3 steps to overcome the fear of rejection
In a past article, I talked about how the fear of rejection kept me from doing market research even though I knew how much money, time, and energy it would save me. I was so afraid of people poo-pooing my idea (which felt they were poo-pooing me) that I just avoided talking to people about my ideas. I didn’t want to deal with their reactions and possibly lose motivation or go down the “What if I’m not cut out to be an entrepreneur?” spiral.
Fear of rejection can show up in so many ways and negatively impact your business and overall wellbeing.
Here are some examples that expand past just business because if you see it in other areas of your life, you can be sure that hints of it are also showing up in your business:
Saying things you don’t mean because it’s the “right thing to do”
Going along with plans laid out by other people even if you don’t want to
Intense stress reactions like pounding heart, sweaty hands, racing thoughts at parties, job interviews, meeting new people, going on dates, etc.
Stuffing down your needs and telling yourself, “It’s ok, I don’t really need that.”
Doing things out of the ordinary to please others
Inability to say “no”
Not wanting to tell people about your business idea
Needing your business to succeed so you can tell people “I told you so”
Showing up late to things
Taking on projects but not doing your best work
Outbursts of intense anger and frustration
And how does this fear of rejection actually affect your business?
Here is a list of things that become very difficult to do if not impossible:
Validating your idea with market research before working on it
Showing up on social media and contributing to conversations
Sharing valuable content
Reaching out to potential prospects
Making sales calls
Explaining to someone what your product will help them with
Telling others very clearly what your business is about and how it helps people
Getting exposure from others through guest blog posts, podcasts, interviews, etc.
…and the list goes on!
So how can we overcome the fear of rejection?
Step 1: Build awareness of fear
Start becoming more aware of when fear crops up for you in your everyday life and business. Awareness is always step one. Without awareness you don’t even know what’s really keeping you from being able to do what you want or need to do for your business to grow. Once you build awareness of the fear, you have a better chance of calming yourself down enough to release it.
Remember that you’re not fighting your fear or pushing it away or stiff-arming it because what you resist will persist. Emotions are perfectly natural - they only start to cause problems when we fight them. This keeps them in our psyche and causes our external reality to reflect those fears.
Once you build awareness of how often you’re feeling fear, you can also start building awareness of what you’re doing with it.
Step 2: Watch the fear go by
Step two in releasing fear is to take a good hard look at it. And by that, I don’t actually mean you need to analyze the crap out of it. This is what a lot of personal development books tell you to do. It’s what I used to teach, too, until I came across something even more effective.
Try sitting “behind” the fear that you feel. Imagine that the real you is sitting in a control center in your brain (called the mind) and you’re watching things that happen outside of yourself through the windshield of this mind. You can also watch thoughts go by the windshield, as well as emotions. So just watch them, notice them, observe them, as they float across the windshield of your mind.
The one thing you don’t want to do is to get “carried away” by any of your thoughts or emotions. Don’t get attached to any of them or get sucked into their trajectory. This is what happens when you feel upset and the more you think about it the more upset you feel. So just detach yourself from the upset and the fear, and just allow them, watch them go by. Let them go.
Step 3: “Future pace” this exercise
This is a very powerful exercise that can actually shape your future. So first, try this exercise out when you’re feeling good.
Then try it as you sit on the couch, with your eyes closed. Imagine something happening that normally triggers fear. Imagine yourself in that situation being able to sit “behind” that fear and just watch it go by. This step is very important. The more you practice it in your imagination, the easier it will come you in real life.
And then of course, start practicing it out in the real world. Be sure to leave a comment below to share your insights and outcomes!
Having a supportive community when you’re learning how to overcome the fear of rejection (or fear of anything really) can make the difference between wellbeing and silent suffering. Don’t wait any longer - if you haven’t already, be sure to join my newsletter community below.
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