Success: Handling Failures (Part 1)

Disappointments and setbacks are one thing, but what happens when you get turned down flat for a job you thought sure you’d get? Sales folks get “no’s” all the time. They even get phones slammed in their ears. Job applicants face “no’s” at times. If you’ve ever submitted a manuscript or an article, you may get a rejection letter. I know of at least one huge movie success that was turned down by one studio, but was later accepted by another. (I would have hated to be the person that sent that rejection letter, but I digress.) “No’s” are a part of life. If you take them personally, you’ll waste time and energy.

I don’t want to sound flippant, but learn to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on.
It’s not the end of the world, and it’s probably not the last time you will face rejection.

You aren’t expected to not be disappointed when you get a “no” to something that you were really hoping would work out. That wouldn’t be honest. However, being able to move on with your self-esteem intact is important.

You’ll move on faster when faced with rejection if you consider 3 things. Was it good? Is there room for improvement? And, God is sovereign. May His will be done.

Was It Good? –

I remember a time in my life when I wasn’t able to look honestly at myself. I cried for 3 days when I was requested to self-evaluate my job performance. On a scale of one to five, no number seemed right.

I could not give myself high marks because I wasn’t perfect enough. I couldn’t give myself low marks because that was not fair to me. I knew that wasn’t true. Although I was really hard on myself, if you went strictly by the sales numbers, I was stellar.

If you give something your best shot – not necessarily the best in the world, but your best, then give yourself some credit here. If you made a good proposal, if you submitted a good manuscript, if you quoted a fair price, or if you submitted a good and honest application, you did your part. Your best is all that you could have done.

You cannot always see or know what you were up against. No matter what you were trying to get, do, or win, there may be other factors at work. A potential client once told me that he was going to use another company after I had put significant time into preparing for his project. In the end, I could not ever determine that he used the other company. I came to suspect that he did not want to purchase anything, and it was less embarrassing for him to say what he did than to be honest. On another occasion, I remember applying for a job selling automobiles. The interview lasted a total of about one question. It was something like, “If you had three wishes, what would they be?” My answers were things like world peace, health, and success. Whatever it was that I said, money was not one of my answers. The interview ended abruptly. I obviously wasn’t the greedy person that they were looking to hire. Again, you cannot see all the things that are at work.

If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.
Leviticus 1:3

Remember, the question is, “Was it good?” Was what you submitted – application, answer, performance, manuscript, quote, etc. – good? The question isn’t a personal question. It’s not, “Are you good?” Nor is it, “Do you have a perfect past?” Nor is it, “Are you worthy?”

The question is personal in this sense: “Was it your personal best for the Lord? Was it your offering without blemish?”

Now, answer it. Was it? If you had it to do over, would you – knowing what you knew then – do it the same way? If you can say, “Yes,” then you did your best. Even if you can’t, there is always tomorrow. We all have those times that we let ourselves down. We perhaps forgot that we need to do all things as unto the Lord. Learn that you don’t like it, and do differently next time. For now, get back up! Try again!


The challenge is to realize that ultimately the only person you are racing against in life is yourself. It’s a one-person race when it comes to succeeding. Either what you did was good, or it wasn’t. Either you did better this time than last, or you didn’t. Either you did it as God would have you to do it, or you didn’t. Ask God to show you the truth about you and this situation. Realize that you need to examine your own opinion about what you did separate from the opinion of others. It’s okay to disagree! It’s okay to feel that you did a good job. It’s even okay to think that you shouldn’t have failed – as long as you are honest with yourself.