Mar 07, 2016 | 2 Minute Read

The Secret Sauce to Overcoming Rejection

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4 takeaways from an expert on rejection

If there were one universal truth in business, perhaps it would be knowledge that you will get rejected – often.

Google successful people who have experienced rejection, and you’ll find some of the most established household names: Oprah, Walt Disney and J.K. Rowling, to name a few.

If rejection is a fundamental part of business, why do some rise above while others succumb?

This week, I attended a talk about confronting rejection – and most importantly, the fear of rejection – at a small business conference called ICON. The speaker, Jia Jiang, wrote a book on the topic after challenging himself to 100 days of rejection. In his presentation, he and shared how to not let rejection derail your goals.

Here were my takeaways:

Lesson 1:
Rejection is an opinion. J.K. Rowling knew this when she persevered after her Harry Potter series was rejected by book publishers time and time again. Rejection is a numbers game, Jiang pointed out. Perseverance after being told no will eventually led to someone who shares your opinion – and ultimately says yes to your pitch.

Lesson 2:
Stop fearing rejection. If rejection is a universal truth in business, we must have a plan in place to not let it get the best of us. Instead, reflect on the times you didn’t let fear of rejection stand in your way. You probably gained a new business opportunity, touched a life or, at the very least, learned a lesson of how to do something better the next time.

Lesson 3:
Ask and (most of the time), you will receive. Instead of focusing on potentially failing, start with a direct question. Asking what you want sets the tone for the conversation. When you are direct in what you want, a yes is likely. When you get a maybe, it can be a potential yes if don’t give up. Even a no could be turned into a yes if you give it time.

Lesson 4:
Showing vulnerability decreases rejection. Many believe in order to sell a product, service or even an idea, you must be unwavering in your confidence and tout your accomplishments. Not true. Be vulnerable instead. This allows the person you’re trying to convince to see you in a new light – as a real person they can relate to. In the end, Jiang says showing a weakness decreases your chance of rejection.

Think about the last time you had a moment where put aside the fear of rejection and went after what you wanted. Who did you meet? What did you learn? What did you gain? How did you feel?

Jiang said he wants to experience a world in which fear of rejection doesn’t exist. I couldn’t agree more – what could we accomplish if we went for it every time with gusto? There’s no doubt we’d be wiser, braver, stronger and more successful as a result.


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Jennifer Lawhead

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