A Little Rejection Never Hurt Anybody (+ a book review)

I hope I am not the only one who can admit to having given up on something out of fear of the big “N-O”. I have avoided conversations, put off text messages, and declined invitations, all because I’m afraid of a little rejection.

 
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This can be quite a conundrum when trying to run your own business! To grow my client base I might need to *gulp* talk to people. It requires posting to social media, actively networking, maybe even cold-contacting potential contacts. What if they find me annoying?? What if they don’t like my work?? These and a million other worries flew through my head. Knowing I needed a way to be able to put myself out there in spite of such fears, I picked up the book Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection by Jia Jiang.

It was such a joy to read. Jiang’s writing is both humorous and to the point. He has the perfect memoir writing style, as he can convey a meaningful message while telling a personal story. The book centers on Jiang’s decision to leave his high-paying job to follow his dreams and become an entrepreneur. With his wife’s support, he gathers the courage to tell his company he’s leaving and starts building a team to bring one of his many entrepreneurial ideas to life. His journey to realizing his dreams comes to an abrupt halt when his first potential investor decides not to fund his app idea. Jiang is crushed. He and his team believed in the idea, put in long hours to make it happen, and had now hit their first hurdle.

What Jiang does next changes his life forever. Instead of giving in at this first “No”, he decides to get at the root of why this affected him so much. Why does rejection hold such power over us on a daily basis? Why do we let it get in the way of our dreams? Jiang turns this rejection into a journey of learning not only how to deal with rejection, but even how to turn that “No” into a “Yes” in certain situations.

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The main lessons I gained from his book are:

  • People are not automatically against you - they can be kind and open if you approach from a place of authenticity
  • Give they “why” behind your request or action - others want to understand and may be more open to saying yes

  • Allow time for a “maybe” - your request may not be a good fit for the first person you talk to, but they could be the door to another contact

  • Be empathetic, even questioning when forming your request - do not base your approach on an assumption you made about someone else, but maybe ask them questions to see what an appropriate “in” could be

  • A rejection is probably not about you as a person - there are a myriad of reasons you may get a “no”, and most of them will have to do with the person’s own situation not with you

I recommend this book to anyone struggling to understand why we let fear get in the way of doing what we love. It provides great personal insight as well as bit-sized lessons to implement in your daily life. Reading it did not necessarily lessen my fear, but it gave me the courage to act in spite of the fear out of curiosity of what might happen if I took a chance. You won’t know what will happen unless you try.

-Lindsay