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:
- Embrace your fear (Don’t run)
- Ask the right questions (Don’t assume)
- 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.