We have all experienced that feeling of rejection at one point in our life, from asking someone to dance at a night club, or when you went for a job interview and did not get the result you wanted.
The truth is that rejection hurts, it can cause us to question one's ability and reduce our confidence levels to tatters. So much so that many people are paralysed by a fear of failure or rejection. If you do not learn to handle rejection or the possibility of it, you will fail to stretch yourself out of your comfort zone which is often needed to be successful in life. Control your fear or it will control you!
Why Do We Fear Rejection So Much?
The answer to this question quite possibly stems from our instinct as human beings for survival, to stand out from the crowd is very much like the fish leaving a shoal with a predator nearby. Over a period of time we condition ourselves not to stand out for the crowd, to tread the straight and narrow path, and not try anything out of the ordinary. For this reason many people find themselves in the same old dead end jobs, leading the same unfulfilling lives, unable to change. Indeed, how many times has someone said to you "Better the devil you know"?
Though when we do try something out of the ordinary such as a parachute jump, and survive of course, we are exhilarated for a period of time. It stretches our current boundaries, and enables us to question our self limiting beliefs. The old saying of "If you say you can, or you say you can't, you're probably right" comes to mind here. Not challenging our fears and pushing boundaries only serves to reinforce our fear more.
But isn't it funny how well meaning friends, family, colleagues will say that whatever you are doing is doomed to failure, how it may work for someone else but not for you. Not helpful is it? As champion sales trainer Tom Hopkins says, as you climb the ladder for success people will not try climbing up the ladder, but pulling you back down to their level - after all it serves to affirm their view of the world and their fears which they are projecting on to you.
It is also make clear at this point that rejection by someone close to you who you love and respect, hurts a great deal more than when given out by an acquaintance or a stranger. Handling rejection from those close to us will therefore need to be done differently.
How Does This Fear Hold Us Back In Life?
Going back to the example of the disco or the night club, you probably noticed the guy or girl was dancing with loads of people that night. That could be you enjoying life to the full, and the only one holding you back is you. This is equally applicable to other things in life, such as should I go for that business opportunity or should I look for a new job.
We see people that come to presentations that are totally buzzed up and excited about the business opportunity, some of these join our organisation and some don't. Of those that don't the majority don't join not because of the investment involved (that they agree is minimal) or the time they must put in (5-7 hours per week they accept is not a lot to ask), but purely because success is something that happens for someone else not them and they fear failure or rejection by others.
How Can We Overcome This Fear of Failure and Rejection?
There are several mindset techniques that may help you here, give them a go and see how they change your life...
Ask yourself the Dr Pepper question which is, "What's the worst that can happen?", when you're honest with yourself about the real downside risk of doing something, you are more likely to give something a go. One of our founder members recalls the time his wife would not flip a pancake in case it landed on the floor. Once she had accepted that was the worst that could happen, and all it would take was 2 minutes cleaning up she started flipping that pancake, and the higher it went the more joy and fulfillment she got. Does not sound like much, but are you prepared to flip the pancake?
Repetition of doing something we generally avoid so that it becomes a habit, and do it first before you do the tasks you like doing. Okay here is an example, lets say you hate public speaking, but if you never give it a go this will stay with you for the rest of your life.If on the other hand you do it once (no matter how badly it goes), do it again, and do it again - it will get easier. As they say repetition is the mother of all skills learning.
Imagine you are someone else! Sounds strange doesn't it, but what you're going to do is identify the key traits of someone that is good at the task you are required to do. Then identify someone you think would be excellent at doing the said task, it could be a friend, colleague, movie star, you get the picture (or you will do). Close your eyes and visualise yourself as that person, doing exactly what they would do, playing it out like a movie - you are acting as they are. What do they do, what do they say, how do they stand, make it you. When you come to performing the said task you will be far stronger and more confident, finding all the resources of the person you chose to model and will be far more likely to succeed.
We teach our team a number of these techniques effectively enabling them to become rejection proof, or near as possible to it.
Rejection from Someone Close
That's great you say to me, but what of rejection from someone close to me. Firstly rejection cannot be avoided, it happens and you have to learn to live with it, but handling it correctly is perhaps the better approach. Here are some pointers:
- The person that rejected you did it with the best of intentions
- Understand the reasons behind why they said it (put yourself in their shoes with all their own fears)
- Politely agree with them and then subtly change the subject (you will not achieve anything with a head on argument apart from more conflict)
- Do not be like a bull in china shop in getting your point across - majority of times it will take a series of conversations over a period of time. Much like planting seeds, watering them and tending to them, and watching the ideas grow.
- Choose the appropriate time to have the conversation, and put them in the right frame of mind (potentially talk about a time in the past when they were receptive to an idea of yours that worked out well)
- Leave behind ill feelings and resentment, put it behind you and move on, negative emotions do not help you well and will not serve you well
- Live your life - you only have one of them (as far as we know)