Fear of Rejection–Don’t Let It Stand in the Way of Your Success

Back in 1994 I authored the first edition of The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret.  I was out promoting the book and trying to get bookstores to carry it.  Back then, one of the ways to do that was to go to book stores and do what I liked to call “drive-by signings” (what can I say – I’m from L.A.).  A friend of mine said there was a local neighborhood bookstore that didn’t have any copies of my book. The store was literally on my way home one day so I stopped off there but couldn’t seem to talk myself into moving from the seat of my car—I was too paralyzed to actually enter the store.

I wanted to ask them if they would mind carrying a few copies of my book.  However, I just sat in the car, too nervous to go in.  I thought, what if they say no?  What if they say they don’t want the book but thanks anyway for asking?  It wasn’t a big bookstore and I wasn’t sure that they’d be willing to carry a book from an unknown author.  I sat there too embarrassed to make any moves toward the entrance.  I swear I almost put the key back into the ignition, turned it on, and backed out.

I was so close. Then I thought, okay . . . if I don’t go in, what’s going to happen? I decided chances were pretty good that if I didn’t go into the store, absolutely nothing would happen and they’d continue to not carry the book. If I did go in and ask, there was a possibility they’d tell me they didn’t want the book and then I’d still be in the same position I was currently in.

But then I thought, what if I go in and ask and they say yes?  That made me realize that the only choice which would most likely lead to a positive outcome was to go in. Doing nothing would get me the same thing that I had now, which was nothing. So I literally sat in the car and said to myself, “Suck it up and go on in. This will be over in ten minutes. Nobody is actually going to get injured. There will be no hospitalization involved. It’s not that big a deal. It’s just a possibility of a ‘no.’”

So I went in. I brought a copy of the book and said, “I’m the author of this book. Some of the stores in your chain are carrying it. I live locally and I just wondered if you would mind carrying a few copies, maybe three or four.  If so, I would be more than glad to sign them when they come in.”

They said, “Oh great! You’re a local author! We’ll get 20. Will you come back and sign them for us?” I was like, yeah, I’d be glad to come back and sign them. So they ordered 20 copies and I came back in a couple of weeks and I signed them all. I remember thinking back, that the experience was sort of a nexus point in terms of rejection for me. I could do something or I could not do something. Not doing anything would have put me in the same situation that I began with, which was having no books in the store. Only taking the risk could result in success.  So, this is one of the reasons I tell people, “Don’t let the fear of rejection stop you from doing what you are excited about. If you are excited about your business, don’t let rejection stop you. You have to just know that when it comes to asking somebody to do something; some will, some won’t, so what?  It’s not the end of the world.”  For me, I just had to put myself in the frame of mind that what I was facing was simply not that big a thing. I now do this same thing whenever I’m faced with a situation which opens up the possibility for rejection.  I just tell myself that if someone doesn’t want to do what I’m asking, that’s fine. God bless them. I love them. It’s not that big a deal.

A good friend of mine, Dr. Mark Goulston likes to say: “We have a lot less control over winning or losing at something than we do over trying or quitting something. Always try. You can eventually win. If you always quit, you can never win.”

When people give up, even in their thoughts, it’s game over. I make a point to remember that I may not be the most successful man in a room and I may not be the smartest man in a room, but I am pretty confident that I am usually one of the most persistent men in the room. That commitment to always trying has helped me succeed. I think it is one of the things that consistently helps anyone have long term success. The whole process has to begin with the old axiom: if you think you can or if you think you can’t, you’ll be right.

I’d love for you to share a story with me about a time that you had to take leap of faith to do something and it turned out well.  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.


9 thoughts on “Fear of Rejection–Don’t Let It Stand in the Way of Your Success

  1. I could identify with your comments about asking when you think you will be rejected, but then are not. We joined a Chamber of Commerce a few months ago in a city where we had started two BNI chapters for the first time in the city. So we thought it would be good to begin becoming visible in support of the chapters. We met the manager and offered to speak at one of their monthly luncheons. They accepted immediately and we became the speakers for the annual member luncheon because we were available. We taught them how to network a Chamber event and had several speak to us and BNI members in the room about joining BNI as a result.

  2. Thank You Dr. Misner! Your timing is perfect. =-) Today I’m going to be contacting professionals in a new niche market about my SendOutCards business. I’ve already had a few moments of “Mind Trash” that self talk that keeps us from taking action. What’s weird, is that I always have such a positive response when I talk to people. They realize immediately that it will help them in their business. I love to help people be more successful by showing how valuable appreciation marketing can be. I just got back from a trip to Hawaii and the people next to me on the flight out and the flight back both liked hearing about my business. At first I was hesitant, now I’m glad we talked. Both are interested and one of them offered my family a special tour of Pearl Harbor when we return in June. Our thoughts really do set a course in our lives. It is so important to keep filling our head with great info like you have shared. Thanks again! (Now, on to making some calls!)

  3. The most difficult “leaps of faith” for our business have been in those cases where we are required to flush or fire a client. It’s not that we are so productive in our pursuits as small business marketers that we can just throw the revenue and the energy spent building a relationship out the window. Sometimes its just needed though. In the few cases where we have deemed it necessary to fire an account, the consistent variable has boiled down to energy and effort expended vs reward. If we are put in a situation where our recommendations are not valued or the execution tactics being pushed for by a client are not in line to produce the result, cut corners or are questionable ethically, then we remedy it with resistance or they are released. It tends to work out quickly in our favor because these are the same clients who want to point a finger in a blame game when things don’t work out, they forget that you gave them options and like to tell others on review sites how crummy you are (Vampires). To us our success always comes when we have a working relationship that is honest and mutually accountable and we respect each others position. Without it there is second guessing and trust issues that only serve to hinder success.

  4. Thank You for the thought Dr. Misner, In our family business we get a lot of “no, we’re all set or I just hired someone” We have a small family cleaning business which in this business it is mostly “word of mouth:” not everyone will hand over their home or business keys along with the alarm code to a stranger who just walked in. But it has been done and when we run into our customers we are greated with a smile a thank you small talk. I spent most of the day on the phone doing cold calls and mostly got a no but some took information and one asked me to email the owner something, so I wrote about our business and how happy our customers would be to tell everyone what we do for them. Being a small family cleaning business we always have to think we can so we can keep doing what we do.

  5. I love it! We fail to try when fear abounds. I see this happening during networking events. Many people have the desire to connect with as many people as possible but FEAR limits the number of people they want to talk to..

  6. A very important discussion indeed. After I have launched my first networking training programme by doing free speaking sessions for associations in my target market, I was encouraged by one attendee to meet the CEO to introduce my training to him. My referral source was inspired by my programme and he saw the need for this unique training at his company. At the time, I had very little sales presentation skills and merely used my story to communicate the value of the programme. So there I sat in a vig boardroom when the CEO arrived. The meeting was short. He insisted on statics as a basis to contiue the discussion! “I understand …”, I said and left. I compiled a list of success stories a day later and never heard from him again. So I sharpened my sales presentation skills – you still need it even if you are able to generate referrals – and off I went to a second referal in the banking industry. We agreed to a doing a pilot session to be evaluated in terms of their internal procedures and I won’t see it. I would then train financial investment professionals at all their branches if they received the desired responses. They emailed me a report a week after the pilot session…I got a contract to do further training! Fear is rejection is often the result of a lack of knowledge and not understanding our own capabilities. It takes more that self-believe, courage and attitude. I negotiated many more win-win deals and didn’t give up after my first rejection! To your success!

  7. I learned about the word No a while back and I made a plan, thank you for sharing your story. My plan is to go for the NO! I prepare myself that they are going to say no and I make it my goal to see how many no’s I get. How many people do you know that will say yes, not many right, How many people do you know that will probably say no, everyone right! If you go for the No, make it a goal, you’d be suprised at how many yes you get, because your expecting the No, what a bonus when they say Yes! Look for the no, it helps. Thanks Carri

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