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3 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Rejection

BIPOC women holding her hand up.

Lina Salama

by Lina Salama

4th-Year Student in Accounting (Former Career Centre Ambassador)

J.K. Rowling was rejected 12 times before she got published. Today, her net worth from the Harry Potter series exceeds $1 billion. Most people often face a great deal of rejection before they succeed. However, overcoming the fear of rejection will open up many opportunities both in your career and personal life.

Here are 3 ways to overcome the fear of rejection:

1. Seek out rejection

Inspired by the TED Talk What I learned from 100 days of rejection, by Jia Jiang, this first tip will help you desensitize yourself to the pain of rejection. In his experiment, Jia sought rejection for 100 days through absurd requests. These included asking to borrow $100 from a stranger and requesting a “burger refill” from a fast-food place. He got rejected almost every time.

By building this kind of resilience, you will discover that rejection is not a big deal. It will seem difficult at first, but eventually the negative emotions will begin to fade away. Rather than reacting with fear to any situation that involves a potential rejection, your mind will react positively.

2. Perform a cost-benefit analysis

Weigh the costs of getting rejected against the benefits of succeeding. How? Well, imagine you want to ask a manager for a coffee chat. If you get rejected, you might feel disheartened and discouraged. However, if the manager agrees, then you might build a valuable connection which could lead in turn to a potential job opportunity at your dream company. This cost-benefit analysis is extremely valuable for overcoming the fear of rejection.

J.K. Rowling allegedly said, “I had nothing to lose, and sometimes that makes you brave enough to try.” Had she not weighed the costs and benefits of trying to get published, she would not have had her best‑seller novels. Thinking in this way will help you realize that the fear of rejection is not worth giving up on your potential future opportunities.

3. Think about your past

Remember situations where you got rejected, but ultimately, it was for the best. I have experienced these many times throughout my life. I have been rejected more times than I can count, and I’m not afraid to admit it. Every time I got rejected, an even better opportunity arose. Although I was sad and upset at first, I understood later that it was a blessing in disguise.

Career paths are often not a straight path to success. Overcoming the fear of rejection is incredibly important as it will open up many opportunities for you throughout your career and personal life. Challenge yourself to get rejected today!