These days we’re hearing a lot about the need for grit or resilience but I like how author Dan Pink describes a similar trait: buoyancy. He notes that to be successful at persuasion or to keep going when facing a multitude of rejections, it requires the ability to remain mentally afloat.

A tolerance for rejection was also a theme that Guy Raz discovered in many successful entrepreneurs. He learned that one of the skills of founders is that they have rejection immunity, built by early experiences of repeatedly hearing no. Many entrepreneurs have a mission background that cultivated perseverance in face of hearing no more often than not. While the person may not have had great success as a missionary attempting to convert others to their religion, the frequent rejections developed buoyancy that allowed them to persist when facing business rejections.

There are several strategies for increasing buoyancy that Pink describes in his book To Sell is Human, but one I find so easy to deploy. He suggests asking three questions when something bad happens: 1) is it permanent? 2) is this pervasive? 3) Is this personal? More than likely, you’ll find the answer to be no. “The more you explain bad events as temporary, specific and external, the more likely you are to persist even in the face of adversity,” Pink writes.

As we’re called to persevere in challenging times, consider these questions as a life preserver. The boat may still be on choppy waters, but each wave of rejection can help to instill some buoyancy to keep you afloat during the waves.

To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink, 2012

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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