Fear of Rejection
And how your persistence pays off.
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. However, I couldn’t seem to talk myself into moving from the seat of my car—I was paralyzed with fear, and could not enter the store.
The “ask” was simple: Would they mind carrying a few copies of my book? My nerves nagged me, “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 would 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; in that case, my position would not have changed.
Then I thought, What if I go in and ask and they say yes? That question 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?”
Of course I would be glad to come back and sign them!
So they ordered 20 copies, and I came back in a couple of weeks to sign 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.
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 embrace this when it comes to asking somebody to do something; some will, some won’t, so what? It’s not the end of the world.”
I had to put myself in that frame of mind, believing I was facing not that big of 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 is 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 you had to take leap of faith to do something and it turned out well. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Called the “father of modern networking” by CNN, Dr. Ivan Misner is a New York Times bestselling author. He is the Founder and Chairman of BNI, the world’s largest business networking organization. His newest book can be viewed at www.BusinessNetworkingandSex.com. Dr. Misner is also the Sr. Partner for the Referral Institute, an international referral training company.
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