By Lisa Tanner, freelance writer and contributor to this blog
Everyone fears rejection. ~ Derek Jeter (American athlete and businessman)
Do you agree with Derek Jeter? Do you fear rejection?
I do. Especially when it comes to my home business.
In fact, the fear used to completely control me. I dreaded sending pitches for new gigs in my freelance writing business. Or even submitting work for the ones who hired me. No matter what I was doing, rejection seemed like a terrifying outcome.
My own mind sensed this fear and ran with it. My imagination was great at compiling reasons why what I did wasn’t good enough. Or pointing out potential flaws in everything I did. I could name reason after reason why it was a terrible idea for me to even try.
At that point, rejection was something I truly feared. And this fear held me back for a long time. The higher the risk of rejection, the less likely I was to even attempt it.
But a few years ago, something changed. I decided to act even though I was scared. And this action helped me to realize that all the worst possible scenarios I’d developed in my mind never came to pass.
I heard plenty of nos. But, that was the end of it. No matter how many times I faced rejection, not one of my imagined outcomes happened.
This reality gave me the courage to face the possibility of rejection again. And today, though it hasn’t gone completely away, the fear of rejection doesn’t have the same hold on me that it did five years ago when I first started. I’ve learned to manage my fear.
If you’re currently feeling like rejection is too big of a risk, there is hope. You don’t have to let the fear win.
Instead, you can use the strategies I used to handle rejection and put the fear into perspective. Then you can move forward. And when you stop letting your fears hold you back, you will be amazed at how far you can go.
If you want to better handle rejection in your home business, there are four things you must do:
- Acknowledge the possibility
- Remember it’s not personal
- Learn from it
- Try again
Let’s get started.
For a complete step-by-step guide on how to start a home business that doesn’t take over your life, check out my book Make Money From Home. You’ll discover exactly how to build a profitable business you love.
1. Acknowledge the Probability of Rejection
When you start putting yourself out there to start or grow your business, you are going to be rejected. It’s not if you’re rejected, it’s when.
It’s going to happen. Probably more than once. You aren’t going to be a great fit for everyone.
So plan on being rejected.
Right from the start, make it a point to acknowledge that rejection is probable. Tell yourself that it is a possibility. Because when you name the thing you are afraid of, it really does help.
Rejection then becomes one of the potential outcomes. You can prepare for it. And remind yourself that it is not a rare occurrence that must mean you are terrible. It is simply one of the options every single time you do anything.
Action Step: When you are scared of rejection, tell yourself: Rejection is one possible outcome. Prepare to be rejected.
2. Don’t Take Rejection Personally
That person or company that just rejected you? They don’t know you. They are not rejecting you as a person, but rather saying no to this particular thing.
That’s all it means. So let it go and do not project that no onto your whole life.
Do not dwell on the rejection. Instead, change how you view it.
Because in all fairness, rejection is not about you.
It’s about them.
And right now, they are saying no. They aren’t going to stop and dwell about their no. They’re just sending an email or making a call and moving on to the next thing on their to-do list.
Even though your brain might be telling you that rejection is about you, remind yourself that it is wrong.
And then move on. Don’t you dare give rejection more power than it should have.
Otherwise, you risk letting rejection define you. Because when you take rejection personally, you are casting a shadow that is hard to get out from underneath. Every single rejection will just pile on thicker and thicker, and pretty soon you will just stop trying. You will give up.
Do not let rejection make that decision for you.
You are more than a no.
Action Step: Remember that rejection isn’t about you. Stop dwelling on it and move on.
3. Learn from Rejection
When you can think objectively about rejection, it can teach you a lot.
Your first lesson might be that rejection isn’t as terrible as you thought it would be. None of those truly awful things your imagination came up with happened. It was a letdown, but not the end of the world.
But that’s not the only lesson rejection shares. Did the rejection come with any feedback?
If yes, take the time to read it. Is it truthful? Are there any words of wisdom you can use to improve?
If no, you have two options to help you learn more. You can ask for feedback in a polite, professional way. Keep it simple. Even something like this will work:
Thank you for letting me know your decision. Is there anything I could have done better?
You may get rewarded with some genuine feedback when you take this approach. Then you can use this insight to help you do better next time.
If the thought of reaching out to someone who rejected you terrifies you, don’t worry. You can also do some self-analysis of the process. Review what you sent over.
Look for any potential errors on your part. This could include:
- Incomplete applications
- Incorrect attachments
- Spelling or grammar mistakes
- Any specific instructions you forgot about
- A tone or style that’s much different from the company
Now don’t look for problems so you can berate yourself over them. Right now you are just gathering information to help you improve.
You may not find anything. But if you do, you can use this information to help you going forward. You can implement new processes to help you the next time around.
Action Step: Read any feedback that was provided. If there wasn’t any, either reach out and ask for some, or quickly analyze all steps of the process. Are there any key takeaways? Learn from them. Use this information to help you do better next time.
4. Try Again
Do you remember the old-time wisdom about what to do if you fall off a bike?
You need to get right back on. Otherwise the fear of the fall will keep you from pedaling ever again.
You can apply this same principle to your home business. If you experience rejection, you need to try again. Do it before you lose your nerve or talk yourself out of it.
So when you get rejected, try again. Send another pitch. Make another call. Publish another special deal.
And do it quickly.
Otherwise the fear might take hold again and keep you from ever putting yourself out there.
Action Step: Do it again. Take the no with a grain of salt and move onto the next opportunity. Believe in yourself.
Keep Practicing How You Handle Rejection
Each time you try, the potential for another rejection occurs. This means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get practice these steps. Before you know it, you’ll be able to handle rejection without giving it much thought.
And don’t worry…each rejection really does bring you closer to a selection. The yes that you’ve been waiting for will come.