How I learned to love rejection

RadReads - How I learned to love rejection

My stomach felt nauseous.

My temples were throbbing. Sweat beads were forming.

“I can’t believe I’m going to do this,” I muttered to myself.

I handed the cashier my two items. A half gallon of milk and a bar of dark chocolate.

“That’ll be nine dollars and thirty-three cents,” he said politely – completely unaware of what was to come next.

I paused. Took a deep breath and asked:

“Could I get a 10% discount?”

And looked intently into his eyes.

Perplexed, he gave me a dismissive laugh. Followed by a pitying chuckle. Then a WTF is wrong with you stare.

Then, I sheepishly tapped my Apple Pay and jetted out of the store.

A people pleaser who hates rejection

I hate rejection.

I’m a people-pleaser. A social butterfly. A momma’s boy.

And as I explored in the post Is Your Bucket Leaky, this behavior has consequences.

If someone even insinuates that I’m not a good person – it hurts.

When a troll mocks me online – I want them to know I’m a good Internet citizen.

When Lisa and I fight – I want her to know that I’m a good husband.

When I disappoint my mom – I want her to know that I’m a good son.

So, as a result – I actively avoid rejection.

And that has consequences.

Not in my house

Avoiding rejection has made it hard for me to sell as an entrepreneur.

Yes, it feels slime-y and snake-oil-y.

I mean, let’s be honest. Who wants to be on the other end of a Dikembe Mutombo finger wag.

And guess what happens when you’re scared of selling?

YOU DON’T SELL!!!! (And you end up sucking at business.)

But like a good high-achiever, I’m willing to change.

I’m willing to put in the reps.

That’s when I discovered the book Million Dollar Weekend by serial entrepreneur (and podcast guest) Noah Kagan. He explains how this fear holds us back:

The illusion of eventual pain that you associate with taking that risk – what if you’re judged or look foolish or it doesn’t work? – is a straightjacket on your potential. Removing the jacket – stepping forward into the uncertainty with the first ASK – is the game-changing skill that starts your multimillion dollar business and redesigns your life.

The ASK is how you sell your product.

It’s how you pitch yourself to investors.

And it’s how you get that first date 😉

But in order to build that muscle, you need to practice getting rejected.

The coffee challenge

And to practice getting rejected, you need to…well…get rejected.


Which is where my “Can I get a 10% off discount?” comes in.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Any time you go to a store, you ask for a 10% discount
  2. The cashier will look at you dismissively.
  3. You don’t flinch (or in the beginner version, you say, “I’m doing this as part of a class on learning how to sell.”)
  4. You leave

Now Kagan knows you’re going to come up with excuses to not do this.

You’ll say things like, “That’s just too basic.”

Or, “I’m going to have to see that person again!”

Or “I don’t want to put the barista in that awkward position.”

And that’s the point. You’ll talk yourself out of it.

(And you will continue to fear rejection.)

And let me tell you, once I got over the awkwardness – a sense of aliveness coursed through my veins.

In fact, I’ve now done it 3 times – and aiming for 10.

Maybe it’s not a coincidence that January’s been our most profitable month in history.

I’m just saying…

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