Do you ever want to speak up but decide not to?

The fear of being rejected (by a client, boss, or co-worker) has a strong hold over leaders. Many are afraid to openly share their thoughts out of fear that others might disapprove.

Our aversion to unpleasant experiences prompts behaviors that don’t serve us well:

  • We hold back and don’t contribute as much as we want to.
  • We lack the courage to raise a different point of view, potentially diminishing results.
  • We identify with someone else’s comments, criticism and/or praise, because it’s easier.
  • We withdraw from situations before others have a chance to disregard our opinions.

And what’s worse? You think something is wrong with you for feeling this way in the first place.

The possibility of being rejected influences behavior.

Many wrongly believe their boss or client will reject a proposal or idea before they even present it—so they start feeling defensive, quickly jumping to all the reasons why someone won’t like their ideas. This illusory thinking has absolutely no basis in reality. Before long, this imaginary talk track manifests itself in reality. When they eventually present their thoughts, they aren’t at their best and their ideas come out half-baked. If their opinion is dismissed, the typical response becomes: “I told you so! I just knew it.”

Change the channel in your mind.

Rejection is an illusion. It exists in an untamed mind. When we let our mind run loose, our mind makes up all sorts of nonsense. It will invent wild stories about evil people who have done you wrong. If unmanaged, your thoughts will quickly spiral out of control.

Life has a way of reminding us that we’re human.

Leaders cultivate inner resilience. They acknowledge their experiences and consciously practice not judging those experiences as good or bad. It takes courage to bring awareness to what makes you afraid. As you become more aware of what you’re experiencing inside, you become less intimidated by rejection and more empowered to BECOME the leader you desire.

Here are a few suggestions to get started:

  • Start looking for signs of what is working rather than just signs of what is not.
  • Don’t focus on what you don’t want to feel (upset, discouraged, afraid). Focus instead on who you want to BE (positive, happy, bold).
  • When someone rejects an idea you have, instead of sulking, stand up straight and ask “Do you have any suggestions on what I could do to make this work for you? What changes can I make, if not for you, than for the next person I approach with this?
  • Time travel: Close your eyes and imagine an older, wiser self—someone with a ton of experience. Envision your older self reassuring the younger you (your present self) as you calmly communicate that everything is going to be okay. What would you say?

Constantly seeking reassurance from other people is emotionally exhausting.

Trust yourself. Assurance needs to start with an intimacy that can only be found within you, not from others. This is a gradual process that develops over time. One that requires you to become comfortable being uncomfortable.

Remind yourself that you will not be a perfect fit with everyone. If someone rejects your recommendations, it DOES NOT mean that your idea, product or service isn’t good. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you aren’t good enough either. It just means that they don’t need what you are offering at this time. The NO turns into a YES when the timing and situation is right.

Want help putting fear and doubt into its place? Contact me and I’ll help you discover the power within you is greater than any fear before you.