Make It

Dealing with setbacks: Why these leaders think experiencing rejection is important

Retro typewriter with huge pile of scrunched paper
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Retro typewriter with huge pile of scrunched paper

Getting back up and attempting a challenging task after dealing with a setback or the feeling of failure is never an easy thing to do.

Whether it's failing an exam or someone getting a promotion over you, being confronted by the notion of failure can often feel like a bad taste that lingers in your mouth.

Yet dealing with a setback, rejection or complete failure is an important lesson for young people in life, according to a number of influential leaders.

During the "Life Hacks Live" series, leading figures explained to CNBC why one of the main challenges every young person should go through or at least get to grips with, is in fact failure.

Getting grit from setbacks

Businessman pushing a boulder up rocky mountainside
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Businessman pushing a boulder up rocky mountainside

Sometimes setbacks act as an avenue into acquiring strength and determination, according to Ryan Holmes, the CEO of Hootsuite, a social media management firm headquartered in Canada.

"How do you get grit in life? I think you get grit through setbacks. I think grit is really important," Holmes told CNBC at the 2017 Viva Technology conference in Paris.

"What separates the winners from the people that don't win is that they get up and they get back into it and they overcome defeat and they learn from it. I think in this day and age, people need to have setbacks and they need to experience that. So whether it's in a business sense or in real life, they need to get out there and do it."

Earlier on this year, Holmes dealt with his own setback after he faced a backlash following a tweet he sent out to a journalist concerning an article written about the firm. A decision he told CNBC that he regretted and went on to apologize for.

"The lesson I learned out of that (situation) is that when you screw up and you actually need to apologize, you apologize, you be transparent. You talk about how you're going to remedy it if you need to, you own it," said Holmes, who explained how the exchange went on to somewhat inspire Hootsuite to expand upon its training when it came to inclusion, diversity and media.

Shaking off failure

Fatigued boxer leaning on rings ropes after workout
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Fatigued boxer leaning on rings ropes after workout

"Most of the most successful people have failed dozens of times," according to Brit Morin, the founder and CEO of media and commerce firm Brit + Co. Yet individuals can deal with "micro" failures too, Morin suggested.

In fact as an entrepreneur, you can come face to face with failure "every single day, throughout the day", Morin explains, detailing how a day can start perfectly fine, however, positive and negative news can occur at any moment.

"For instance, as an entrepreneur with a venture-backed company, every couple of years you're out pitching your company to raise money and investment dollars. You don't get 100 percent 'Yes's, you get a lot of 'No's actually – majority nos. So as a perfectionist like myself, that sucks and that feels bad," Morin said at Cannes Lions, adding that perseverance and maintaining equilibrium is importance in times of struggle.

Quoting the famous sports phrase "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take" during the interview, Morin took a massive leap of faith herself when she was younger, by deciding to leave her highly sought-after position at Google at the age of 25, to figure out what she wanted to do professionally – a move which led her to start up her own company.

Fast forward to the present day, and Brit + Co now extends its influence to a community of more than 125 million online and across platforms, as well as having partnered with major brands including Lowe's, Starbucks, Amazon, IKEA and Target, according to its website.

Why 'No' doesn't mean 'Never'

A hand sweeping words from a note pad, creating a clean slate
Thomas Jackson | Stone | Getty Images
A hand sweeping words from a note pad, creating a clean slate

Being rejected or told you can't go forward with the plans you've already mapped out is never an easy task to accept; but that doesn't mean you should see this as a setback according to Dambisa Moyo, a leading global economist and author.

"No doesn't mean never, it means not now," Moyo told CNBC on the sidelines of the Ambrosetti Forum at Lake Como, Italy.

"Young women and men get heavily discouraged by someone telling them 'no' and I think we don't do a good job as a society at giving constructive feedback to different people, so that they're not discouraged forever."

During the interview, Moyo discussed how people need to find their own mentors and pursue the notion of receiving critical feedback. Overall, even if someone isn't ready to take on a role at that present time, critical feedback can be useful when it comes to personal or professional growth.

"People should not be discouraged because they got a 'no'; it just means that they might have to work harder or differently to build the skill base so that they are much more competitive when they are considered for the next role or for the next opportunity that they are pursuing."

Life Hacks Live is a series produced by CNBC International for Facebook, where tomorrow's leaders get to ask some of the world's biggest influencers for advice.