August 14, 2015


how to deal with rejection
Remember when I told you guys that I wanted to start writing about more than just fashion, style and travel? I wanted to write about the stuff that really hits home- stuff that I've learned from my unique life experiences, stuff that I want to learn, stuff that you want to learn from me, stuff that I want to learn from you, and just stuff that I feel could lead to DMC's (Deep Meaningful Conversations)? That was a few months ago. I got confused about whether to write my new content here, or on my Fisayo Longe website, which I am relaunching, to be a 'Life Styling' destination, as opposed to a 'Fashion Styling' destination. I decided that it needs to be on here, as much as it does there.

So, let's get to it.

This is such a funny subject for me to be giving advice on because I was that girl who would lie in bed and cry for hours, recently as December last year. When I got an opportunity that worked even better for me three months later, I made a promise to myself that I would never again grovel over a missed opportunity. It has happened way too many times, and each time, three months later, I have been able to laugh when I thought back to how upset I was. Why on earth did I think that it was the end of the world?

Every rejection has a valid reason for why it happened. The opportunity just was not meant for you. Maybe it was meant to allow room for something better, maybe it was meant to force you to fix yourself, or maybe it was even protecting you from a bad situation. This will focus on rejection from educational, work and career opportunities- university, new job, job promotions. All that stuff.

1. Do not let it diminish your self-esteem: A lot of time, we attach too much of our self-worth to our educational and career achievements. You are not the university you go to. You are not the company you work for. You are not your job title. These are all things you do in life. But they are not your life. Rejection makes us feel very little- it diminishes our self-confidence, self-esteem and worth. I struggle with this deeply- I associate too much of my self-worth with my career, and it's very unhealthy. Rejection will still take a stab at your confidence, but if you have a healthier relationship with your self-esteem and realise that you shouldn't take these things too personally, you will find it a lot easier to deal with rejection.

Let me give you an example, when I was trying to make a career change from accounting to fashion, I did a million and one job applications and got a million and one rejections. I later decided to follow up on one of the applications that I hadn't had a response from and was informed that my application didn't have a CV attached to it, and so it couldn't be reviewed. The system hadn't uploaded my CV for some reason- of course I was going to get a rejection! And it would be nothing to do with my own qualifications or capabilities. Who knows how many rejections you've had where your application wasn't even reviewed? Or the position had already been filled?

Sometimes, it has nothing to do with you.

2. Identify Why You Were Rejected: When you have been rejected because you did not achieve good enough grades, you were not adequately qualified, your application wasn't strong enough, or you did not work hard or smart enough, you need to be honest with yourself about what you think was missing, and how you can improve. Sometimes, you'll be sure that you gave it all you had and you have nothing else to give, or nothing else to improve upon. When this happens, you can skip to step 4 below. But if you can be honest with yourself about why you were rejected, and work on correcting it, the pain from rejection doesn't even last long. Because you can then channel all your energy into self-improvement.

3. Improve/Strengthen your position: If you were rejected from the universities you wanted to go to, from the course you wanted to take, or from the job you wanted to work, assess whether you need to go for the next best opportunity. I'm sure being a doctor is an incredibly fulfilling job, but I have to face the fact that I just don't have good enough grades to be a doctor.

For example, when I first applied to university, I applied to study Law. I only got offers from two of the five universities I applied to- one of which was a university I was never going to go to, but was forced to apply to so that I had an insurance. I then took a gap year and re-applied to university, but this time, I applied for Law and Anthropology, the grade requirements for Law and Anthropology were lower, I believe Law and Anthropology required a minimum of AAB as opposed to A*AA, and I got unconditional offers from all five universities. Only a little change in strategy, but big results. I could still go on to Law School with a Law and Anthropology degree, it just was less popular and a little less prestigious than a traditional Law degree.

Another thing I did was to take a gap year. I didn't retake exams during this year but if I needed to, I would have. What I did was find a job- a great job at a world renowned company, which I ended up working for for the next three years. I also travelled- I explored South-East Asia and made some of my best memories. Warwick university did me a favour by rejecting me, I just didn't know it at the time.

This is also relevant to job applications. When I was sick and tired of getting job rejections, I took matters into my own hands. I upgraded my linkedin account and started to e-mail directors of the fashion companies I wanted to work for, rather than just filling in an online application. Truth is that most jobs are taken by the time that they appear online on company websites. You have to go the extra mile, and do things you would normally consider 'stalking'. I attended the Jonathan Saunders show during fashion week and spent the entire show with my eyes glued to the front row trying to spot fashion buying directors to ask for jobs. I spotted Natalie Kingham of Matches Fashion, and did just that. And she was so lovely. I never ended up working at Matches, but this was how I eventually landed my first job in fashion. If I never did this, I might very well still be spending my days trawling every single 'careers' section, putting together online applications.

It never comes to you, you just go out and take it.

4. Put Yourself Forward Again: When you are sure that you are putting your best foot forward, try again. Whether you are trying again at the exact same thing, or your next best option, you must try again. You never let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game.

I know a lot of the younger people who read my blog got their A Level results yesterday, and some of you, like me, might have fallen short of their choice university's requirements. You might not be in the position where you can take a gap year, so you might have had to find another university or course through Clearing that you're not particularly thrilled about. There is nothing stopping you from re-applying to other universities during your first year. Some universities even allow you to transfer into 2nd year after 1st year at a different uni as long as you do really well during your first year, or you might even be able to change your course to something you prefer.  You can also stick with what you have gotten, make the best out of those three years, do exceptionally well, and then go on to do your Masters at your dream university.

I have been known in the past to avoid certain situations or not put myself forward for certain opportunities because I thought I would get rejected. And all that that has ever done, and all it will ever do, is limit me. Life is about losing some, and winning some. The most successful people have been rejected so many times, many times even from the exact thing that brought them all the success. Because one person doesn't see what you bring to the table, or because one university doesn't think you're right for them, doesn't mean the millions of others won't.

When it comes to rejection you have to learn to accept it, don't let it take control of you or your mind, dust it off, and keep it moving.

There are way too many opportunities to chase, way too many good people to befriend, way too much life to experience, and way too much money to be made, to let a few rejections count you out.

You are more than enough, and you owe yourself more. Don't count yourself out.

If you feel that this article on How to Deal with Rejection helped you and could help anyone you know- a family member, friend, colleague, please share with them. And if you would like to, please join the conversation and share your experiences in  the comment section below. I live for those DMC's we have, when we tap into discussing the stuff that really matters to us.


  1. abby says:

    I truly love you. I learnt so much from this and i wanna thank you for sharing your experiences. I am a radio host talk show and you know how the struggle is. Reading this makes me want to do more, put myself out there and never let rejecting put me down. imma “dust it off and keep it moving”. i heart you :*

    1. Fisayo Longe says:

      That is such a cool job! Go girl!

  2. Chuqqy says:

    I absolutely adore you Fisayo!. I doubt that will ever change, this post was right in time. I consider myself pretty confident but sometimes I don’t know I just don’t take on some opportunities that I know I will do extremely well at, Thanks for sharing your story it has definitely helped me see things from a different perspective.
    All the best with everything.

    1. Fisayo Longe says:

      You’re welcome love, SO happy this gave you perspective. That is everything.

  3. Nelo says:

    Very lovely post Fisayo, beauty, brain and ubber stylish

    1. Fisayo Longe says:

      Thank you 🙂

  4. chloe says:

    And this is why you are the most perfect person to come speak at Lucy! xxx

    1. Fisayo Longe says:

      I honestly cannot wait.

  5. Kim says:

    This is so relevant. I had a similar situation of trying to change careers recently. Perseverance paid off in the end! Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. Fisayo Longe says:

      So glad you made it through.

  6. Tensy says:

    Lovely post! I think you should write here as opposed to the fisayo longe site.

    1. Fisayo Longe says:

      Thank you.

  7. Martha says:

    Great Post and great tips, truly truly inspiring. I’m a huge advocate for seizing opportunities and not being afraid to fail. I love that you didn’t take your job rejections as a failure and instead commanded attention from fashion directors – so much respect and admiration there. I feel like it takes a truly strong person to refuse to give up!
    It’s in the Details, Dahhling

    1. Fisayo Longe says:

      Strong recognise strong 🙂 Thank you.

  8. Abisola says:

    Really proud of you darling. Watching you use each rejection as a high jump pole to catapult you to greater heights is really something. You are an awesome inspiration!

    1. Fisayo Longe says:

      Thank you mum. You make it possible.

  9. ibitayo says:

    As always, you’ve awed me again…you just reinforced what I planned to do next week~go all out. Sometimes, you have to prove to people that you’re worth it. A great sense of Self and confidence is very essential. May GOD bless you Fisayo..I’m happy I’ve got to meet you in person.. toddles!!

    1. Fisayo Longe says:

      Go for it girl! All the very very best!

  10. Anna Momodu says:

    You do not understand what this message has done to someone like me. It’s the most helpful message after God himself. This was just what I needed right now. Thanks for posting this here and please do keep posting them here, we would love to see such messages in between pretty fancy clothes.

    1. Fisayo Longe says:

      Wow. Comments like this make it all worth it. I wish you all the best!

  11. Aurelie says:

    Hello, i read your article and had to says thank you for all, because right now I’ve been rejected from a job I applied, reading your article encourage me again to not give up and of course been lately crying a lots,but I told myself to stop crying for that and try again by finding what was missing or what I have to do to get it…. Reading again your article really helped me a lots. As your said am not my job… Thnx u again

    1. Fisayo Longe says:

      You’re welcome Aurelie. I can’t wait till you can look back on this time and smile. The time will come. I wish you all the best.

  12. Kesh says:

    This was a great post Fisayo! Thank you for sharing. Rejection is one of the hardest things to deal with. You just have to find the positivity in everything.

    1. Fisayo Longe says:

      Thank you Kesh!

  13. stephh says:

    Hey I guess I’m late but I just read this & its beautiful , you’re beautiful, your outfits as well & I’ve learnt a thing or ten for my blog, when I start. thanksss x

  14. sunday princess says:

    This is awesome, thinking of starting up a fashion blog and a fashion line too but I seriously need help….will really appreciate your help…thank you so much

  15. Esther says:

    2 years later and this post has revived my self esteem and spirit. I’m just currently learning how to deal with rejection and I have been inspired by this post. Well don’t girl !!!

  16. nozwelo says:

    Dear F(hopefully code for friend one day)
    how do you do it…I was nonchelantly browsing through my Instagram when I ran into ur page,started scrolling through your pictures and I literally couldn’t stop.(still scrolling).im obsessed,in a non stalker way.(well ,unless you don’t count instagram, only for your fashion sense tho) rarely do I ever get inspired by someone else to the extent of writing down bullet points of all the tips on your blogs,so accurate,so applicable, so true…Im inspired, legit. still trying to figure out who I am ,what I want and where I’m going, but I figure, life is a journey right, and as long as there is still good fashion and Awesum entrepreneurs like yourself selflessly putting themselves out there to reach out to lost souls like myself, in the words of Kendrick Lamar, “were gon be alright!”..ok,now moooooore more more educate us sensei..

    1. Fisayo Longe says:

      Awww man I love this comment. It has inspired me to be more consistent. Thank you for taking your time out to send this and I’m so deeply pleased that I inspire you. Honestly, self-awareness is the most important thing- just keep trying, just keep going. You’ll get to where you’re trying to get to. xxx

  17. Winifred Ben says:

    Well said. Rejections can hurt so much, but swallowing it, learning from it, improving yourself and launching out again is the best way to go!

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