How to Get Over the Unconscious Fear of Rejection

On a night out in my early 20s, I spotted a girl I couldn’t take my eyes off.

But I was too chicken to say hello.

I was being a lot less subtle than I thought, because a friend came over and said something that completely took the fear away:

“Try and get rejected.”

When I heard this, it occurred to me that the worst thing that could happen was that she would tell me to go away.

And that wouldn’t be the end of the world…

So I walked over, struck up a conversation, and we ended up hitting it off.

The reason we procrastinate on taking action on what we most want in life is usually because of an unconscious fear of rejection.

Our belief is something like: “If I fail at this, I AM a failure.”

Our self identity gets wrapped up in the outcome — so we don’t move forward.

The reality is that we’ll only ever get what we want in life by taking action.

And, if it matters to you, it’ll usually be an uncomfortable action.

Therefore, one of the most effective ways to overcome the fear of rejection is to directly pursue the thing you’re afraid of.

To deliberately try and get rejected.

This is probably what Byron Katie was getting at when she said:

“You can have anything you want in life, if you are willing to receive 1,000 NOs.”

If you collect enough “nos”, you’ll free yourself from a fear that paralyses 99% of the population because your self identity becomes free from the outcome.

You realise that failing at something does not make you a failure.

So you’re free to experiment.

A good example of the power of pursuing rejection comes from Rich Litvin.

Litvin, a coach himself, helps new coaches transition from other careers into full time coaching.

Most of his students struggle with a fear of rejection, so they procrastinate on offering their services to potential clients.

To help them get over their blocks, Litvin gets them to play the “no-game”, which involves directly aiming to collect 50 “nos” as quickly as possible from potential clients.

Interestingly, many of his coaches report that in their pursuit of collecting nos, several of the people they offer their services to say yes and their coaching practice starts to grow.

Going forward, when I’m setting goals for the important things I want to accomplish, I’m going to set rejection goals alongside them.

For example, if my goal is to get 20 people to write a review for my first book, I’ll aim to get at least 100 people to say no to the request.

Or, if I’m aiming to get influencers to promote The Weekend University’s next summit, I want to collect 50 no’s in the process.

What about you?

What do you want to achieve?

And what rejection goal(s) can you set to overcome the fear of failure?

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Niall McKeever

Writer and Founder of The Weekend University. Passionate about making great ideas more accessible.

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