Getting Past Fear of “No”

February 19, 2014 — 1 Comment

I read an interesting post by Jeff Goins today.

As I read, two things hit me:

  1. Out of fear and lack of confidence, people will decide that they will be rejected before they even ask for something.
  2. If you’re not being rejected regularly, you’re not stepping out. If you’re not stepping out, you’re not living up to your potential.

I’ve been doing better at stepping out lately

  • A year ago, I did a 30-day music challenge and put out imperfect songs for all the world to hear.
  • I started a podcast in December 2013.
  • I’ve connected with a lot of new people in the music industry.
  • I’ve been more transparent with people.
  • I contacted people who had no idea who I was, pointed out a need they had, and filled the need.

I still have quite a ways to go, but, I’ve started the ball rolling and I’m gaining confidence in myself.

It’s funny how the things that are uncomfortable, inconvenient, and painful – the things I don’t want to do or go through – are the very things I need to grow.

What hit me between the eyes

Jeff said this in his post:

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.

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.”

Dealing with it

Man. I do that all the time. I just never thought about it that way.

I often give people an “out” when asking about them something because I feel it’s “polite.” And, of course I don’t want to be rude and make demands, but, now I see that a lot of my “humility” and “manners” were, deep down, rooted in fear of getting a “no.”

I often begin to ask for something with “this probably won’t work, but…” or “I know you probably won’t have the time, but…”

So, what should I do?

I’ve decided, rather than “kind-of-sorta” asking for something, expecting a “no” and, if they do say yes, hoping people don’t get “put out” too much, I’m going to invite others to be a part of the cool stuff I’m working on.

You see the difference in the mental attitude?

When I invite someone, it involves getting together to do something that benefits us both. I don’t have to feel afraid that I’m inconveniencing someone. We’re in it together to create something better than we could on our own.

Why should I give in to fear?

I’m going to be confident in what I do and move forward in what I’m passionate about.

It will take practice, but, as long as I’m growing, I’ll succeed.

Who better than you?

You have a gift. You’ve worked hard to sharpen your skills and make it to where you are now.

You may not feel like you have it all together. You may not feel like you’re as good as other people in the industry, but, you have something special. A unique voice no one else has.

Of course you want to constantly develop that voice, practice, read good books, and learn what you can from those further down the road than you.

But, at some point, you have to step out.

“An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Instead of waiting for others to choose you, choose yourself. Get uncomfortable and make something happen.

How are you going to step out?