Earlier in my professional life I had a fear of rejection.
I think it might have had to do with how I was trained at a large accounting firm that I previously worked for. At that firm, we were required to report every week how many new people we met, where we met them, and how successful we were in getting them as a new client. Not that I wasn’t able to talk to people; on the contrary, I am very personable and can talk to anyone in almost any situation. However, if we didn’t get them as a client, we had to explain why and what we could have done better. It got to the point where I started to really dislike reporting my activities because you had to explain why you weren’t always 100% successful.
One day, after I started my own firm, a salesman, with whom I had been doing business for quite awhile, came into my office. Because I always enjoyed learning other people’s strategies for getting new clients, sometimes he and I would sit and talk about sales techniques.
I asked this salesman how he went about finding new clients. He told me that some days he would just walk down the street, stop in every business, and ask to talk to the person in charge. He would introduce himself, ask them who they were currently working with, and if they were happy with the service they were getting. More often than not, he would be told that they didn’t need his services.
Falling back on some of my past experiences, I asked him how he handled the rejection. He gave me a funny look and said “what rejection?”
He then told me something that has stuck with me and shaped the way I have viewed things ever since. He said, “if I walk into a business with nothing and I walk out with nothing how worse off am I?”
That two minute conversation was one of the most freeing experiences I have had. It so significantly changed my outlook on life that I am now free from my reluctance to approach a situation for fear of receiving an answer that I might not have previously wanted to hear.
This concept combined with my belief that everything happens for a reason has given me the confidence to approach situations free of the fear of failure or rejection.
How many times do we find ourselves in situations where we don’t speak up because we are afraid we aren’t going to get the answer we want? Many of the times we don’t speak up result from our assuming we know the answer to a question before we even ask it. We assume rejection.
How many times might there have been when had we spoken up we might have gotten then answer we wanted? I look back at times when I wanted to ask for something and did not because I didn’t think the person would respond positively only to watch another person come along and ask for the same thing and get what they asked for.
I now have the attitude that if there is something I need to say or something I need to ask for I ask for it. I don’t do it in a rude or pushy way, but I do ask. Sometimes the answer is no; sometimes the answer is yes. No matter what the answer is how worse off am I by asking the question?
Franklin D. Roosevelt once said ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” We need to get over our fears of failure or rejection and take a chance once in a while. You might find that the answer you were looking for has been there just waiting for you to ask the question.