The Very Best Way to Get Rejected Every Time

I’ve been on a confidence kick lately. From my experience as a freelancer, I’ve learned that it takes more than good content to become a published writer. You have to learn how to stand up to rejection.

Get Rejected
Photo credit: Justin Taylor (Creative Commons)

When it comes to writing, you need a few things (other than talent) to succeed:

  • You need relationships.
  • You need connections.
  • You need to learn how to pitch.

When you’re getting started (at anything, really), you’re scared. You’re insecure. You don’t want to come off as some kind of arrogant jerk.

So what do you do? You say “no” for other people.

And this is absolutely the best way to get rejected.

Whether you’re applying for a job or asking someone out, you begin by assuming the answer is “no.” You lower your expectations. So that if the person does happen to say “yes” (which you know they won’t), you’re elated.

This is stupid and cowardly. But for some reason, we do it all the time. We shoot ourselves down before someone else can.

We call it humility. But really, it’s fear.

Fear makes us sabotage ourselves

We’re afraid of getting “shut down,” so we do it to ourselves. We do it so that someone else doesn’t have to. We begin with an apology or a you-don’t-have-to-clause. We say “no” long before we have to hear it.

That way, when the person does reject us, it’s no great disappointment. We were expecting it, after all. This is ludicrous, of course, but somehow we think we’re doing the person a favor by giving them an “out.”

Recently, I’ve received a number of requests for guest posts or getting together for coffee. Most have begun with a “You’re probably too busy” or “I know this won’t happen” statement.

I know why they’re doing this. They’re trying to take the pressure off, make it seem casual, like they don’t have too much vested in how I respond.

But I have to tell you: Such self-deprecation only makes me want to reject them even more.

I used to do this all the time, for no reason except that I was just plain “chicken.” But when I really started making big, audacious asks without apology or self-rejection, something strange happened. People said yes. 

And I realized I didn’t need to say “no” for other people. That was their job.

A radical idea that could change everything

What if you did something crazy? What if you stopped asking and started inviting?

Imagine if you believed that about your work, that you actually saw it as an amazing opportunity you were letting someone else in on. What would that change for you?

And if you can’t think of your “ask” in terms of opportunities that people wouldn’t want to miss, then maybe you need to focus on doing more remarkable work.

If your work is less than amazing, you should be scared to ask.

But don’t let that stop you. Use the fear to make the art better, to make the work worth noticing. Whatever you do, stop rejecting yourself before others can, believe in the work you’re called to do, and invite others to join you.

What’s the worst that could happen?

They could say, “no.” That’s it. That’s as bad as it gets. Sounds a lot scarier in your head, doesn’t it? And it’s really not that bad of a word, once you get used to it: no.

I hear it every day. In fact, I got rejected last night after pitching a website on an idea they initially liked but decided not to use. After two weeks of radio silence, they shot me down.

You know what I did?

First, I felt sorry for myself and started whining to other writers, looking for affirmation. But do you know what that did? Nothing.

It didn’t make me feel better, didn’t change my situation. It only reinforced my own sense of inadequacy. So I decided to do something constructive: to rewrite that piece.

I used rejection as fuel and got back to work.

Rejections are reminders

In facing all kinds of failure, I’ve learned an important lesson, one that’s made me grateful for the rejection I still experience every day:

If you’re not getting rejected, you’re not in the game.

If you aren’t failing, you’re not trying. If aren’t getting turned down, you’re not asking. And if you aren’t risking, you’re not living.

Time and time again, we read that success comes from failure. Yet, in our own lives, we avoid it like the plague. We play it safe, never risking too much. And our souls shrivel in the shadow of mediocrity.

If we’re going to stay in the game, here’s what we need to do:

  1. Stop avoiding failure.
  2. Stop fearing rejection. (Better yet, face your fears and don’t let them dictate how you live your life.)
  3. Put yourself out there every day.

Yes, you will get rejected. You will be turned down, shut down, or even fired. But every time, you will get stronger and better.

So remember that these rejections are reminders that what you’re doing is worth something. And that should be reason enough to keep going.

Do you say “no” for other people or reject yourself before they can? Share in the comments.

178 thoughts on “The Very Best Way to Get Rejected Every Time

  1. So well said and I am glad someone is saying it.

    I get the usually, well I blog but it is not that great. Or I have a design but it is really not that good. 
    That self-deprecating type of attitude automatically gives me a notion of who you are and the confidence or lack there of that you have. 

    I told a guy the other day who had “Wannabe sound engineer” I read that an was so confused. mainly because he is going to college to be a sound engineer. He has been in school for three years and gets paid regularly to do gigs. He is a sound engineer. But in hopes of being “humble” (that is a whole other post) he put “wannabe” in front of it. Well that then puts him on the same level as me, I am a wannabe sound engineer. 

    Confidence under control is huge and inviting people along into something is a great way to deal with the word no but also keep moving forward. 

    1. Thanks, Kyle. It’s become tragically common, this half-hearted selling of ourselves. Who wants to follow someone who doesn’t believe in himself? I get that we’re all works-in-progress, but I don’t think we’re going to get any more confident by calling ourselves “wannabes” and “amateurs.” To recall a recent Pressfield quote, “you’re a pro when you say you are.” I like that. We’re all waiting to arrive; why not just start acting as if we’re living in the destination?

  2. my! this is a “jump-out-of-the-plane-NOW-not-later” msgu! its hit a nerve. unraveling some stuff. challenging others.
    its a scary bridgr to cross but im going to do it, slow and steady if i must. “hello, fear….”

  3. I love the idea of reframing things in terms of invitations instead of requests. I just finished a month-long experiment on asking for things, and I still didn’t fully pick up on this. Just goes to show, trial and err don’t compare to a simple word of wisdom.

  4. Jeff, I am inviting you to send me a check for $500.00.

    Please do this, I will not reject it.

    Seriously, I like the approach Thomas Edison took.  When someone asked him about all of his failures to invent the light bulb, he simply said, “What failures?  I just discovered a thousand ways you can’t make a light bulb.”

    The man rarely took no for an answer and his life work proves it as we are enjoying it still today.

  5. To preemptively say no on behalf of someone we want a yes from is to set ourselves up as a higher authority.  I see this as not only presumptuous, but just plain silly.  Really?  We’re going to decide that we know better than the expert we are consulting?

    And yet, silly as it is once in plain English, it’s still very hard to overcome that initial urge to shut ourselves down.  Good reminder to check ourselves and our language!

  6. “If you’re not getting rejected, you’re not really in the game.”That’s why I did an exercise all about making sure to take rejection as no big deal. It’s better to give it a try and get burned than sit around doing nothing. Rejection gives experience[s]. Then that experiences helps you get success in the future (through improving the work and asking yourself why they said no.)Great post.

  7. Actually, I’ve been surprised by my own courage!

    I’ve written to numerous companies asking for simple review/giveaway items and I have not gotten one “no”.

    I did receive a couple “no’s” for sponsorships to a blog conference. I dealt with it and moved on. 🙂

    I agree with what you said about “our souls shriveling in the shadow of mediocrity” because we allow fear to cripple us.

    The last thing I want to be is mediocre.

  8. I love that you are pushing people to believe in their work. I need to hear this, it really speaks to me.
    The fear of rejection can be paralysing and a message that can’t get up and get out has no power.

    Right on. Thx.

  9. Fantastic post, Jeff. I think we all fear rejection on some level–it’s only natural–but when we let that fear stop us from even trying, we are, in essence, rejecting ourselves. 

    It wasn’t until recently that I stopped saying “no” for other people and started taking a chance. You’re absolutely right–worst case scenario they say “no” and you move on. Not that bad, after all. 

  10. Great! I was looking for such confirmation..a strong ego will face the risk positively and if turned down then will walk away with the information but smiling for the renewed lesson to keep living! Failure is not weakness if you gave it your best and try on self-confidence.

  11. Thanx, Jeff. I don’t know if I fear being rejected by someone else, or by my self. I sometimes feel like I don’t even deserve to succeed. No matter what I do, it will inevitably fail because that’s what I do best…fail. Fail to reach for my dreams. Fail to even get the fuse lit so that the rocket can take off. So, thanx for this post. Perhaps, I can convince myself not to fear my own failures.

  12. You’re right. Bravely asking makes all the difference. It also respects the other person more because you’re letting them fully decide and not “helping.” I apply this well in some areas but not so much in others. I suspect that consistency will bring confidence.

  13. How many new requests for guest posts have you received since writing this one?

    They probably start out with something like:

    “I have a great article for you, Jeff. It’s about how writing can become a personal strength and help us to understand ourselves and others better. When will you be able to run the post? 🙂

    But yes, being assertive, not aggressive, and confident, not cocky, are great qualities for anyone trying to get published. I used to do job interviews just to practice these skills.

  14. I really like the idea behind this post, and I agree that going into any situation expecting the worst is not the way to build a career (or to live in general). I’d be very interested to see how you word requests without coming off as arrogant or disrespectful of the other person’s time. Another post idea?

    1. Great idea, Leanne. The short of it is I prefer to let others ask on my behalf. I try to help people so that I don’t have to promote myself too much — my friends and fans do that for me.

  15. Yes, keep soldiering. I say “avanti” at each rejection, go for the next one, sword in the sky. But I agree you need connections. And write a blog that cannot be “rejected” and where readers compliment you, such as yours. John at

  16. I think a lot has to do with how much you’ve gotten rejected. If this is the only time, big deal, right? But, if in your life there has been a string of rejection, I think it would be a bigger deal, even if you tried hiding it.

    1. You’re probably right. But I also think that first big rejection can feel a little devastating. There’s something freeing about realizing how rejection won’t destroy you. I think a little success relieves the sting of rejection. I get rejected more than I doubt, but I also have learned that one success undoes the wounds of 99 failures. The irony is that in order to succeed we have to go through a lot of rejection. Which ain’t so easy on my fragile soul. But given the alternative (not sharing my work with the world), I can’t not try.

  17. Wow! Such a great post Jeff! NO NO NO!!! Your article reminds me of how I felt when I was figuring out what was my “Enneagram” number (when you “hit” it, you know it cuz it hits you like a lead ball)….so so so guilty of taking over and trying to control how someone else responds by laying out the red carpet for the NO. The anticipation kills me! Will be thinking about this for awhile. Thanks….I think!

  18. Jeff, awesome…no I mean AWESOME post! In the Noticer and The Noticer Returns (by Andy Andrews) he talks a lot about PERSPECTIVE….which is what you offered SPOT ON in this post……got me thinking a lot…thanks…BRuce

  19. “If you’re not getting rejected, you’re not in the game.” Absolutely LOVE this! It’s the same with being a disciple of Christ. If Satan isn’t bothering you, you’re not a threat to him.”

  20. I still do this, and it’s all down to my confidence, or lack of. The problem comes from having little faith in my own skills, knowledge and ideas. I’m not afraid of rejection, just being laughed at.

    1. Me too. But isn’t that just a form of people not accepting you, not affirming you? That’s what I think when people laugh or make fun or just don’t take me seriously. It’s just another form of shame, which can be so deflating.

  21. It’s so true, Jeff!

    Following advice from Tim Ferriss, I am making a habit of writing down the 3-5 things that cause me the most anxiety or fear first thing in the morning… And then I tackle one! It’s amazing and refreshing to go into your fear and realize it’s not as bad as you build it up to be!

    Thanks for this great post.

    1. I also like Tim’s advice in the 4HWW where he encourages readers to go out and ask out the opposite sex, trying to get a date with a perfect stranger. Sometimes, it’s fun to be rejected when you don’t take yourself so seriously.

      1. Yes! I loved that challenge but chickened out. I’m afraid my girlfriend would find it pretty unacceptable. I need to come up with another method of challenging myself to take on rejection. I guess everyday would would suffice.

  22. <> Love this, Jeff. Brilliant post. Thanks for the wise words. I actually need to pass this quote on to a special person who needs to hear them this very day. Question, too. I coordinate the professional blog for The Word Guild (Canada) – wondering if I can post this and call you our ‘guest blogger’ for today? Well worth reading. I will connect writer’s with your blog, too. Let me know. Thanks.

      1. Perfect! Thanks, Jeff. I’ll post the excerpt and link on our closed Facebook page, then. Blessings and thanks for encouraging writers of every ilk!

  23. I believe I’ve done that more times than I can remember. But these days I’m feeling better when I get rejected. I try to break down what I did and what they did and what happened and see what I can learn from this situation. I try not to dwell. It happens every now and then when it creeps back on me but I just don’t give it more than a minute. It’s a lesson, I’ve learned from it, I’ve done better, move on.

    Saying ‘no’ for the customers do happen every now and then … it happens but most times I’d catch myself and recover quite quickly and move on. 🙂

  24. It never fails to surprise me how synchronicity works in ones life. I hadn’t read your blog for a few weeks but decided to today. I was just having a pity party over the lack of readers on my blog and this post was well timed to give me the proverbial kick in the pants that I need. Consider your good deed for the day done!

    1. At least you have readers. I have none and I am perfectly fine with it. I don’t need other people’s approval of my work. If they want to read it l, good. If they don’t, oh well.

  25. So very true Jeff! Thanks for sharing this ~ I’ve done this more often than I can count ;( But the good news is that I’ve been putting myself out there anyway even after rejection and facing my fears…! Thanks for another great post, Jeff 🙂

  26. This is one of my favorite posts you’ve done Jeff. When I look back at my time doing Dream Launch I did this all the time…but when I came in with confidence, people couldn’t say no. Fear of rejection can be so powerful, but overcoming it opens up so many possibilities.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  27. Excellent Jeff. You have a great way of simplifying obstacles and making them attainable. Keep on doing what you’re doing. I’ve been blogging for about a year now and it’s been a great learning experience. This just adds to the journey.

  28. You just touched on EXACTLY what I’ve been telling myself after my dream agent left publishing this fall before selling my novel….”FAILURE ISN’T FAILURE, UNLESS YOU QUIT. KEEP WRITING!”

  29. Perfect timing. I have an audition next week and I’ve been sulking around making sure people who found out about it knew that I knew that I didn’t have a chance.To avoid looking cocky/arrogant/whatever. Which is only guaranteeing that I don’t get the job. I have one week to admit to myself how very much I want this and get my head on straight.

  30. Great post Jeff! My greatest platforms have come from me reaching out. Though I have been rejected I have also been given great opportunity like entrepreneur on Fire a major podcast. Thanks for the encouragement to put myself out there even more!

  31. I’ve been talking myself in and out of writing for a very long time. This post is a wonderful encourgament. Thank you.

  32. I needed this today. I’m just on the verge of “getting myself out there”, and this post was the push I needed at the door of the airplane. Taking a deep breath and jumping…!

  33. Great post. Especially love the idea of learning from our rejection. Makes us stronger and better. Let’s jump in with both feet…. geronimo!!!

  34. Thanks for this Jeff. I appreciate your candid sharing about your own struggles over the years before and after you found your following. Your statement “If your work is less than amazing you should be scared to ask” is sobering. “Amazing” comes only with hard work and perseverance. It is hard work to keep our confidence up as we work through our amateurism and find our sweet spot. This is why failure is the key to success – it is through our failed attempts that we learn what works and what doesn’t.

      1. I have so much trouble with comments. I wish I knew how to do that, Jeff. I have played around with it. I am not sure if it is blogger or me. ha ha

  35. Yes, it does you good, if you could accept rejection with resignation! But resignation is something quite different from dejection which is abhorrent. I infer you mean it, eh?

    1. I think I understand. Maybe. 😉

      Resignation to me means giving up, throwing in the towel. It’s an act of the person rejected, a choice. And no, I don’t think it’s good.

      But rejection is not a choice. We can’t control whether or not we get rejected. What we can do is decide whether or not we quit.

      That was my intended message.

      1. Thanks for sharing your personal story and how you overcame the fear of rejection. It’s very inspiring. Fortunately, with social media, blogs, podcasts, and self-published books, we can tell our stories without fear of rejection.

      2. Giving up is not resignation, it is dejection that induces giving up. Calm acceptance of a situation that cannot be changed is resignation And in that sense it is good, I think, when faced with rejection that can’t be helped. By the way, how you lost sight of my word DEJECTION, I wonder!

  36. I love your honesty in this post. I would like to add to this that social programming really makes fear of failure hard to view experiences as they should be, which are amazing learning experiences where we can grow and become better individuals.

    Our entire society is currently set up for us to validate ourselves through others and NOT where it should be, which is to rely on that quiet resolute place within ourselves that will guide and direct us in anything in life.

    Learning to overcome these chronic social programming thoughts is hard but when we do, the fear of failure, and looking for others to validate us slowly ebbs away. We learn
    to find peace from using our own hearts, minds, and souls to direct ourselves. Then ultimately our self-confidence shines because we become grounded in our true selves.

  37. So, true. I help newbie freelance writers get started writing online. I’ve had many of them say “I’m so afraid to bid on my first project.” They’re usually afraid of two things – this fear of rejection and also the fear of getting the project and having to work with a client the first time. Fear can be a very big roadblock.

    1. It really can. But once you run over the roadblock a few dozen times, you realize it can’t stop you. Sure, it makes for a bumpy road, but the only thing that prevents you from getting to your destination is the person behind the wheel. 🙂

  38. I hear what you are saying. I’m guilty of the same thing. I’ve been working harder on that one. I’ve been reading “I Declare…” by Joel Osteen. The daily declarations are helping me to ask for the more and fear less. It’s a process. I also started reading “Dare to Dream” by Mike Slaughter. I hope to learn more about how my Dreams and goals will help better not only me and my co-author but to help better the world around me. I’m going to take your suggestions and add it to that goal and learn to invite others. Thank you and may God continue to bless you and yours.

  39. Thank you!! I hate writing cover letters more than I hate learning I did not get the job. Clearly I am rejecting myself every step of the way and fighting back with every sentence, like an exhausting boxing match where your opponent is battering you with jabs … but for as long as I fear, I am that opponent. How exhausting! Helpful perspective. Thank you for making the time to share this.

  40. Great post. I have noticed that even if I am comfortable asking in one sphere in my life, it is still hard when I’m pursuing something new. Maybe not as hard as it would have been before, but still… Thanks for the encouragement.

  41. Right-On, Jeff Goins! (the entirety of this post.)

    Don’t really want to hang with the sincere self-deprecator either. Energy, excitement, passion, risk, confidence in the line of “rejection fire”… I can hang with that individual.
    Funny ole world, ain’t it? Positive, confident people want to be around other positive confident people? Who knew?

    I am, and others are encouraged and furthered by your work… so keep it up!

  42. I tried to stay away but I have to share this most unconventional “book-signing” this weekend that I’ll be a part of with my homeless friends (fear almost kept me at bay) at Church under the Bridge.
    Let me take you back. My friend was murdered by a serial killer in California in 1981. I moved away in 1982 to another state. To the big state of Texas.
    Years later, I learned of the Phantom Killer (don’t stop reading, this is important to the rejection/confidence part) in my part of East Texas and a spark inside, an idea, and now two years of research, with the outline, the story boarding, the editor, the reading again and again, and the release of the novel has come full circle — it all came about as I decided to dedicate my journey to my friend, Manuela who had died …way too early. During that time, her husband became a suspect, even became homeless … and thankfully, later was cleared by DNA. His life was ruined during the investigation. He felt rejected by friends and family. It was an awful time for him. My heart broke for him.
    So I’m holding my very own (for the Lord, too) book-signing where at least 50 homeless friends will get a copy of the book “Untied Shoelace.” A novel for the outcast. For anyone who feels rejected or alone. This story is about a hobo girl who crosses the path of the Phantom Killer in 1946, where death lurks, where the sound of a rail car rolls into town. Fear, worry, and family have lost their meaning for this little hobo girl and she stumbles into chapters that only make her stronger.
    When we are rejected, we have can get up. Or leave. If we win, it’s easy. But if we get a lesser response from others, this can also be a challenge to do better. To tie the shoelace of hope around our lives and dust ourselves off.
    I wrote all of this to say … I love the homeless, love them dearly, and want them all to know Jesus came for them, for any outcast, for anyone. And just like my friend who met a killer late one night. I have faced my fears by taking one step at a time in my writing (30 years), by doing articles, by writing for one newspaper for 14 years, now with another the last two, by learning, trusting, and writing when no one stood there to say “go for it.” I’ve tucked myself away late at nights and early in the mornings … to write … I love the scripture, “I can do all things through Jesus Christ …” It’s the “through Him” part that motivates me.
    I also get up early to go to church under a bridge to love on the homeless on Saturdays and then … on Sunday mornings I hold a church service for ladies in rehab.
    I only get today … what will I do with the time I’m given? I must write. I must share just how much God loves me … and you. I do this for my lost friends and new friends. I do this for the Lord … He compels me. And He won’t reject me. Nor you.

  43. Timely post 🙂 It’s funny, I’ve been trying to explain this concept to my 5 year old, who is scared of making mistakes….. rejection and failure are OK. We focus so much on WINNING and being THE BEST, that we forget it’s through rejection and failure that we learn.

  44. I was just thinking of this today, Jeff. I’ve been sitting on my email incentive for months. Not adding it to my site because I’m too fearful of rejection. I’ve done the same with several guest post ideas and other platform and ministry possibilities. Silly, really. What do I have to lose? Thanks for a much-needed kick in the pants.

  45. Thank you, Jeff! These words are all I needed to hear.
    I’m a 19-year old political science student and it is my aim to work in political journalism one day (I’m very passionate about it). I’ve already done a lot of freelance work, but every now and then, I find myself having doubts about the future. However, this article made me realize that in order to strive for success, I’ll have to accept failure too. Doing that will certainly not be easy for me since I am a true perfectionist, but I’m confident that this insight will get me closer to my dream.

  46. This is awesome Jeff! I really admire your honesty and raw ability to articulate such emotional depth. You say what so many people think yet are unwilling (or unable) to write. Bless you friend! Warmly, Christy 🙂

  47. Excellent post. I have had fear of rejection that has stopped me from doing so many things in my life. As creative people, we feel as though the rejection of our work is reflected on us as human beings because we are so connected with our art. I also feel that a lot of it is also a fear of success. If someone were to say “yes”, then we would have to deliver on someone’s high expectations. We are so guided by our fears, and by our slump of complacency. It’s time to throw caution to the wind.

  48. More and more I appreciate anyone and everyone who shares genuine encouragement. It is not having our insecurities affirmed so that we feel consoled, but in having someone else remind us that we are more than we think we are. This is true support and unfortunately too few of us understand this. So, I want to add my own ‘thanks’ to the list. Thank you, Jeff for offering us true support.

  49. I can prove how right you are about good things coming your way when you forget your fears.
    I’m a fantasy author, you know, one of those dreamers who’s been writing since they were a kid but never really committing by submitting. Until last year. Last year I started submitting and got two acceptances. But more than that, here in Australia we have a series of prominent awards for speculative fiction called the Aurealis Awards. I entered my published work for consideration of the awards and one of them is now a finalist. Top five, wooo!
    Sometimes you have to step up, take a chance. If you don’t put yourself out there then who will?

  50. Thank you for this! After a recent rejection followed by a few horrible rehearsals, I have started doubting again… But then I remember how excited several readers have been & get excited about my novel again. I remember how thrilled I am to share the drama I am doing this weekend & even if I fall on my face (which might happen literally as I walk down the stairs to walk through the audience) I know God has given me a message of hope that others must hear. I can only do my best. I better keep working 😉 praying for you!

  51. I do this to myself ALL THE TIME. In fact, sometimes I even take it a step further, and don’t even allow myself to admit that I want something, because I know I’ll have to say no so that someone ELSE can’t say no. Oh, the tangled web we weave inside our own heads. But this post could not come at a more perfect time, as I’ve declared this the year of fearlessness! Time to start saying yes to me.

  52. Hi Jeff; What a great article. Easily your best work since I started following you. You are right its not enough to ask, you have to put yourself out there with faith in your product service abilities and make them say no. And if you get turned down, you can definitely use it to move forward. One of my favorite new terms is failing forward. Basically it means no matter what you do you aren’t going to do it perfectly so just be sure to embrace your mistakes and failures and use them to move forward toward your ultimate goal. On the back of my business card is a saying that comes from lessons my dad taught me. It says never be afraid to ask because if you don’t ask they can’t say yes. Thanks again for the post and take care, Max

  53. I’m a tad uncomfortable in my seat, but this is perhaps my favorite post of yours I’ve read. It’s like a shot to the heart … in a good way. 🙂

  54. Hi Mr. Goins. Wow. You’ve hit the mark. I have always been a negative thinker, but I have been training myself to be more positive. I’m currently contemplating on moving onto something I love to pursue but am afraid of because of uncertainty. Thanks for this article. God bless!

  55. Awesome article. I just launched my first product. I believe in it, and I believe in the lives it will change. I was so passionate talking to my audience about it (but not overbearing) that I did 22 sales in 1 hour. First product ever! This article empowers me to sell and do more. Thank you, Jeff. By the way, if you’re interested in my product, head over to (Shameless plug!) You’ve taught us well…:)

  56. I’m learning not to say no for others. Just yesterday, after debating for several days, I asked a client to pay more for a project that turned out to be a lot more work than I’d bargained for. The client agreed that I’d “gone above and beyond the call of duty,” thanked me for bringing it up and offered to pay a nice additional chunk of change. You are right. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

  57. My favor part is ” Whatever you do, stop rejecting yourself before others can, believe in the work you’re called to do, and invite others to join you”.
    Really great blog!!

  58. Great post Jeff! I felt some inspiration welling up for completing a few unfinished projects. I think what you were talking about was active in my mind. I’ll be looking to cultivate rejection as an antidote to this entrenched habit now that it has been exposed. Cheers!

  59. I especially liked how you said, “Imagine if you believed that about your work, that you actually saw it as an amazing opportunity you were letting someone else in on. What would that change for you?” Thanks for a great post.

  60. Boy do I know about fear of rejection. When I decided my first novel was ready to publish, I was immediately overwhelmed trying to find a publisher. I was afraid if I received too many rejections, I would give up, so I took the self-pub route. I’m glad I did because I have gotten many good reviews, which boosted my confidence, not to mention I learned a lot. Now I can take poor reviews without freaking as I know not everyone is going to like my (now) two novels. Rejection is part of the game.

  61. Wow. Way to cut right to the chase Jeff! This is most definitely a problem a struggle with a lot.. thank you for the reminder that it’s the other person’s job to say no. My job is simply to create something awesome and then ask if others they would like to be a part of it!

  62. Heck to the yes! Not only do I say no for other people but completely come up with the back story too of why they said no and what they’re thinking is behind even that. It’s prevented me from talking to a lot of people I might have wanted to have a conversation with.

  63. I love how you are honest about your challenges & the way you relate to the fear based mentality. Yet you help the reader feel that “it’s ok” to be rejected. What matters is the we keep pressing forward and gain more confidence each time! Love your newsletters.

  64. Fielding rejections is just part of the process. Initially it can be devastating. It can throw you off your game, suggest you lack talent, or drive, or a basic command of the language. But none of that is true. Rejection just means one person didn’t see a good fit for that piece on that day. Another editor might like it. Or maybe the rejection forces you to re-read your work, see what the editor didn’t care for, which leads you to fixing it.

    My most recent rejection came a couple weeks ago. It was perfunctory. Just a simple, “Nope, can’t use this. It’s not right for us.” When that happens, and it will, take the initiative. Write the editor back and ask for insight into what they found to be lacking. More often than not, they’ll tell you. At least that’s been my experience.

    An editor who has the power to print and pay for your work is a far more practical writing teacher than any professor you had at college. They’re way better than that favorite teacher in high school who got you writing in the first place. Persevere, because perseverance pays off. But learn along the way too. There’s no point in making the same mistake twice, or more.

  65. So, if you’re ever in Orlando, Fl- I would love to meet up for coffee. 🙂
    Looking forward to your reply!

  66. I recently had a conversation with a long-time client who told me “Matt, when you were first pitching me your services, I knew right away I could talk you down from the price because you were so unconfident” – What a valuable lesson for me now!

    We have to be willing to pitch with confidence, whether it works out or not, because you’ll spend the entire project upset if you feel like you were accepted for less than you are. The ironic part of the lesson, as Jeff said, is that I REJECTED MYSELF, way before the client ever could.

  67. I completely agree about all you said about being confident in your work and have experienced that time and again in my own business… but on the flip side of that, what I am experiencing from the younger generation is not the “you probably don’t have time for me” but instead “you definitely have time for me and you need to do what I want/give me what I’m asking.” I have been put off by emails from kids in high school who want help with their projects, and with little to no explanation about who they are, exactly what they’re doing and how much they would appreciate my help, they send lists of questions for me to answer with the expectation that I’ll just jump right on it, no problem. I even had one recent person – a complete stranger – who actually asked if I could call her on a Sunday afternoon simply because she “had some questions she wanted to ask me.” There is such thing as too much expectation too!

    1. This is a great point Courtney. How do you think you balance asking with confidence and asking too much? Where’s the middle ground?

  68. You know what’s weird? I recently wrote a piece of narrative nonfiction and it got picked up pretty quickly. Anyway, I had to send a bio and photo to the editor for publication. Here’s what’s weird…for some reason (perhaps the topic of your post has something to do with it) I did not include my blog address. Why did I do that? I mean, the blog looks good, new, but good. I felt confident about the piece going out into the big, wide world, yet lacked confidence in the blog. Hmmmmm.

  69. I think we’ve been breathing the same air–I wrote a piece the other week titled “3 Reasons I Hope You Fail.” Looking at failure as proof you’re in the game has changed my approach to life and business.

    I love the Churchill quote, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

  70. Thank you for this! Lately I have been inviting some pretty big (in my estimation) crazy things! I have overcome major rejection in other areas in my life–throughout my life–so sometimes I hear that little inside voice that says “who do you think you are…some arrogance you have!” but you have really reiterated to me that experience is not arrogance, it is confidence in the fact that I am not going to let it dictate how I live my life.

    Thanks for the freebies and all the great advice! I appreciate it.

  71. My biggest “rejection generator” is simple avoidance. I just don’t reach out like I should. However, I’ve been submitting more lately and my blog is going, so I think this is an improvement.

  72. I needed a little of this kind of advice this morning (well… almost afternoon here in Alaska). Thanks.

  73. It is insane how much me hinder ourselves from the fear of hearing the word no. Thanks for opening our eyes Jeff.

  74. Thanks for this. My husband and I just finished talking about this last night. I don’t know what it is going to take for me to stop with the “pick me” syndrome but I am determined to do something different.

  75. Coffee and this post have supercharged and encouraged me to reach out to a few people today to share my ideas. Would you be able to give a few examples of “inviting” vs. “asking”?

  76. The more “out of my league” I perceive the person to be (in other words, the bigger the ask), the more I apologize along the way. I can so relate to this post. Thank you, Jeff.

  77. This post has certainly provided food for thought. It’s hard not to fear rejection. We all want to be liked, at least most of us do, but as you’ve suggested Jeff we need to get over it if we ever want to succeed. Not an easy thing to do, but i think your post has convinced me to be a little more bold in going after success. Thanks for the inspiration!

  78. Thank you for this post and thank you for reading everyone’s comments. It certainly is nice to get something off my chest, a bit selfish as it may seem. It’s hard when you see a good thing that you can certainly grow into and become good at it and benefit others and yourself from it … and it’s right there within your grasp but yet so far … Sorry for the depressing note. I’m sure everything shall resolve by tomorrow and we’ll see how it goes from there …

  79. Hi Jeff, I used to do this–apologize for everything–until the “sorry” statement echoed back at me from someone else. Women are notorious for doing this, and it truly made me nauseous. From that moment forward, I vowed to ask for what I wanted–not apologize. People are usually very gracious–even if they do say no.

    1. You’re right, Penelope. I’m learning the same thing. It’s just better and more fun to come out and say what you mean. Makes you be more clear about what you actually want.

    2. This was different from other things I’ve read. You are dead on. I agree with Penelope. Women ARE notorious for this. I am. I love your reframing of the idea of rejection as a catalyst for change. Thank you.

  80. I felt like this blog post was intended for me. This statement stood out, “stop rejecting yourself before others can.” I thank you for helping me to understand my flaws and I love your creative energy. Stay blessed.

  81. I’ve always let fear of rejection and not writing well keep me from pursuing and sharing something I love. This site I’ve run across on this snow driven and ice driven March day has inspired me!

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