Conquer Your Fear of Rejection

My Experiments With Rejection

In December 2019, I tweeted about a new experiment I was trying.

  1. Getting outside my comfort zone by dancing with the possibility of rejection.
  2. Taking the initiative to start a conversation and friendship.
  3. Building a routine in my new home by setting time aside in my schedule for a nice evening each week.

1. I WAS BEING KINDER TO MYSELF.

Rather than thinking, “I shouldn’t feel this way” when I was rejected, I intentionally tried to be more empathetic towards myself. Feeling sad or disappointed when we are rejected is normal. I told myself that it’s OK to feel the way I do, given this circumstance. As a way to step back a bit I would ask myself, “What would I tell a child who was feeling this way?” Rather than telling myself something harsh like “Get over it” or minimizing that “It’s just a dinner reservation,” I would attend to my feelings and validate them as real and allowable. Whether I am being told “no” to a dinner reservation or hearing “no” from a dream client I’ve always wanted to work with, being rejected for something that matters hurts. Learning to pause and feel that emotion has helped me to encourage myself at the moment of rejection rather than beat myself up.

2. I WAS CHALLENGING MY INTERNAL STORIES IN ORDER TO BE MORE PRESENT.

There were a lot of legitimate reasons that someone would say no to my dinner reservation invitation. Reasons ranged from their trying to save money by not eating out to saying the week I proposed didn’t work for his schedule. When I first began hearing “no,” I would shut down and not be present to hear the reason why.

3. I GAVE MYSELF CREDIT FOR TRYING.

Whether I received an enthusiastic, “Yes! I’d love to join you” or was told that someone wasn’t up for coming to my reservation, I took time to congratulate myself for taking a risk. It was another data point that showed me that I can handle rejection when it comes my way.

Rejecting Fear of Rejection

Although the pandemic caused repeated pauses and restarts to this experiment, I have managed to have over two dozen of these reservations to date. As I became more settled in my routine in Lisbon, my calendar had more things than it did when I first moved. Over time, I decided to move the reservations from one per week to every two weeks.

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Jacqueline

Jacqueline

Jacqueline Jensen is a COO, former venture-backed startup founder, TEDx speaker, author, and Royal Society of Arts Fellow.