107: How to Overcome the Fear of Rejection with Jia Jiang

For many years, I suppressed my dream of being a writer. I made every excuse imaginable to stay in my comfort zone. Before I could break through my self-imposed limitations, I had to listen to my life to know exactly what I was fighting.

rsz_nature-fashion-person-womanThe fear of rejection is an enemy I have to regularly stare down and fight. And it’s a common enemy faced by nearly every writer I know.

“What if people don’t like what I have to say?” “What if no one thinks my writing is any good?” “What if someone leaves a scathing review online?” These are common questions that can plague the thoughts of any writer. And if we allow them to, these endless “what if” questions can have the power to imprison us in an open cell of fear.

But hear me when I say this: The fear you feel is normal. What I’ve learned from writers and my own experience is that you never stop feeling fear. You just have to learn how to move on in spite of it.

This week on The Portfolio Life, Jia Jiang and I discuss how intentionally seeking out rejection for 100 days helped him to overcome the fear of rejection. Jia had a dream of becoming an entrepreneur, but he was on the verge of throwing in the towel after being rejected by a potential investor. Thankfully for Jia, the rejection he experienced led him to listen to his life, face the fear of rejection and move forward through the crippling fear he felt in pursuit of his dream.

Listen in as Jia shares stories and the lessons he learned from seeking out rejection. Since rejection comes with the territory of being a writer, I encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity to learn from someone who’s having success overcoming their fears.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below. (If you’re reading this via email or RSS, please click here.)

Show highlights

In this episode, Jia and I discuss:

  • The three things Jia learned from pursuing rejection.
  • One small thing you can do to overcome big fears.
  • What successful people do not do after being rejected.
  • Why we need to push through our personal comfort zones for personal growth.
  • Jia’s decision to no longer (literally) run away from rejection.
  • Why the fear of rejection is all about perspective.
  • How succumbing to the fear of rejection will lead you to miss opportunities.
  • Why rejecting ourselves is the worst kind of rejection.

Quotes and takeaways

  • Rejecting ourselves is the worst kind of rejection.
  • “Avoiding rejection is worse than receiving it.” —Jia Jiang.
  • Taking a small step out of your comfort zone can lead to big strides of courage.


What is one small step you can take today to help move you towards overcoming your fear of rejection? Share in the comments.

5 thoughts on “107: How to Overcome the Fear of Rejection with Jia Jiang

  1. I appreciate your acknowledgment of fear of rejection. Fear of rejection has debilitated me when it comes to writing. It took me years to even consider myself a writer despite the fact that I feel the most authentic whenever I put my pen to paper. I’m not sure if I’m ready to intentionally seek out rejection, but acknowledging the reality of its presence is somewhat liberating. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Jeff,

    Wow, Jia’s story is truly inspirational (and funny!). To be honest, I still struggle with social anxiety as a result of child abuse and neglect, so some rejection could cause a serious break down. It’s probably harder if you have emotional issues, however I’m happy knowing that it’s possible for others to get over their fears.

    Coincidentally, today I plan to start my own social challenge as well, I’ll only be able to do small tasks though. Jia is such a hardcore. We’ll see how it goes.

    Alright, I’ll be checking out Jia’s TED talk and videos from his 100 days challenge.

    Thanks for sharing!


  3. As always, this podcast struck just the right nerve at the right time.

    This episode helped me better process my fear so I can go for it all the way.

    Thanks guys. You’re awesome.

  4. Wow! What an interesting topic and approach to the fear of rejection.
    Not sure that doing it SO intentionally would work with everyone but Jia certainly has something important to say and to share – it is certainly a lesson in how to face our fears head on.
    I love the idea that although the fear of not having our art liked there is not going to be a line of people outside my house telling me that my writing sucks!! Love that imagery!!
    It certainly gives confidence to go for it (albeit in small steps as Jia suggests) – what’s the worst that could happen? 😉
    Great stuff as always Jeff Goins – thank you!!

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