Lately the only way to get my son to sleep at night is to make sure he’s armed with a flashlight, a sword and his “monster spray.”

But adults have monsters too.

The concept of rejection is one of those adult kinds of monsters.

I have a client, for example, who is terrified of being rejected. She’s one of the smartest, funniest, most independent people I know but she curls up into a ball at the thought of rejection.

She has a tendency to fixate on every little nuance of every little social interaction. She makes sure to purchase something small when she goes into a store so that the shopkeeper won’t find her rude. She overanalyzes emails exchanges straining to interpret the tone of each reply. She finds chatting with friends exhausting given the mental energy she puts into saying just the right thing.

She does all this out of an irrational fear of rejection.

We know it’s irrational because the other day I helped her to stop fearing it long enough to put it under the microscope. And here’s what we learned….

Rejection is a misunderstanding.

Like The Backson it’s not at all as dangerous as we make it out to be in our minds.

Here’s the thing:

If they judge you, criticize you, talk about you behind your back, spread rumors or lies about you, ignore you, yell at you or laugh at you…

It’s not about you!

Here’s what’s really going on…

You threaten them. Maybe it’s your ideas, or the way you talk or the amount of money you make or your passion for life.

Whatever it is, you make them uncomfortable. You challenge them in some way.

But people don’t learn, or grow or evolve without being challenged.

Which is why you have to ruffle some feathers. You have to challenge the status quo. In short, you have to be dangerous to them.

Because no one can evolve without getting a little bit (or a lot) uncomfortable. It takes a shocking new idea or a ground-breaking work of art. Things have to be said that no one else is willing to say. Things have to be done that no one else is willing to do.

This is innovation.

So Here’s how to STOP fearing rejection and START making friends with it:

1) Remind yourself  “It’s not about you!”

Remember, you simply represent something that makes them uncomfortable inside themselves. You are holding a mirror up to them and that’s a good thing. Some people might not be ready to look in the mirror and some might, but that’s none of your business.

2) Expect the push back.

The German philosopher and businessman Arthur Schopenhauer puts it this way: “Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. First it is ridiculed, in the second it is opposed, in the third it is regarded as self-evident.” If you’re not ruffling feathers, I say you’re not doing enough.

3) Trust.

Quoting Gail Larsen author of Transformational Speaking, “You are an original. Nowhere else duplicated.” Trust that your voice matters… that you have a purpose.

4) Do Something!

Stop worrying about doing it “wrong.” You can’t course correct when you’re standing still. A bad decision or a wrong decision, as they say, is better then no decision at all because a decision means action and action leads to growth.

So….

Be dangerous! To the status quo! To conventional thinking! Channel some of that monster energy and use it to play big!

Stop hiding. Stop over analyzing. Stop second-guessing. Speak! Sing! Dance! Write! Laugh! Dare! Risk!

Yes, you will raise some eyebrows. Eyes will roll. And you might even incite a riot.

But that’s evolution baby.

 

Question: What’s one way you’d like to be more daring, when it comes to your own monsters? Be dangerous and post a comment below. I LOVE that!

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3 Responses

  1. Jackie says:

    Yay! Awesome post Amy. Great way of looking at things.

    “If they judge you, criticize you, talk about you behind your back, spread rumors or lies about you, ignore you, yell at you or laugh at you…

    It’s not about you!

    Here’s what’s really going on…

    You threaten them. Maybe it’s your ideas, or the way you talk or the amount of money you make or your passion for life.

    Whatever it is, you make them uncomfortable. You challenge them in some way.” — Very cool, I guess it is true, never thought about it this way.

  2. Paula says:

    A much needed take on reality for me. I am always taking on any project and working full steam ahead getting 95% down and then I crash down into the fear of rejection zone either from my own fear or by reactions of peers. This post came at a great time in my life. I know I will move forward from here.

  3. marina says:

    thanks so much for this post today Amy! how did you know I needed to hear this??? I was feeling sad this morning for someone rejecting my ideas, and took it personally, even thought of giving up, and then got this post in my email! you are so right, thanks, I will keep up with the evolution!!

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