Are You Afraid of Rejection? How to Overcome Rejection in Just 4 Steps

Have you ever been rejected?

In one form or another, most people have faced rejection. Maybe you didn’t get your dream job or perhaps the girl you asked on a date said no. Whatever the case may be, rejection is a part of life.

This might sound cynical, but there’s a silver lining if you keep reading.

When most people face rejection, they give up. One bad experience is usually enough for us to stop working towards whatever we got rejected from. The end result is that people end up staying in their comfort zone, never growing.

Is this how you want to live life?

Of course not. Instead of living in fear, it’s time for you to face rejection head-on. Overcoming rejection will make you mentally stronger and bring you closer to achieving your goals. WARNING: it can be scary and getting turned down is likely to come up again as part of the process. In the end, however, the courage to stand up to your fear will propel you forward in life in ways you could never imagine.

If you want to improve your life for the better, you need to overcome the fear of rejection. Here are 4 tips that will change your mentality and put you on the path towards your dreams.

Figure Out Why

In his first inaugural address, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

This still holds true almost 100 years later. People are so afraid of rejection that they never take the time to think about why they’re afraid. If you don’t try to get to the root of the problem, you’ll never be able to overcome it and you certainly won’t be able to find a solution.

Take some time to think about times when you were rejected. What specifically made you feel bad? Was it embarrassing? Did people judge you? Did you feel stupid or inferior? Write out a list of reasons rejection was a scary experience. Then, follow the same process for things you’ve never done because you’re afraid of getting rejected.

When you’ve put your list together, go through and analyze it. An example might be a guy who asked his crush out on a date only for her to say “no.” Looking back, maybe he could’ve done something differently to fix this, but maybe it just wasn’t the right match. If this fictitious person never asks another person out because he’s afraid of being rejected, he will never find a partner. Which is worse: getting rejected by one of the 3 billion women on the planet or never finding a partner?

It seems ridiculous when put into words, but it’s true. Most people have faced rejection, the worst feeling in the world. But if you think deeper about it, you’ll soon realize that it’s not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.

Thinking about your why will help you overcome rejection.

Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Part of the fear of rejection stems from a lack of confidence and the other part comes from going outside of your comfort zone. But what if we could become accustomed to being uncomfortable to the point where it became normal?

In Tim Ferriss’ book, The Four Hour Workweek, he suggests that we do something called “the Comfort Challenge.” There are several suggestions that he gives to essentially make you feel uncomfortable on a regular basis. The idea is that over time, doing these small things will help you face rejection.

Rather than repeat what he said, it makes sense to examine the idea of discomfort itself more instead. When we feel rejection coming, our mind puts together a narrative of all the things that can go wrong. The first step to being comfortable being uncomfortable is to reject this negative self-talk that comes about.

By ridding yourself of negative inner-dialogue, you will overcome rejection. When you say things like “she’s going to say no” or “I’m not good enough,” what do you think the result is going to be? This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and further pushes you back into your comfort zone where growth doesn’t occur.

Flip the script.

Start with something small, then work your way up. It might start with you telling the barista at Starbucks that she was mistaken about your order. These little things that happen daily are great low risk scenarios to build your confidence. Later in this process, start aiming for bigger things. This could be something like asking for a raise. Rather than going in with a defeatist mindset, try saying “I’m going to get this raise because I provide incredible value” in your head. If you believe it internally, it will manifest externally. It all starts with a certain level of discomfort, but overtime you can change your mindset to normalize these types of things.

Just Do It 

The famous Nike phrase: “Just Do It.”

If you just think about something without taking action, then nothing will ever get done. The only true way to face rejection is going head-to-head with it. What’s the worst thing that could happen, right?

After practicing on minor things first, you will be familiar with rejection on a small scale. With the same fearlessness you exemplified in addressing those things, it’s time to tackle something that you’re truly afraid of. Going into this, there are really only 2 possible outcomes: you get what you want, or you don’t.

Obviously, you will be thrilled if you get what you want. This will boost your confidence in future situations and make you more likely to try again. That’s positive reinforcement 101. In contrast, a truer measure of your ability to overcome something is actually getting rejected. When faced with this outlook, you need to be able to walk away with your head held high. The true test is whether you try again or roll over in defeat.

You’ll never know unless you try.

When You Get Rejected, Make it a Learning Experience

As noted previously, rejection needs to occur in order for you to face your fear.

When this happens, try to take lessons from it and apply them to your next attempt. Think of this as an experiment. If you change one factor, does that work better? What about this instead? Eventually you will get the right combination. When you do, you will become confident and grow greatly as a person. In order to do that, you need to persevere and learn lessons along the way.

If you like fried chicken, you’ve probably heard of KFC. Colonel Sanders, the man behind the magic, was considered a failure at business for much of his life. It wasn’t until he was 66 or so before he finally hit pay dirt. During the years in between, he was rejected over 1,000 times. Had he stopped after those rejections, no one would know his name today. Instead, his name is world-renown and his franchises exist across the globe. Sanders was able to attain success because he took a lesson from each rejection, perfected his craft, and the rest is history.

Rejection is a temporary defeat. You might lose a battle or two, but you can still win the war.

Final Thoughts

All people are programmed to care about what others think. If you can overcome your fear of rejection, you will have a more satisfying and fulfilling life.