How to Deal With Failure, Rejection, or Public Humiliation

Very few people will turn a dirty Yelp review into a working draft, but writer Alexandra Franzen has done just that in her new book You Are Going to Survive .

“A couple of years ago, my chef partner Brandon wanted to open his own restaurant. I kind of naively said: “I will help you!” How difficult can it be? ”Says Franzen. Spoiler alert: It’s really hard.

It was an operation for two people: he cooked in the back and she worked in the front of the house. Just as they started building a positive reputation as a neighborhood brunch spot, they got their first negative online review that started with “overrated”, added “rude” and a bunch of exclamation marks, and ended with “I wouldn’t Come back. “

“Negative reviews are never fun,” she says, “but this one was, for a number of reasons, particularly heartbreaking. I think it was because it was very personal. … When you have a business or project that is in its infancy, it seems that everything is at stake. “

Not that Franzen never faced rejection, but she couldn’t stop thinking about this particular situation. So she did what she usually does when she is struggling with something: she started writing about it and wondered how serious the problem was. She reached out to friends and colleagues from different industries and professions. “Everyone – literally every person I spoke to said, ‘My God, I have a story for you.’ Or “I have 10 stories for you.” It was kind of surprising, and also not surprising, that everyone has their own version of the one-star review of Yelp’s history. ”

More than 15 professionals have shared dozens of their not-so-funny situations for her book. Here are seven of Franzen’s favorite tips and tricks of hers and hers on how to deal with criticism, rejection, public humiliation, disappointment, and other “heartbreaking experiences.”

  • Manage the crisis as best you can. “There are certain cases where either you made a mistake, or maybe you really didn’t make a mistake, but something happened to somehow undermine your reputation,” says Franzen. “I think it’s important to manage this. […] Sometimes you need to post a statement, sometimes you need to apologize, sometimes you need to add an editor’s note to an article to flag a mistake you made. Try to cope with this in the most stylish way. […] Often times, when you do this, you really get more fans and supporters because people are impressed with how you handled the situation. “
  • Shake it out of your system. “Part of building resilience means that even if you had a bad luck, even if you got an unpleasant comment or review on a blog, or you didn’t get the job or client you wanted, resilience means being able to go for it. , it hurts, ‘and do whatever you need to do to shake it out of your system, be it yoga or meditation, or calling a friend, or punching a punching bag, or whatever, but then when tomorrow comes, you do work again, ”Franzen advises. “You publish another post, you spend another hour exercising, you send another presentation or request letter. Just don’t stop. Just keep walking. “
  • Work harder. Make better. “Sometimes criticism can be uncomfortable because it sheds light on what is at least partially true and what we need to pay attention to,” Franzen tells us. “One of my stories with Brandon, my partner, is about a chef who was very unimpressed with the job he was doing. You know, one person might interpret it as “Oh, this guy was so mean. I’m awesome. ‘ But Brandon interpreted it this way: “Well, maybe I can do better.” And that was a valuable fuel for him. “
  • Look at the whole picture . “Get feedback from multiple sources and look for trends, not just one review. … My mom loves to get what she calls a holistic view of how a project is progressing, which means looking at everything, every possible marker of success to get a general idea of ​​what’s going on, ”Franzen advises. “And I really think it can be really valuable because you are really looking from every angle and not getting stuck on one review, which is often very distorted.”
  • Remember that everyone goes through difficult trials. “Remember that literally everyone, everyone throughout history, your friends, your colleagues, the people you admire, everyone has gone through a tough time, a tough day, or a tough decade,” says Franzen. “It’s not always posted on Instagram and isn’t always publicly discussed. I wish there were more. “
  • Start a conversation. “Find an opportunity with your friends, children or clients, on stage or wherever you are telling stories to discover and share one of your survival stories, because it will heal so much and you can really influence someone. big just by doing it. exchange. […] I think the more we share these stories, the healthier we become as a society and the less shame and panic people feel about frustrating moments because it normalizes them. ”
  • Come up with your own survival strategies. “We all have a different set of skills, but we can all build resilience and bounce back from these frustrations a little faster and hopefully not let this derail us and of course keep us from giving up on our dreams,” says she.

In particular, there is one new survival strategy for Franzen and her partner. “It turns out that one review didn’t ruin our restaurant,” she laughs. “And we both just decided not to read any more Yelp reviews.”


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