choices, commitment, determination, failure, fate, fear, rejection, sadness

Leap: Ditch Your Fear of Rejection

From Pinterest

I know this is true: because I have no fear of rejection, I have been able to do a lot more with my life than I would have done otherwise.

I’ve been rejected so many times, I’ve lost count. And you know what? None of those rejections killed me. Some of them hurt, badly, but none of them kept me down.

Rejection, that nasty, endless tape of “You can’t…”, “You aren’t good enough to…”, “Who are you to…” is worthless. It runs its mouth and there is no pleasing it. You can’t compromise with it. You can’t reason with it. You can’t take something good from it. It is rotten to the core. All you can do is shut it down.

Here’s the best outcome: you will do something you really want to do, gain confidence, be happy, and then work on your next dream. Awesome.

Here’s another possible outcome: you will pitch yourself into something and it will not work. You will fall down, you’ll perhaps sustain some bumps and bruises, and then you’ll get up. Big deal. You’re strong. You’ll become more resilient with each fall and rise. You’ll live to fight another day.

Here’s the worst possible outcome: you will let the spokesperson for the fear of rejection keep you from trying to do something you really want to do. And you’ll never do it. That’s just sad.

I know which of these paths I’m taking. Do you?

failure, rejection, writer, writing

Step 227: Rejection is a Part of the Writing Life

I used to keep a file of rejection letters from companies where I applied for jobs. I may have them buried in a sealed box somewhere on the top shelf of my closet. I hope so – some day I want to make sure to go back and read them. Most of them were probably right to reject me. And those rejections didn’t get me down; they just made me work harder and that probably warrants a thank you note to each of them.

As a freelance writer, rejection is part of the path. In the end, I know I’m a better writer for all of the rejections I’ve received (and there have been many.) There’s no getting away from the occasional (or common) ding. A few days ago I received the latest in a long line, though I must admit it did have some interesting insights and a compliment thrown in at the end. It is in response to a piece I wrote on my recent jury duty service where I believe that the defendant was a victim of racial profiling, landing him with an unjust prison sentence. What strikes me as sad about the rejection letter is that the injustice that I discussed in the essay would be considered commonplace (and therefore acceptable) by anyone, most of all an editor of a highly respected publication.

I will post the essay on this blog as tomorrow’s entry because I think it deserves as wide a reach of audience as I can get for it, not for my sake but for the sake of the defendant in the trial. In the mean time, here’s the magazine editor’s response to my submission.


Thanks for the submission. I’m afraid this isn’t a good fit for us, though. Certainly an injustice seems to have occurred, and it seems sensible to lament it. But as lamentable as it is, the story here feels too commonplace to support an essay. That our codes of law have areas of absurdity, and that minority citizens are more vulnerable than privileged ones, are widely recognized facts. The case of Mr. Bond illustrates those facts, but an essay must do more than that to be compelling — whether by means of a counter-intuitive twist, an eccentric voice, or some other mechanism that either delivers us to a destination that’s different than we might have expected, or gets us there by an unexpected route.

You write well and clearly, and I would be more than happy to consider other submissions from you. I just don’t think this is the one for us.


business, career, children, entrepreneurship, fear, rejection

My Year of Hopefulness – Fear #2 of entrepreneurship

“No one will want the product or service my business produces.”

This is the #2 fear of entrepreneurship for me, the second in a series that I’m doing after being inspired by Gary Novosel, Founder of The Food Medic. In our interview, he gave a piece of advice that really resonated with me: if you’re afraid of starting your business, write all your fears down, and then put them aside. So here we go, fear #2 – no one will want what I’m trying to sell.

Isn’t that the age old story of rejection – people won’t like me, I won’t be good enough, or, the worst – I won’t be relevant. What I say and think and do will not matter and no one will care. Ouch – painful ideas and thoughts that we work very hard to suppress, and yet at least at one moment of weakness in our lives, we’ve all felt them.

One of the fun things of starting a business and making a product or service is continuous improvement. The enemy of good is perfection – so don’t wait perfection to get the idea out the door. If you do, that product will never see the light of day. You’ll tweak and tweak and tweak, until someone else beats you to the punch and puts together a similar idea.

And what’s the very worst that can happen? People won’t by what we make, we’ll get feedback, change the product, and try again. Not so bad, right? Or maybe it’s just not reaching the right audience, or a wide enough audience. Or maybe it’s an idea that just needs time in order to b adopted by the market.

I was thinking about this fear all day today, wondering how I’d write this post and put it in perspective. As I rounded the corner toward my apartment this evening, a bunch of little kids ran up to me to drag me to their lemonade / cookie stand. For $0.10 I could get my choice of a cookie or a glass of lemonade, or for $0.20 I could get both. These kids did not have one bit of fear telling me about their business and the cost of the goods they were selling. I envied them.

I walked toward my apartment, happily eating my chocolate chip cookie, and honestly, it was the best cookie I’ve ever had. Entrepreneurship is alive and well among kids, so couldn’t we just model our own behavior after their fearlessness? It’s at least worth a try.