Handling rejection: the Gem in the Mire

I just finished a call that a month ago would have had me wringing my hands and fighting back tears. My quote was too high. My services will not be required. His exact works: “I’m going to pass.” This after being highly recommended by a dear friend who did this job in the past.

However, I know now there is no place for tears or regret. He appreciated my timeline, work plan, and references. There was nothing more I could have done except reduce my billable hours or rate, and the old me just might have done that, after spending hours agonizing about ‘will they like this?’ or ‘am I being too greedy?’ The new me is smacking her forehead, saying ‘grow up’, and appreciating the positives I gained in this ‘loss’ of business, namely:

Confidence. I would be stuck investing time in something that serves neither my life goals nor my bank account if I charged less. Now the days I would have had to assign to this project can be used to work on more interesting things that can also make me money.

Clarity. He said, and I quote, “I wonder how [dear friend’s name here] could have done it for so much less.” His statement led to some pondering, and as a result, I figured something out. She provided them a favour, not a service and they didn’t distinguish between them. I gladly do favours for friends and on occasion for valued clients; thanks to the rejection, that distinction is becoming more clear.

Courtesy. I sent my quote promptly when asked. He responded quickly, made a point of discussing things by phone, and did not angle for a discount. I did not offer to fix issues that were not mine or beg for another chance. We ended our call with mutual gratitude for the professional contact and a promise to keep in touch for future projects. I did not gain a client, but did build a bridge. My only regret? Telling him: you get what you pay for. Anyhow, I have a feeling he already knows.

Courage. Staring down a fear isn’t easy, and rejection is a biggie. For this, I have an amazing group of women to thank. Writing is an isolated profession, entrepreneurs are by nature independent and women in business tend to be multitaskers to the point where connections become too fleeting to notice. As all three, I would go months without a single exchange or challenge to shake me out of my rut. Then, some clever minds got together and arranged 10 weeks of Thursday nights where women in business can share, argue, plan, and dream while being challenged by our fearless leader, Debi (read more about her and her proven results for business at www.thinkitplanitdoit.com). Halfway through, we have been told (and told, and told) that our time is valuable and our goals are important. I could blame this uppity thinking for losing me a contract. Or I can be grateful for how good standing up for myself feels.

The thrill of taking the high road is already hitting a few bumps … was my price really too high? Did I need that billable prep hour? Will I ever work again? … Need another head smack …. Looking forward to next week already.