3 Secrets To Overcoming Fear Of Rejection

And Finding Clarity of Purpose Along the Way

Battle Of Wills

He declared 'No, and I hope you never call me again' ....and here comes the flood:

Unhealthy self-talk? Fear of rejection? Self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy? Acute self-consciousness? Heart racing, dilated pupils, and sweat? Nerves and fidgeting? Cloudy thinking, impaired judgement? Resentment? Anger?

Rejection stings, and it weakens the will. Do you notice your feelings when you experience rejection?

As for this occasion, it wasn't meant to be not today. He told me 'never call me again,' and all I could do was giggle and continue on.

Clarity Of Purpose

I volunteered to help make phone calls to raise money for my community. Every penny given helps another person in need also share in the benefits in the community that I live in. Not just any community, my community where I grew up, where I raise my family, where I stay active still today. We all share in the benefits our community provides.

And fundraising's no secret. Some pomp and circumstance, some fanfare, lots of marketing. The calls are a'comin and the asks will follow. Yes, it's a cold call but a warm lead because hey, we all live and share in our community together. I don't assume you should know all the wonderful things that happen in our community because of your gift, so my greeting tees it up nicely so you find out.

Note: This is not a story about making donations or planned giving . Although, please do contribute to the organizations and causes that are meaningful to you with money, time, or moral support. The cold call context is symbolic of any moment, experience, relationship or interaction for any of us. The story is just my vehicle. Read on....

We celebrate first time donors, increases, and anyone who donates. I have your donor history there with me so I know this stuff; it's a well run operation.

Let's be clear, cold calling isn't my bag. I don't practice, and you can expect awkward conversations, lots of excuses, and lies. Your call is typically the most inconvenient thing imaginable in that moment, and people let you know it. You seek out those leads of people with a significant donor history because the probability of securing a commitment increases. Yes's feel good. No's can hurt because after all, rejection is rejection.

Suck it up buttercup, time to make the next call.

The training is quick and the job simple. You dial. There's an answer. Introduce yourself. You got one. 

Okay, remember the name and grab the script. Lean in and be authentic. You have purpose. The need is real.

Moment Of Truth

'No, and I hope you never call me again.'

Despite my super informative and kind greeting, worthy purpose, and the need by so many, he shamed me.

How curious?

There are many ways people say no, and each rejection is a special rendition for you to bare. Tensions are high. Sometimes you share the experience with your table buddy, laugh it off. Sometimes it's a pleasant form of rejection, kind and gentle. Regardless, getting rejected still stings and there are many no's to bear.

How would you have reacted? Does shame affect you? Do you hurt when you feel rejected?

What do you think I did?

On this day, his shaming and abrupt dismissal were met with my resolve and uncompromising purpose.

I did not react. Disciplined imagination inhibits reacting. Hours of study and learning, mindfulness and presence, aligning beliefs and behaviors, congruence of thoughts and actions, intentional belief building- I've conditioned myself to respond intelligently, not react emotionally.

I didn't react, I responded.

My response was a giggle, grabbed the next number and to continue on. I won the battle of wills, but didn't get a donation, obviously.

Fear Of Rejection

Millions of years ago, the only thing that could reject us was our tribal family and the implication was exile, isolation, and death. We were incentivized to commune, hunt, and nurture as communities together. We feared isolation as it was a death sentence.

The instinct hasn't evolved much, though thankfully the physical risks of saber tooth tigers and hunting parties are more or less gone. Still our egos aren't built to withstand much rejection. Physical rejection, emotional rejection, ideological rejection. Rejection in communities, groups and cliques, or more intimate ways. All forms of rejection represent metaphorical isolation and emotional distress.

To compensate for this insecurity, we build comfort enabling routines and habits to insulate our egos from rejection, pain and suffering. Insulation around our egos is like a cocoon of safety, whether real or perceived. It's a shield we wield at anyone who threatens our rituals and comforts. Penetrate the insulation, and risk penetrating to the heart of our vulnerable egos!

We insulate ourselves from the suffering by harnessing limiting beliefs, inflating our fears, forming defense mechanisms, deflecting; we covet and envy how others fit in so we mimic, we avoid and accommodate, and we end up deceiving ourselves.  We can form entire relationships that are crutches for our insecurity. Even the most unhealthy habits, when practiced reliably, bring us comfort and security. That's problematic.

Insert example of your own unhealthy vice or coping activities here.

Building a cocoon instead of examining your intrinsic beliefs is a trade off. Ignore your intrinsic drivers long enough and lose your independence i.e., keeping a distance from the risk of rejection creates dependance for extrinsic forces. 

When we disconnect with what is intrinsically unique in each of us, then we lose identity...


Resilience is the idea of rebounding quickly from variability or change in our environment, or exposure of our vulnerability.  Resilience is the opposite of external crutches. There's a need for resilience when we face fears, insecurity and uncertainty, pain and rejection, or when confronted with someone who makes themselves feel good by making others feel bad.  Sometimes we must  be resilient when overwhelmed with joy, adoration, success.

What are the purposeful, meaningful parts of your identity?  Resilient people look within, align and connect with the empowering parts of their identity, and reenergize. 

Some guy tried to make me feel awful, shamed me by telling me never to call him again and hanging up on me, but instead of being damaged goods I rebounded. How?

Scroll on Thrive, Twitter, LinkedIn daily and learn about emotional intelligence and emotional resilience, of building beliefs and casting a vision. Becoming self-aware of your qualities and strengths. Practicing mindfulness and temperance. Seeking growth and fulfillment, tolerance and dialogue in the face of uncertainty and change. Surrounding yourself with can-doers instead of naysayers.

Build your lifestyle around these meaningful ideas, and you can begin attracting more purposeful experiences. Gain purposeful experience and condition your behavior with intentionality. Do this long enough consistently and fortify your identity and presence.

The probability of suffering is lessened when you've clarified the visions, values and beliefs that are key motivators in your life. Risk of rejection, fear of exposing your vulnerability, using insulating crutches diminish when your motivation comes from within. Resilience to the best parts of what's inside you is the best insurance from being damaged by shame from external influences.

Your will is a muscle and you exercise it every day. Build healthy muscle. 

3 Keys To Overcoming Fear Of Rejection

Failure, loss, rejection, defeat, suffering are all inherent in life. Our worth is a measure of our resilient nature. We cannot eliminate the threat of rejection in our lives, but here are 3 simple (but not easy) activities to tame our fear of rejection. That's secret number one:

  1. Cultivate healthy, meaningful, intentional Purpose to empower your identity. When your thoughts and ideas align with behaviors and actions, the congruence is purposeful and fulfilling. The distinction between a crutch and purpose is: purpose is reenergizing while crutches provide temporary relief from discomfort!
  2. Your identity is built and powered by beliefs. Fear of rejection is a belief. Build an environment and relationships that attract clarity around who you are, what you value, what you can accomplish, then you will insulate yourself with empowering beliefs. Clarity around empowering beliefs is the resilience you seek over fear and rejection.
  3. Knowledge and learning, growth and change are absolute and essential in our lives. Life will throw curveballs, but that is what we mean by growth and change. There's too much wisdom from the past and present to get hung up on negative vibes and bad experiences. But we know bad stuff will happen and when it does, the catalyst is how aware you are of your own emotional condition. You can't be resilient if you aren't self-aware. Resilience too long after the fact doesn't prevent the damage from stress and suffering. Develop emotional self-mastery.

Every day is a new adventure with lots of bumps and bruises, and rejection still stings.

Psychology, Stress, Self-Care, Emotions, Mindfulness, Anxiety

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