I recently met with a speech writing coach who was recommended to me by a good friend. I was eager to find someone to support my speechwriting efforts, and she seemed excellent. So when she told me she didn't think she was the right coach for me and turned me down, I was crestfallen.

Looking back, I realized she was right. During our initial conversation, we both had to do a lot of clarifying. But my eagerness to start working with a coach--not to mention my ego--superseded my ability to see that we were not connecting. After she rejected me a second time, I began working with another coach who helped me create an amazing speech. I realized being rejected not once, but twice, had actually been a good thing.   

Rejection is an inevitable part of life and business, yet it always affects our egos, our confidence, and our ability to feel good about ourselves. As my experience with the speech writing coach made clear, rejection can also be a gift to be celebrated and welcomed.To see it in a positive way, you have to keep in mind that a rejection does not mean you're not good enough, but that you're not the right fit. A square peg won't fit in a round hole, not because it’s not good enough, but because it's not quite the right shape. I can think of many contracts I’ve pursued and clients I’ve approached who realized I wasn't the right fit before I did. Now, in retrospect, I know they were right.

Why is it so hard to realize we're not a good fit for a client or a job? It's often difficult to step back and look at things rationally when we're excited about an opportunity--especially if the opportunity offers prestige, money, or fame. With that in mind, here are three telltale signs that someone is not your ideal client:

The conversation doesn’t flow. 

When you are not able to communicate easily with a potential client, it’s a sign that working together is going to be difficult as well. Take disjointed communication as a sign to move on.

Your ideas don’t excite them. 

If you're client doesn't seem excited when you're tossing around ideas, the take pause. If it's a right fit, you should be able to exchange and build on ideas effortlessly. 

There isn’t an obvious click. 

If you can't give a client what they need, politely suggest you're not the right person and-;if possible-;suggest someone else. Spending time creating special services that aren’t what you’re best at is the first step toward becoming less focused and less of an expert. Don’t do it. 

The bottom line? You should strive for  a win-win on both sides: the objective good fit and the dizzying jolt of acceptance. If it’s not happening, it's time to move on.

Published on: May 30, 2013
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.