I’ve been getting served up a bit of rejection lately. A “No” here and a “Nuh-uh” there…it’s been adding up. They’re in my inbox. On my phone. And sometimes they come in the form of no response at all. My absolute worst kind of no.
In the past, “No’s” have never really bothered me. I actually pride myself on not caring when people say no to me. I’ve had two book proposals passed up, ideas rejected, and competitors chosen over me. All of my experiences + owning my business has definitely helped me develop a thick skin. So I never really care much when people tell me to take a hike.
But this last week, I cared.
It started with my outreach to guests for a conference that I’m hosting this Fall. I need to find eight guests to interview, and three of my picks have already said “no thank you.” The other 5 haven’t responded. For some reason, this really started to bother me. Normally it wouldn’t.
So today I sat down and really thought about why it’s bothering me so much. And, most importantly, what to do about it.
Here’s what I figured out:
1. Is what other people think of me any of my business? NO. I heard Deepak Chopra say this once and today it popped into my head when I was thinking about the responses (or non-responses) I’ve gotten. Do they think my social numbers aren’t good enough? Do they hate my hats? Do they think my site is lame? WHO CARES. Not my business. Moving on.
2. Why is the “NO” really bothering me? I realized that with one particular guest, it had nothing to do with her passing on the conference and had everything to do with the pressure I was feeling to find guests. It made me anxious to start researching more guests that were similar to her. A lot of times, the “No” can cause anxiety for a completely different reason than we think.
3. Do I know the whole story? A lot of “No’s” have nothing to do with me. And it’s pretty vain to assume they do. You never know someone else’s situation. Are they sick? Are they overwhelmed with their workload? Who knows and why would they share the real reason behind their “No” with a total stranger?
4. Was “No” actually the best outcome? Sometimes. Yes. One of the guests that I asked wasn’t even on my initial list – but my contact for the conference really wanted to have her. The potential-guest has a great following, and I really wanted to make my contact happy, so I asked her. When I thought about it more, I felt a little relief she said no. Now, I can find someone that I’m really, really excited about. It will make for a better interview.
5. What about my own “No’s”? I say no to things all the time. When I say no, it usually has nothing to do with the person or their project – it has to do with my own personal shit or workload. See #3.
6. What about all the “YES’s”? Um, hi. What about all the people that have said yes to me? It’s rude to disregard them. Every podcast guest. Every restaurant in my restaurant program. Every client that has moved forward with an idea. The book agent who said yes to working with me in the first place. The first time my now-husband agreed to go on a date with me (thank G he did).
I realized through this exercise that I just really, really want this conference to be successful. And feeling rejected is not so much about being rejected, it’s about wanting to prove that I can make this conference awesome. I feel a little nervous about hosting it and finding great guests. And admitting that I’m not 100% confident about something is way harder for me to accept than a “no” in my inbox. Shit. Now I need to sit down and think about that too.
PS: Shout out to Jeff Garlin for the phrase “big bowl of”. He uses it A LOT on his podcast. And I love it.
How do you feel when you get a big fat No?
If you feel any anxiety or sadness as a result,
try going through this list and dig deep for the answers.
You might not even have to dig deep…the answer might be closer than you think.
Do you have anything that helps you get over rejection?
Share in the comments!