5 Secrets for Dealing with Rejection as a Freelance Translator

Rejection is part of life as a freelance translator. I’ve had to deal with it and if you haven’t dealt with it yet, you will.

And it’s not only freelance translators that have to deal with rejection. Anyone that is starting their own business is going to experience plenty of times when they will be rejected.

Some of those rejections are merely soft let-downs while others are a real swift kick to the ego.

However, while the rejection might be different, both styles can trigger the same detrimental emotion in each of us: the feeling that we are not worth it.

That can easily lead to feelings of inadequacy, feelings that we don’t belong, that we’re imposters, and ultimately, that we should just give up and not even try anymore because what’s the point?

In other words, both types of rejection can lead to negativity. A negativity so deep that it can be difficult to escape if we’re not careful.

That is not where you want to be if you’re trying to succeed as a freelance translator.

That’s because negativity breeds further negativity.

What happens when you try to be positive around a negative person?

Who wins?

Eventually, it’s the negative person that is going to prevail. You’ll lose. Because negativity sucks the life out of everything.

You need to know how to deal with rejection positively so that you don’t get sucked down into the negativity.

Here’s how.

Adjusting Your Mindset

Most of the time, you probably don’t know why you got rejected.

You might think you do.

The person that rejected you maybe gave you a reason for rejection but chances are that reason wasn’t even the main reason.

Sometimes (or most likely a lot of times) you are rejected through no fault of your own and just due to the whims of the other person. You couldn’t have saved yourself even if you knew how!

What should that tell you?

That while you should certainly always put forward your best effort, there will be times when it’s simply not good enough and you’ll be rejected. If you take that rejection as solely being feedback on your skills, then you might be mistaken.

And you’ll get frustrated.

So instead, you need to focus on your mindset. The way your mind reacts to the feelings of rejection when they come.

If you focus on your mind’s reaction, you’ll be much better poised to recognize what you really need to change and what might just be someone else’s bad day.

1. There is no Failure

This is numero uno. The first thing that any translator should understand about rejection.

It’s essential to understand first and foremost that there is no such thing as failure.

There’s either learning or not learning.

Everything you do in your life, and by extension your freelance translation business, will only improve or have success if you learn from your past mistakes.

That’s why it’s so important to “fail;” through this “failure” is where you learn the most.

If something you do succeeds, you learn from that and try to replicate that success again and again.

However, if you do something that doesn’t succeed how you want, that’s OK because you have an incredible opportunity to learn from that non-success.

That’s a win in and of itself.

The problem is that too many of us look at those setbacks like they’re the end of the world. It’s easy to do that these days when we only see people’s successes either through Instagram, Facebook, or other social media.

But the truth is, everyone has failed. And a lot of the people that you look up to as having reached a level of success you desire have fallen a lot harder than you have. You just don’t see that.

And they were able to learn from those mistakes and rise above them.

The question is, can you?

2. You’re Farther Along Than You Think

When I first started running years ago for exercise, I would get discouraged with how slow I ran.

I was always at the back of the pack and it seemed like I had a hard time willing myself to get faster.

One day, though, while I was particularly discouraged, a friend told me:

“You know, you’re a lot faster than those people sitting at home on their couches.”

And that kind of stuck with me when I realized that there will always be people faster than me.

But if I stick with something, I will always be ahead of the crowd that does nothing.

And that truth is universal, meaning it applies to your translation career as well.

Just because you’re not as far along as another translator or don’t feel like you have the level of success of someone else doesn’t meant that you haven’t progressed at all.

Maybe they started earlier than you.

You’ve certainly had different experiences than them, which is what makes you uniquely you.

Rejection is a part of life for a freelancer and you have to accept that if you want to be successful.

It seems counterintuitive but the faster you make mistakes, the faster you can grow and move ahead.

3. Success Follows Rejection

I was listening to Tony Robbins podcast the other day and Shaun White was on as his guest.

In it, he talked about his disappointing finish at the Olympics in Sochi and then how as he was making his way back to the Olympics in Seoul, he had a major injury in New Zealand.


Those two things could have really put him in a bad place and possibly question what he was doing and even if it was worth it to keep going.

And who knows, maybe he did question those things.

But the important lesson for us is that even after these horrible setbacks, he realized that success was still his for the taking.

He even claims in the podcast with Tony Robbins that without that defeat at Sochi, he wouldn’t have been able to bounce back the way he did in the U.S. Olympic qualifiers (where he scored a 100 on the same trick he did when he got hurt in New Zealand) or when he won the gold in Seoul.

It seems that a lot of the successful people we see in life have dealt with plenty of rejection. The difference is that they have been able to use that rejection in two ways:

First, they’ve used it as fuel to prove that they can achieve what they want to achieve.

Second, they use those rejections as a way to learn even faster.

So next time you feel rejected, don’t look at it as a failure. Look at it as being one step closer to the success your chasing.

4. Rejection Could be the Answer

A few years ago I wanted something really badly.

I felt like I was in a good position to get it and not only that, I new that there were people in position that also really were pulling for me to get it.

Well, it turns out I didn’t get the opportunity.

I could really understand it because I was in the perfect position to get it, had all my ducks in a row, and was ready to go.

The universe had a different plan for me, though.

At the time, however, I was upset and bitter about the lost opportunity, telling myself that I would never have that opportunity again.

Well, fast forward a couple of years and guess what happened?

An even better opportunity came up that I was even more prepared for that I was able to take advantage of.

And that opportunity would definitely not happened had the first one worked out.

It just showed me that sometimes the rejections we face is the universe telling us that the time isn’t quite right for us and that if we continue to prepare, we will be provided an even greater opportunity. That has happened to me countless times and is something now that I truly believe.

5. Rejection Comes From Within

Ultimately, if you want to overcome the fear of failure or be able to get over the rejections you have faced and will continue to face as a freelancer, you have to realize that the fear of rejection you have essentially comes from inside you.

Sure, other people might reject us.

Maybe you didn’t get the job you applied for or the client decided to go with someone else’s proposal over your own.

But in the end, that person that rejected you has no power over the way you feel and the way you react, nor over the way you move forward.

When we experience feelings of rejection, it’s because we’re letting ourselves feel that and experience those feelings.

To overcome rejection, then, you need to recognize where those feelings are coming from (yourself) and replace them with feelings of accomplishment by recognizing that you are successful, even if this one time or two it didn’t work out.

I’m not saying that it’s easy to do because we all know it can be difficult to overcome those feelings. But it is something that we can train ourselves to overcome.


OK, so if you want to overcome feelings of rejection and move forward as a successful freelancer, remember:

  1. there is no such thing as failure
  2. you’re farther along than you think you are
  3. success follows rejection
  4. rejection might be the answer you’re seeking
  5. rejection comes from within (and can be fixed from within)

Do those things and you’ll be on your way to more confidence and ultimately more success!

P.S. For more tips on how to become a successful freelance translator, be sure to read my book.

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