Rejection is hard. I’ve never been very good at handling rejection. Maybe I didn’t date enough when I was younger. Whatever the reason, I struggle with rejection. Every time I apply to position and do not get it, the news of rejection just completely ruins my day. Because I do not deal with rejections very well, I try to position myself in situations where I minimize my chances of being rejected. This has worked pretty well for most of my life but it has come at a significant price. By playing it safe, I have missed out on numerous opportunities. Opportunities that went to those that were not afraid of being rejected. Had I just mustered the courage to put myself out there and chase after what I want, I would probably be living a completely different life right now. I’ve had a lot of time to think about rejection this last month of being unemployed. I want to share some of my thoughts with you and if you suffer from being afraid of rejection like me, maybe we can help each other move forward.
Let me start off by stating that I have not overcome rejection. Every rejection hits me hard and I am crippled by it every time. 2021 has been full of rejections for me and because of this, I have slowly started to get better at dealing with rejections. No one likes rejections, but some folks just don’t seem to be impacted by rejections. They know there is a chance that they may get rejected, but they still still take action. I have personally witnessed these folks move up corporate ladders, travel the world, and achieve their dreams because they were not afraid of rejection. They were not afraid to take a chance. I’ve sat on the side lines most of my career watching people pass by me because I was too scared to ask for things. Even when I go to a store, I am afraid to ask for help because I just fear that the person might say no to my question. I hate asking people questions that might help me because I am too scared that they might reject me. How is it that others can ask away, without fear of any repercussions? How is it that I know the squeaky wheel gets the oil, but yet I still sit here and not take action? I’m personally tired of being afraid of rejection, but there are ways to help deal with rejections. Here’s the first thing I am going to do.
Intentionally receive rejections
I watched a Ted Talk on rejection. The premise of the talk is based on a concept described as Rejection Therapy. The concept is simple, for 30 days, go out and find rejection. After multiple rejections, you’ll eventually desensitize yourself from the pain of rejection. The idea is that after so many rejections, you start to learn how to deal and cope with the rejections. You also learn how to put yourself out there and get after what you want. You learn to ask for things, even if you know the answer is going to be no. You learn how to ask by refining your method of asking. Eventually, you figure out how either ask the right question to maximize success, or you get rejected so much that it just does not hurt anymore. Remember, you miss 100% of the shots you do not take. When you are afraid of rejection, you do not take the shot. Sure, you might miss the shot if you attempt the shot, but every once in a while, you’ll make a shot. I want to start living for those opportunities of success. I need to start embracing rejection because I will not be defined by the rejections I receive, but by how I react to those rejections. Right now, I am ashamed of how I react to rejections. I get very sad, I go away from my friends and family, and I just sit alone in a dark room. But no more, I will now start to aggressively find rejections on purpose! But, before I go out there and start chasing rejections, there are two more things I want to discuss.
Privately share my rejections
I’ve been thinking a lot about my rejections. I’ve been trying to figure out why they are so scary. Everyone gets rejected at some point. Salespeople get rejected every hour. Why is it that I can’t deal with rejections then? I think I figured out why. For me personally, sharing my rejections with my family has been very challenging. I feel that since everyone in my family looks up to me, I should be immune to rejections. I should be the person that has everything in life figured out and I should know how to always get what I want. I sat with my wife recently and we started talking about my fear of rejection. As you know, I quit my job in order to pursue the life of an entrepreneur. They do not teach you this in school, but being an entrepreneur basically means you become a salesperson and guess what. . . there is a lot of rejection involved. I knew that if I was going to be successful in growing my business, I would have to get comfortable with rejection. But, how could I deal with rejection if I wasn’t comfortable sharing my rejections with my family? I figured, I should address that problem first. After a great discussion with my wife, we agreed that our home would be the safe place to share rejections. We would create a space where we could share our failures and successes without fearing judgment. I value my wife’s opinion of me so much that it is hard for me to admit that I failed at something. That’s slowly changing as I share more of my rejections with her. She is now a integral part of my process. I share every opportunity that I’m chasing and I share the results. We reflect on what could be done differently and I pivot from there. I also have my son and my wife share their successes and rejections. We have created this community of trust within our home that makes it a lot easier to go after our dreams. We help each other out and encourage one another to chase after our dreams!
Publicly post my rejections
People like to talk and the internet has enabled me to have a world audience. Most people do not like talking about rejections because simply put, they suck. Like in the Ted Talk, I want to publicly share my rejections with you. I want you to join me on my journey and I want to be transparent with you. I want to help you in case you are afraid of rejections as well. Maybe you really want that promotion, but you are afraid to ask. Maybe you want to apply to a new job, but you are afraid of getting rejected by recruiters. Whatever it is, we all have to deal with rejection. I want to share my tips and lessons learned from my rejections. I am tired of playing it safe and I want to really put myself out there. I want to go and chase my dreams and my wants in life. I’ll be posting my rejections here on Medium and on social media. I am not concerned what people think of me. I can’t be a successful entrepreneur and worry about what people think. Everyone talks and it is far easier to criticize someone than it is to encourage someone. It is easier to complain about someone when that someone is experiencing success. I am hoping that posting my rejections and successes, I’ll either motivate you to also learn to deal with rejection or I’ll learn how to really control my emotions after a rejection. Whatever the case, someone is going to learn something incredible.
Take advantage of every opportunity, power in numbers
Finally, I want to close by talking about opportunities. There are so many opportunities out there for everyone! Do not be afraid to chase opportunities. You’ll never know the outcome if you do not try. The more you try, the more chances of success you have. Read and learn how to sell. Learn how to interact with strangers. Learn how to influence people. Learn how to be a people person. Learn how to communicate and above all, learn to have empathy and compassion for others. If you sit around and let the world pass you by, others will get what they want because they are not of afraid. Do not be afraid to chase your dreams because of a fear of rejection. You will get rejected, that is a fact, but what matters is how you recover from that rejection. Like a good scientist, what matters is how you pivot and adjust your hypothesis. Eventually, you’ll get good at it and you’ll find great success!
I hope this post inspired you to conquer your fears of rejection. Get out there and find opportunities to get rejected. Rejections will never go away, but you can learn to control your emotions and actions after a rejection. Do you have any tips or tricks for dealing with rejection? I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to leave a comment or share your story below! Thanks for reading.