Paul Brookes is a fighter. He’s one of the regulars at Lindley’s Boxing Gym in Carlisle. There he pounds a bag until the floor around him is soaked with sweat.
Brookesy, as he’s known to his friends, is a nuggety, barrel chested man. In the gym he gives off the impression that he’s not one to be trifled with.
But Paul is also a real estate consultant. As a consultant, he’s likeable and friendly, and a polished communicator.
Put the two together and you have a competitive, determined property professional who doesn’t give in easily.
One of his good mates is also one of mine. Steve owns the Doghouse café in Lathlain. He makes the best hotdogs and doughnuts in the state and he too is a likeable guy. As the proprietor of a popular local fast food outlet it’s no surprise that Steve knows a lot of people, including a lot of agents.
They stop by at the Doghouse for a coffee and doughnut and pretty soon they’re talking about the property market.
So when Steve decided to list one of his rental properties for sale he had a dilemma. Who should he choose? Should it be his mate Paul, another agent he bought a property from, or yet another agent who had the most properties for sale in the area?
For Steve it was a tough decision. In the end he chose the agent he’d bought another property from.
I saw Paul at an auction just hours after he’d been delivered the news. Despite that it was a stinking hot day he never once let on that he’d been hit.
I turned up to the auction with Steve. Knowing what had happened I thought that things might have been tense between them.
But no, Paul greeted Steve professionally, shook his hand, then excused himself to help out with the auction day proceedings. It was a classy thing to do.
As an ex-agent I knew he was hurting. I could see in his eyes that he was feeling let down, dazed and confused. For agents, what happened to Paul makes you question if you’ve still got what it takes or if you can handle the rejection.
He could have ignored Steve and pretended he didn’t see him. He could’ve been snarky or sarcastic. Instead he was polite and professional and dignified.
In short he acted like a true pro.
Over the course of the next couple of months Paul stayed in touch with Steve. They drank beer together at the boxing gym Christmas function. He dropped into the Doghouse for coffee and a chat.
He wasn’t about to let the setback get to him.
Then a couple of days ago the other agent’s listing expired. Paul was back in the game.
Like a true pro he hadn’t let rejection cause him to react emotionally. He stuck to his processes and stayed committed to the relationship.
Next week his for sale sign will go up. I’m sure it won’t be too long before the sold sign follows.
What lessons can we learn from the way Paul handled rejection? Here are 7 lessons I take from his story?
- Take responsibility for the setback. Blaming the client, the market or the competition is rarely helpful, especially if you want to grow from the experience.
- Recognise that “no” is not the same as never. Often it simply means “not right now.” Paul Brookes recognised this and kept himself in the game until “no” became “yes.”
- Acknowledge your feelings. There’s no point pretending that rejection doesn’t hurt – it does. Sometimes it’ll make you feel like a failure or that you’re worthless but with time and perspective these feelings will transform into valuable life lessons.
- Acknowledge that you’re not going to achieve 100% of your goals. The current setback has delayed the success train not derailed it all together.
- Recognise that any worthwhile undertaking exposes you to failure. Before Roger Bannister ran a sub-4 minute mile thousands of other runners had tried and failed. That didn’t make them failures, it made them runners who helped push the bar a little higher with each unsuccessful attempt. If you’re up to achieving big things in life you’re going to do a lot of failing.
- Acknowledge your achievements. Unless you’ve been wrapped in cotton wool this won’t be your first setback. You’ll have had other obstacles that you’ve overcome. Take stock of these and recognise that you’ve had your wins.
- Use the setback as a learning experience. Ask yourself what you could have done better? This can be difficult to do when you’re hurting but gets easier as time passes. Harness the pain you’re feeling as the motivation for self-improvement.
What are yours? Please share your tips for coping with rejection in the comments below.