“No.” It’s one of the first words we learn to use as children and hear from adults. In the beginning, it was used to protect us- from touching a hot stove, from choking on a toy, from running out in traffic. Over time, however, “no” began to be used as a way to exclude or reject, often in situations with our peers during childhood and adolescence. After a couple decades of experiencing so many rejections, who wouldn’t begin to fear the word “no” when asking for something?
Because of this, over time, we stop asking for what we want for fear of rejection. This fear of “no” keeps us from setting out to do new things or going out on a limb, because we’re already anticipating that negative response and crushing rejection we’ve come to expect. Instead of imagining a positive outcome, we instinctively jump to the worst-case scenario, keeping us from even acting or asking in the first place. And while we think we’re protecting ourselves from the hurt and pain of rejection, we are limiting ourselves from amazing possibilities and the prospect of “yes.”
Want to get over the fear of “No” even faster? – check out my Private Protégé program.
But why do we fear rejection? What is the worst thing that can happen when someone says “no?” Will you lose your house? Your spouse? Be rejected and ridiculed by your family and peers? Well, in 2013, a struggling entrepreneur named Jia Jiang set out to answer those questions and filmed his experiences and shared them on his blog. He challenged his fear of rejection and set out to accumulate “100 Days of Rejection” to lessen the negative impact and power of the word “no.” He made his requests as crazy as possible to assure a negative answer, and his more outrageous requests included:
- Requesting a “burger refill” from a fast-food restaurant
- Borrowing a dog from the Humane Society
- Asking to dry-clean his tire
- Trying to buy quarter of a shrimp
- Naming his own price at the Dollar Tree
You can find out how he fared by watching the videos from his experiments here, but in the end, he learned some amazing things that we can all take away from his experience. He found that although he was rejected many times, the impact and power of “no” decreased over time, and that sometimes, even the craziest of requests can get a “yes.” He found that although we’ll always experience rejection throughout our lives, it doesn’t need to stop us from achieving our dreams. You have to be willing to put yourself out there, and the more “no’s” you hear, the closer you’ll eventually get to “yes.”
And while not all of us may want to conquer our fear of rejection this way, there are other ways to help overcome the fear of “no.” Here are a few ways to help tame your fear of rejection- try these techniques and see which ones work for you and make a daily habit to do what’s necessary to get to “yes!”
Like Jia Jiang, set out to collect an experience of “no’s”- look for fun ways to purposely hear the word “no” to lessen its impact. Notice that the world doesn’t fall apart and you don’t lose your house/spouse/self-worth/mind over a little bit of rejection.
Use positive words and phrases to offset negative thinking. For each negative thought you have, think of three positive thoughts to build your confidence. Seek out positive experiences and share them with others, and your personal and professional relationships will be strengthened.
Think of the worst-case scenario for getting a “no” to your question or request. Most of the time, the worst-case scenario isn’t that bad, and it definitely isn’t life threatening, which is what real fear should be reserved for.
Before approaching a scenario where you might encounter rejection, envision the positive outcome you are hoping to achieve. This will not only help increase your self-confidence, but will increase the chances of achieving that positive outcome. When you practice choosing your result, amazing things will begin to happen!
Be more afraid of what’ll happen if you don’t ask for what you want. Imagine not approaching that potential contact who could end up being your top distributor or asking for the business of someone who could be a recurring, high-revenue customer. You have to imagine what you’ll miss out on if you DON’T take that chance to get you past your fear of rejection. Your desire needs to be stronger than your fear.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs once said, “If you’re afraid of failing, you won’t get very far.” Don’t limit your journey and the potential for an amazing, successful future over the fear of a two-letter word. The life of your dreams is out there for the taking, if you’re willing to kick fear to the curb and ask for what you deserve!
P.S.- Registration for our Train the Trainer event in October is open- learn more here.