3 steps to turn your fear of rejection into career success


I recently watched a very amusing and informative TED talk by Jia Jiang titled ‘What I learned form 100 days of rejection’. As we all know, fear of rejection is extremely common and can surface anytime, anywhere and to anyone. It prevents us from trying new things, stops us from achieving our goals and pushes us away from what we really want in our life and career.

In his talk, Jia Jiang talks about how a fear of rejection can arise from misunderstandings. When being rejected, we often run away wrongly assuming we are the reason for the rejection. We don’t ask questions, we don’t engage in conversation and we don’t find out the true reason. We close the door to discovering other possibilities and we achieve nothing.

I can remember applying for a training contract as a trainee solicitor and being faced with a pile of rejection letters. Each letter took away a small chunk of my confidence and it felt like a personal attack on my personality and ability. I could have given up but I now know that these jobs were simply not right for me. There was in fact one firm I really wanted to work for and so I persevered with the application process and was successful. The rejections had taught me that the competition was tough and so I needed to work extra hard to achieve.

How can we all turn rejection into opportunities and success?

Jiang’s solution to overcoming our fear of rejection is simple and can be summarised in three steps:

  1. Embrace your fear (Don’t run)
  2. Ask the right questions (Don’t assume)
  3. Turn your findings into opportunities (Don’t stop)

It involves a desensitisation from the pain that rejection brings (step 1) and asking for what you want (step 2).   It is through asking the right questions that we can discover the true reason behind the rejection and uncover further opportunities (step 3).

‘When you get rejected in life, when you are facing the next obstacle or next failure, consider the possibilities. Don’t run. If you just embrace them they might become your gifts as well.’ (Jia Jiang)

To find out more, watch his talk and listen to how Jiang proved the success of embracing rejection by setting himself a challenge to seek out rejection for 100 days. It is only 15 minutes long and will certainly engage you in how to overcome the fear of rejection in an encouraging and inspiring way.


Are you tired of being available 24/7?

career-coachingIs it time to turn off your work emails, log out of Facebook and allow yourself some peace and quiet?

A recent article titled, The busier you are, the more you need quiet time, prompted me to think about the impact of instant communication on our everyday lives and how it is becoming increasingly difficult to find quiet time to think, relax and rejuvenate.

Instant communication dominates our lives, allowing us to be in continuous communication with others. We are bombarded with communication through mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, email, WhatsApp and text messaging. Tablets and mobile phones have become an important part of our day as we cling on to them in anticipation, waiting for them to buzz, beep or ring.

According to research carried out last year, the average person swipes, taps and pinches their display about 2,617 times a day and spends about 2.42 hours a day touching the smartphone display. Furthermore, 87% will check their phone at least once between midnight and 5am.

The acceptance of instant communication being available 24/7 has weakened the boundaries of time defining when it is acceptable and not acceptable to contact someone and this has resulted in the incompatible overlap of work and play. If your boss emails you at 10pm, does he or she expect a response that evening? Is it right to answer a work email whilst giving the kids tea? Should we be checking Facebook whilst at a friend’s house?  Is it right to be responding to personal messages whilst at work? The boundaries are becoming blurred making it harder to understand when it is acceptable to switch off without undermining our friendships or work ethic.

This bombardment of instant communication makes us feel overloaded, tired and stressed. We are starting to see people becoming disillusioned with the continuous flow of Facebook communication or increasingly stressed by the constant access to work email. The return of the iconic Nokia 3310 has even caused excitement as we reminisce about the days of being unable to check emails and Facebook on our phones (although, I have recently read that these may have 4G!).

Is it now time to switch off?

Have a think about how you can temporarily switch off from the instant communication in your life and restore the boundaries of your work-life balance. Can you turn off your work emails at appropriate times of the day? Can you limit yourself to checking Facebook once a day? Can you allocate a day, or part of a day, each week for quiet relaxation? Perhaps you can go for a long gadget-free walk, read a book or listen to some music. Just think how refreshed, fulfilled and happier you will feel when you allow yourself some peace and quiet each week.

Ensure you take time out of our busy world to give yourself time to think and relax.


Four ways to feel happier at work

We have all felt unhappy at work at some stage in our career and can recognise the impact this can have on our life. Work misery can dominate home life, friendships and health making your work-life balance all about work and little about play.

If you feel unhappy at work, you have a choice. You can keep doing what you are doing, making work misery the norm and something you ‘just have to put up with’, inevitably leading to high stress levels and further misery.   Alternatively, you can focus on making positive changes at work, giving yourself the chance to be happier.

To help you make some changes at work, I have set out four focus areas:

  1. Support – Are you getting the right support at work? Ask for help when necessary from colleagues and managers.
  2. Expectation – ensure you are clear about what is expected of you.
  3. Working hours – are you working long hours? Think about your work pattern and spend time focusing on your productivity. Are you taking too long on some pieces of work? Do you set aside specific time for admin tasks? Do you sit at your desk stuck on a piece of work instead of asking for help? If necessary, speak to your manager about your workload.
  4. Challenge – Are you challenged enough? If not, perhaps talk to your manager about obtaining more work. Can you be given a different project to work on?

Through making small changes, bigger changes will start to fall into place making you feel happy at work once again.

Remember – if you keep doing what you are doing you will keep getting the same result.