Being in business means taking risks… but that opens the door to rejection. So how can you cope with rejection and take the risks that ultimately will lead to success? Christine Comaford-Lynch, author of Rules for Renegades, says the answer is to throw a party.
You’re going to be rejected in life, heck it happens to me all the time. And if you haven’t experienced much rejection, I’ll bet you’re not taking many risks. Without taking risks you’ll lead a safe, predictable, and somewhat boring life. So let’s learn how to rock rejection. Read on.
I’ve been rejected zillions of times… such as when I was a 16-year-old runaway in New York City. Of course I hadn’t figured out how I’d make a living before dashing out the door. The only job I’d had was working at a bakery, and pastry-pushing wasn’t going to cover the bills. The only other “skill” I had was what I’d learned in modeling school. After calling numerous agencies, one finally agreed to see me. Within three minutes I’d been dismissed as “too short” and “ugly.” When I heard those words the first thing I thought was “I can get around that.”
And that’s how I’ve dealt with rejection ever since. Could I have been destroyed by the dissing they dished out? Sure. But I had to eat. I had to find a way to make it in Manhattan. So I decided to rock the rejection. And it worked.
Fast forward several decades later, and here I am getting rejected still. So what? When someone says “no” I say “next.” Somebody out there wants what I have–I simply need to find them.
It’s one thing for me to tell you not to take rejection personally; it’s another to pull it off. The key is to desensitize. The first thing I do when rejected is to practice QTIP:
My preferred method of desensitization is to throw a Rejection Party. Yep, you heard it right. Party when you’re rejected and down–it’s the best way to peel yourself up off the floor.
How to Host a Rejection Party: Type A
Gather ten or more people together (more is better). They can be colleagues, friends, members of a networking or Mastermind Group, or even strangers with a desire to learn.
Here are the rules:
1. Each person in the group forms a question for something they want, such as “Will you invest $100,000 in my new company?” or “Will you buy my widget?”
2. Now walk around the room, approaching the other participants one-on-one and asking them your question. They’ll give you a “yes” or “no” answer, and will ask you their question too. You must give a “yes” or “no” answer. See step #3 for the rules on answering.
Keep a silent tally of the number of requests made of you. You can only answer “yes” if the person addressing you is making the ninth request. Say “no” to all others. Once you’ve said “yes”, start counting again and say “no” to the next nine requests. You can say “no” however you want–apologetically, curtly, kindly–it’s up to you. The goal is to simulate real-world rejection in order to become immune to it.
After repeatedly getting rejected, you’ll find it doesn’t hurt so badly. You come to realize that each rejection gets you closer to acceptance. Remember the Rock Rejection Mantra:
Keep asking and eventually you’ll get a “yes”. Thanks to Jack Canfield for teaching me this technique.
How to Host a Rejection Party: Type B
As much as I like Rejection Party Type A, I extended it to this new version, which I find mirrors the world more realistically. The requester must ask for the same thing, but can change his or her pitch, trying on different approaches. For instance, the requester could say “Will you invest $100,000 in my new marketing company?” and the next time he or she could say, “Will you loan $100,000 to my new marketing company at 6% interest and a 10-year payback period?” The requestee is allowed to say “yes” if he or she finds the request compelling enough. He or she doesn’t actually have to follow through (i.e., fork over that $100,000), but must honestly be intrigued by the request.
I can’t tell you how incredibly effective Rejection Parties are–they’ve help hundreds of my friends and colleagues to desensitize, and to no longer be stymied or stumped by rejection. But the best part, of course, is the less you let rejection throw you, the more risks you’ll take. And risks are what rock our lives, help us find more meaning, help us reinvent ourselves, help us make a difference in the world.
So go ahead. Take risks. Get rejected. You know there’ll be a party afterwards!
For more tips and helpful info on rocking rejection, see the Cool Resources section on.
Christine is author of the best selling book (available wherever books are sold). She’s CEO of Mighty Ventures, an innovation accelerator which helps businesses to massively increase sales, product offerings, and company value.