How to Overcome Fear of Rejection
What holds us back is the fear of rejection. When someone tells you NO – it conjures up thoughts of pain and a feeling of worthlessness. The very thought of rejection stops you from applying for a new job, asking someone out on a date, asking for a raise, asking for a promotion, or making that sales call you know you need to make. Therefore, we go out of our way to avoid rejection. However, rejection is exactly what you need to succeed.
What would it mean to you if you could overcome the fear of rejection?
Rejection is a Natural Path to Success
Let’s say you hate your job but you don’t apply for a new job because of a fear of rejection. You might say to yourself, “What’s the point of applying, I won’t get the job anyway.” Therefore you don’t apply for the job. If this is your mindset, chances are you will end up working in a job you hate all because of the fear of rejection. In order to find a job you will love, you have to face the fear of rejection.
Let’s say you are lonely and would love to find a loving relationship but you won’t ask anyone out on a date because of the fear of rejection. If you never ask anyone out on a date, how do you expect to find the love of your life? The choice is, deal with the fear of rejection or stay single and miss out on all the joys a loving relationship can bring. Companionship, love, acceptance, family, and life long friendship. By not confronting the fear of rejection, you would be destined to spend the rest of your life as a lonely person.
Let’s say you took the plunge to start your own business but you need sales – now! Except, the thought of interacting with a sales, prospect leaves you in fear for your life. “What if I approach them and they say no!” This fear stops you from picking up the phone and making a cold call. By caving into the fear of rejection, where does that leave you? Obviously with no sales, no cash flow, and ultimately no business.
The bottom line is rejection is one of life’s realities. You cannot avoid rejection. Can you think of a single person who has never faced rejection?
Learn to Accept Rejection and Become Comfortable with No
To succeed, you need to learn how to fail, how to deal with rejection, and how to overcome the word NO!
Most people are afraid of rejection and terrified of hearing the word no. When you learn that the word no is just a word, and accept the word no, it makes rejection easier to handle. But before you can get comfortable with rejection, it’s important to understand what triggers the fear of rejection.
The Origins of Fear
The origins of fear begin back in the time of the cavemen. During the Paleolithic Era, cave dwellers survived by hunting and gathering. They survived because of the ‘fight or flight’ response. The fight or flight instinct was hard-wired into their brains and served as a mechanism to keep them alert during times of danger. When presented with danger, such as a wild animal, the fight or flight response kicked in.
The problem for us humans is that we still bear the origins of the fight or flight response. While the fight or flight response was helpful for survival when cave dwellers encountered wild animals, this response is no longer appropriate unless you are in real danger.
Modern life doesn’t present us with the same life-threatening situations as cave dwellers. We are unlikely to be faced with a triceratops in our backyard with only a stick or a club to defend ourselves? Yet, the fear we feel when faced with rejection in the modern era is the same type of fear cave dwellers experienced centuries ago.
Fear is designed to protect you from real danger and haunts us as in the fear of rejection, even when that fear is not logical.
How You Respond to Fear
When faced with a life-threatening situation, your body reacts instinctively and the fight or flight response is activated. It’s a natural response when danger arises. The body’s sympathetic nervous system is activated due to a sudden release of hormones. As a response to fear or acute stress, a reaction begins in the amygdala, which triggers a neural response in the rest of the body releasing hormones designed to prepare your body to fight or flee.
When the fight or flight response is activated, the body experiences a sudden rush of two important hormones, epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline). These hormones increase blood flow to all important systems to prepare your body to respond to impending danger. The fear of rejection triggers this same fight or flight response even though your life is not at stake.
When faced with the fear of rejection, the body goes haywire and activates the same fight or flight reaction even though your life isn’t being threatened?
The fight or flight mechanism is designed to kick into action when faced with a genuine life and death situation. However, 21st-century stress creates new fears. Stress in the workplace can trigger a milder fight or flight response. The same fight or flight response paralyzes you in front of people when you need to deliver a verbal report? The fear of rejection also paralyzes you when faced with asking for a raise, interviewing for a new job, or going after a promotion. Suddenly the life-saving mechanism of fight or flight which is designed to protect you works against you. It holds you back and stifles your ability to succeed.
When you live with the fear of rejection, you will continue to experience continued anxiety, stress, and tension in the body. Every time your body kicks into fight or flight mode, your body will pump out epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Living an ever-stressed lifestyle that nurtures the fear of rejection, will wreak havoc with your health, relationships, career, and your personal growth.
Because the very thought of rejection conjures up a feeling of not being good enough, many people fail to chase their dreams because of this fear. This is a major reason why people turn to a life coach – to help them overcome their fears and live the life they dreamed of.
Here are seven ways on how to overcome the fear of rejection.
7 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Rejection
1. Rejection is Not Always About You
For most people, hearing the word no makes it feel personal. Often what they are saying no to, has nothing to do with you. It has to do with other alternatives.
Perhaps you didn’t have the same experience or qualification as another person when you applied for a job. Perhaps a person said no to going on a date because they have just come out of a really bad breakup. Perhaps the boss didn’t give you a raise because they were struggling with cash flow.
One way to think of rejection differently is to ask for feedback. With good feedback, it allows you to plan your future approach differently.
2. Think of Rejection as a Learning Experience
No one wants to feel like a failure. Yet, can you think of a successful person who hasn’t experienced failure at some time in their life? They had to take a risk to get where they wanted to go. They had to learn from their failures in order to become a success. Instead of looking at rejection as shame, guilt, or failure, think of rejection as an opportunity to learn from mistakes. If you think of rejection as a learning experience, you learn what to do differently next time.
Instead of thinking of rejection as an attack on your self-esteem and self-worth, think of it as an opportunity to learn, grow, and flourish.
3. The No Gets you Closer to the Yes
Remember, that for every no, it gets you closer to a yes. No one knows this better than experienced salespeople. They know that for every no, they get closer to the yes. In many cases, they have worked out percentages. Some salespeople may need to approach 10 people to get to a yes. Others know that need to make 20 phone calls to get an appointment. It becomes a numbers game for them.
4. Adopt Realistic Expectations
If you have just graduated from college, you can’t expect to land a job as the CEO of a major corporation. If you did apply for a role like this, more than likely you will receive a rejection letter. Kudos for setting your sights high, however, it’s important to adopt realistic expectations.
5. Embrace Rejection as an Opportunity to Grow
You have a choice of how you look at rejection. You can either wallow in self-pity and allow rejection to consume you with negativity. If you do, the fear of rejection will prevent you from ever taking a risk again. Alternatively, you can choose to take what you learned from rejection and grow from the experience.
If you applied for a job and got rejected, there are several things you can do. Check your resume and improve upon it. If you didn’t nail a job interview, look at how you performed during the interview. Did you prepare adequately and do the necessary research? When you grow from the experience, the next time you are in an interview, your personal growth and confidence will shine through.
6. Fake it Until You Make It
Heard the expression, “Fake it until you make it?” Fear of rejection can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe you will get rejected, you most certainly will. If you believe you won’t get rejected, you significantly increase your chances of getting a yes. Building your self-confidence by learning from rejection will help you become more comfortable with hearing the word no.
7. Practice Rejection Therapy
Become Comfortable With the Word No
If you struggle with rejection, learning to become comfortable with hearing the word no, is to accept the challenge of rejection therapy.
You can desensitize yourself to hearing the word no. Put yourself in a position where you are likely to get a rejection. Start small by asking for something simple. For example, ask if you cut in front of someone while standing in a line. Ask a stranger for a bite of their sandwich at lunch knowing you will be told no. Ask for a paid day for no reason or ask a random stranger for a date. “Expect the no” as you do this challenge.
As you build your resistance to hearing the word no, you can then level up and scale the size of your requests. By challenging yourself this way, you desensitize yourself to feeling rejected.
As you practice rejection therapy you will get to the point where you become comfortable with no.
What would you do if you could learn to handle rejection and overcome the word no? What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Would you chase your wildest dreams? By redefining the word rejection this will empower you to live the life of your dreams and not work for someone else’s dreams. All you need to do is get comfortable with hearing the word no.
On a Final Note
Learn how to overcome the fear of rejection and master a life of success. If you need help learning how to thrive, not just survive, the Strategez for Success Coaching Model just might be for you.
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