One Simple Question for Overcoming Fear

June 24, 2015
overcoming fear

I was listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast the other week and this episode, The Art of Rejection with Jia Jiang, really caught my attention.

Jia Jiang decided to face his fear of rejection head on by putting himself in 100 situations where the outcome was almost certain to be “no.” He asked people ridiculous things, like to give him $100, to play soccer in a stranger’s backyard and for a “burger refill.” You’d be surprised at how many people actually said yes, though.

So it made me think about my own fear.

I handle fear in a similar fashion to how I handle anxiety. I try looking at the facts of the situation.
Included in that is asking myself, “what’s the worst that could happen?”

worst that could happen quote image

I’m afraid of heights, and that’s not one I can easily work through.
Worst case scenario? I fall to my death.
Semi-bad scenario? I break a limb.

So there aren’t a lot of points I can argue there. I’m clumsy and uncoordinated. I move quickly. The odds are stacked against me, so my fear is at least somewhat grounded. Whether that justification makes sense to anyone but me, I’m not sure haha.

But what about the fear of launching my business?
Worst case scenario? It fails. I have to start over or go back into the corporate world.
Semi-bad scenario? It’s not very successful or not fulfilling.

Both of those situations suck, sure. But both fall under “It sucks, but…”
It sucks, but you’ll learn what doesn’t work. (The only true way for finding out what does)
It sucks, but you’ll grow as a person. I promise.
It sucks, but how impressive would that look on a resume that you had the ambition to start a business?

A specific fear a lot of us face is the fear of rejection, like mentioned in the podcast above.

When you ask the question, you’ll get a yes or no answer and can move on accordingly.

If you don’t ask, you’re automatically choosing “no” for yourself.

So, is the discomfort of rejection really worse than not knowing and choosing no for yourself?

There’s that well known quote, “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.”

I also like this quote from Jeff Bazos, founder and CEO of Amazon: “I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.”

jeff bazos quote

When I worked in the corporate world, I was lucky to learn this lesson from an understanding boss. My boyfriend at the time had been contracting 3 hours away for 6 months and had decided to take a full-time position at the company. So that left me with deciding to move where he was with no job, or take another job that was more flexible than what I currently had.

My ideal situation would have been to keep my current job, but work from Florida, where we’d be moving. I didn’t think there was any chance of that happening, so I put in my notice and accepted a different position. I chose ‘no’ for myself without even trying.

Thankfully I had a boss who valued my work, so he pulled me into his office and asked what options we had. We were able to talk it out, and in the end, came up with a compromise that allowed us to keep working together.

Although I wasn’t the one to face the fear of rejection, it taught me that I should have. I knew the outcome I wanted, so I should have at least tried. I got lucky in this situation, but how many other situations had I passed up?

And not only is there a chance for a “yes,” but like in this situation, there’s a big chance for a compromise.


In the Comments:

Have you been in a similar situation? Did you face your fear and ask for what you wanted, or choose no for yourself?




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  • Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment June 24, 2015 at 7:03 am

    Same here. I always ask myself what is the worst that can truly happen? 9 out of 10 times it’ hardly the worst thing in the world.

    • Dzeigler June 24, 2015 at 8:23 am

      Exactly! Usually my answer is a negative emotion, so it’s like “Okay, being disappointed isn’t the best feeling, but it’s not going to kill me. It’s really not a big deal.”

  • Erin @ Erin's Inside Job June 24, 2015 at 7:18 am

    I always want to be able to say I’ve tried things. A lot of times it’s that “no” that holds me back, but then I realize that it’s only a word and I’d be much sadder if I had never tried at all.

  • Adele June 24, 2015 at 8:54 am

    I love the idea of asking ourselves “what’s the worst that could happen?” when our fears are holding us back.

    So often we let fear be the dominating voice in our lives which simply silences us while bringing us to a standstill.

    Time to start challenging our fear(s) and taking back control. Thank you for the reminder!

  • Amy Maricle June 25, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    I love asking myself this question! In fact, that’s exactly what I did before starting my business. I gave myself permission to succeed OR to fail. So far it’s working out just fine! I really appreciate the reminder to keep believing in myself and releasing fears.



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