Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Everyone knows rejection: as a leader can you learn to love it?



Over the past month I have been fundraising, and have observed myself putting forward requests to a variety of people from different industries and backgrounds. The reality of rejection looms over me each time I make a request. Each time I make the request I feel the emotions of anxiety, excitement, and wonder and sometimes fear.

I know that if I want to achieve my goals I have to put myself out there but sometimes I can feel deflated when the ‘no’ keeps coming at me.

My colleague Alicia Curtis must have sensed this and sent me a terrific video on Rejection by Jia Jiang. In the video he talks about how he learnt to fall in love with Rejection. In fact, he undertook to going through 100 days of Rejection Therapy, aiming to make 100 crazy requests to get rejected. His goal was to desensitize himself from the pain of rejection and overcome his fear. 

So after watching the video and reading his website I decided that the best way to move forward was to keep asking, risk being rejected and overcome my fear.  I made the decision to keep observing my own Way of Being prior, during and after a request and to try and understand me and ‘Rejection’.

The following are some observations about my self-social experiment:

  • Rejection is first set up by me in my language that goes on in my own head, my private conversations.
  • These conversations create a mood depending on what story I tell myself and what I choose to accept or oppose about the situation.
  • These moods can be anxiety if I oppose the uncertainty of the outcome of the request or wonder if I accept the uncertainty of the outcome of my request.
  • When I am in a mood of anxiety I notice my stomach churns by shoulders are tight and I am slightly hunched over. When I am in wonder I am excited, my shoulders are back, my head is up and I am open to possibility.   
  • If I don’t make the request, I am the first person who does the first rejection – because I am rejecting myself
  • When I accept that Rejection is just a person saying no to my request I can become more desensitized and I see how the fear of rejection can immobilize me, loving Rejection can mobilize me to act. 

I invite you into your own self-experiment about the possibility of being rejected. What do you observe about yourself before; during and after you make a request? How can you lead and learn to love rejection?   As a leader your requests have the possibility of being rejected, but they equally can be accepted. If you don't ask you won't know and you won't be able to move forward to achieve your goals.

I am going to keep asking...learning and leading.   

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