Daily Stretch #26: regain control of your potential

Pic by Daniel Pascoa


To pull my socks up after a defeat isn’t the only thing I’ve learned from my Literature teacher.

She also taught me to love being rejected.

That wasn’t her intention though. She was just doubtful about my potential.

During my High School senior year, in Argentina, I had to take some English exams. The stakes were high.

Months later, when the results came back from England, my teacher was surprised that I didn’t fail. My scores were among the top 15% of the class.

That’s how powerful rejection can be when I use it as fuel.

A Life Without Rejection Is A Fantasy

When I was a teenager, I was very shy.

My art professor was worried about my career choice. “Gustavo won’t survive the competitive world of advertising. They will eat him alive.” — she once told my sister.

Fifteen years later, after having helped not one but, two agencies become number one in my hometown, I started my digital marketing shop.

My former colleagues believed digital wasn’t a big opportunity back then. They thought I was putting my reputation at risk.

Luckily, that wasn’t the case. My shop turned into a very successful one. I sold it to one of the largest marketing communications conglomerates.

It enabled my international career: I was then hired to turnaround and build marketing firms in different places.

A few months ago, I went through a similar experience when I took another leap and launched a Change Leadership School at age 50.

I’m not bragging about my personal life or success. My point is simple: to succeed, I had to learn to overcome failure and rejection.

“I’ve never met a strong person with an easy past.” — Atticus

The more you try to do things differently, the more resistance you’ll face.

Life without rejection is a fantasy.

Why People Don’t Trust Our Potential

We are all wired to let others dictate how we feel about ourselves.

As I wrote in a previous post, we use image and identity interchangeably. Though both terms are connected, they are not the same.


Learn not to let how others see you affect who you are.

Here are three reasons why people don’t trust your potential.

1. Out of ignorance: they don’t know you

“Rejection doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough; it means the other person failed to notice what you have to offer.” — Mark Amend.

Launching my change leadership school was a journey. It took me four years of training, research and experimentation.

I went twice to Stanford University to further develop my innovation and change leadership skills. I conducted countless workshops, prototyped and tested my change model and exercises, among other stuff.

I‘m a risk taker but also obsessive in my preparation.

No one can realize how committed you are to a cause, but you.

Most people see your current state. What they don’t know is how much you’ve been preparing to achieve what you want.

2. Lack of vision: they can’t see what I see

“If you live for people’s acceptance, you will die from their rejection.” — Lecrae

Being an entrepreneur is more than a cool title to have in our LinkedIn profile. It requires the ability to start something new. But, most importantly, to challenge conventions.

Don’t expect people to see what you see.

A couple of months ago, a consultant told me I was wasting my time creating content. He thought publishing my book and my weekly articles were a waste of time.

“It won’t land you any clients.” — he said.

In the past few months, I’m honored to have been invited to speak at conferences and events in Europe, Israel, Istanbul, and Mexico. Guess how all those opportunities were created. Exactly, by people who have read and liked my words and thinking.

Follow your vision. Don’t let people blind you.

3. Personal frustration: they stop trying

“Some people are going to reject you simply because you shine too bright for them. That’s okay, keep shining!”

We project in others what we are and what we are not. Especially, our frustrations.

Frustrated people feel comfortable surrounded by like-minded people. Your success reminds them they are stuck. No one wants to look themselves into that mirror.

Don’t judge people for that. How can you expect someone to believe in you when they’ve stopped believing in themselves long ago?

Take social media as an example. 70% of people are spectators: they like, share or comment others people content. Less than 24% of individuals create original content like videos, podcasts or articles.

Your don’t want to be a spectator of someone else’s life. Choose to be the screenwriter, director, and actor of your own.

Don’t let other people’s bad nightmares limit your ability to dream high.

Regain Control of Your Potential

“I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.” — Sylvester Stallone

Understanding why people rejects you removes the emotional burden. It helps you improve your work by focusing on objective feedback.

Rejection helps reframe your mindset. You are the only one responsible for making your dreams come true.

Favorable winds only helps those who know how to sail.

If you trust myself, what people think of you shouldn’t slow you down. If you don’t, having everyone’s support won’t help you either.

Take control of your destiny instead of waiting for the wind of fortune take you there.

Learn to use rejections as fuel.

But watch out, rejection shouldn’t become your only motivation. I used it to accomplish things to prove other people wrong. That’s what happened with my English exams anecdote.

I’ve learned that lesson.

Rejection keeps us on our toes.

Use it to reflect on how bad I want what I want.

Today’s stretch: regain control of your potential.

Three Exercises to Deal with Rejection

“If you aren’t getting rejected on a daily basis, then your goals aren’t ambitious enough.” — Chris Dixon

1. Increase your chances

To try one time is not enough. It’s like expecting a success rate of 100%.

If I submit one story to one publication and it gets rejected, my success rate is 0%.

But if I submit two stories to three different publications each, I have six chances. If one gets accepted, my success rate is now 17% (much better than zero).

Of course, the quality of the work matters. But when we increase our chances, one rejection means nothing.

2. Reflect on rejection

Did it hurt? Why?

What’s the real reason for the rejection?

Am you separating the objective reasons from your feelings?

Make sure emotions are not getting in your way. Focus on what you need to improve.

Some of my stories don’t perform as well as others. Of course, I don’t feel good about it. But, when I do an objective assessment, It’s easier to detect what I can do better next time.

3. Moving from rejection into action

Rejections are the most common emotional wound we experience every day.

They can paralyze us. Or challenge us.

Reflecting and learning is important to improve the chances to succeed. But if you get stuck on self-reflection a rejection can make you feel rejected.

Turn rejections into fuel. And move into action.

One way I have to recover is that every time one of my stories get rejected, I start writing a new one.

How do you overcome rejection? How you move into action? Share your thoughts.

Before You Go

If you too are interested in building a culture where talent and people can thrive, let’s keep the conversation going.

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