yes,’” sometimes we all need a little reminder of how much we’re worth in order to give us motivation to keep going.

After I was laid off, I turned to my support group and made the grim announcement. Within minutes, encouraging messages from friends and other acquaintances came pouring in, soothing the ache I was feeling for the next few hours.

Your network can provide support as well as brutally honest feedback, especially if you have a few mentors in your corner. You can use their feedback and encouragement to build your confidence again.

Giving yourself time to spend with friends and family outside of the job search allows you to stay grounded. It’s easy to get caught up in the black hole that is the job search, but we all need time to recharge every now and again.

It’s easy to get stuck on the fact that you don’t have a job, but obsessing over it isn’t going to make the job come any faster.

So step away from your screen and say yes to that coffee date with a friend from school that you haven’t seen in a while or go out for dinner with your family.

Taking breaks allows you to recharge, and let’s face it, it’s nice to get words of affirmation from loved ones when we’re feeling down. 

Work To Reframe Your Mindset

Shortly after securing my first full-time position, I got a call from one of my bosses; I was subsequently laid off due to company restructuring. I had been working for them on a part-time basis prior to the promotion, so this came as a shock.

These individuals assured me repeatedly during the call that their decision had nothing to do with my performance, but despite the fact that their words comforted me, it didn’t change how I felt.

It was only then that I remembered one of the things the keynote speaker from this conference had said. He said the following:

“Rejection is nothing more than someone’s opinion and preference. It says as much about the person who gives the rejection as the people who receive it.”

Changing your mindset is no easy task, but completing little tasks along the way might help.

For example, I try to put aside time to exercise, write, and eat a healthy diet. Focusing on these little things and completing them makes me feel better about myself, which helps me to develop more positive thoughts about myself, and words of wisdom like the quote above have helped as well.

Work to find the little things that help you feel better about yourself and take little steps to complete those things. What works for me might not work for you, which is why I’m not going to give you a to-do list that’s engraved in stone.

Remember that what is “best” is subjective. Your best might not be good for one person, but it might just what another person is looking for. You are not worthless because the career move you thought was perfect for you turned out to be a flop.

[Tweet “Remember that what is “best” is subjective. Good for you, not for me.”]

Look At What You Have And Use It

 One of the many things that stuck out to me when reading The Last Lecture when I was about to graduate from high school at 18 was the quote,

“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.”

Sometimes that experience you get can end up being worth more than what you were originally aiming for. Even if you didn’t get the job you originally wanted, you can use that experience to evaluate your performance and make adjustments before your next job interview.

The experiences you come away with end up translating themselves into skills that work to your benefit. Maybe all the time you spent volunteering at a nonprofit as you helped to build their social media strategy didn’t add up to a job offer, but it built your writing portfolio and helped you improve your skills, right?

I’d say that’s a pretty major takeaway, wouldn’t you?

It’s easy to think that your best isn’t good enough, especially during the job search, and the entire ordeal can seem impossible.

However, if you use your rejections as fuel to drive you toward positive accomplishments and keep at it consistently, someone will eventually realize how incredible you are and the value you bring to their organization.

About the Author

Alisa Tanaka

Alisa Tanaka graduated with a Communications degree from Lewis & Clark College in 2012. She hopes to develop a career that allows her to make a measurable impact on the world while doing something that she loves. Her interests include psychology, linguistics, and mental health. She can also be found reading, watching documentaries, and writing her blog.