We are the change

How to love rejection, failure and selling!!

Whatever the English dictionary might desribe as the literal meaning for a word, we all have our own meanings and associations that we apply to particular words and phrases. And when you are running a business there are some key words that more often than not trigger a negative reaction or emotion – words like rejection, failure, selling and possibly even success.

At the end of the day they are just words which are quite powerless by themselves and it’s actually the meaning that we give to them that gives them their power. What if we were to use our creative powers to reframe these ‘negative’ words and give them a meaning that empowers and motivates us instead?

Until a few years ago I used to see asking for help as weakness and it would always be my last resort. Then a friend of mine told me that the Masai Warriors see asking for help as a strength and a sign of courage not a weakness. As I have a high value for courage this really helped me to reframe my belief and association around asking for help and to embrace it rather than shy away from it.

Even supposedly positive words like success can have a negative association for some and it  might associated with the aggressive world of climbing the corporate ladder, putting work above all else, or achieving our goals at any cost. Success means different things for each of us and the key is to define precisely what it means for you in each area of your life. You will know you have achieved this when you can talk about success and feel excited and motivated rather than a little warning signal that says eek, I’m not quite sure about this!

But what about the obvious and very common ‘fear of failure’? What does it mean to actually fail? Some people might say that if you’re not failing often then you must be in a coma! Failure is a critical part of our learning and discovery process and we often learn most when things don’t go exactly to plan or even disastrously wrong! What if we were to define failure as the perfect opportunity for learning and growth? Perhaps even the ideal opportunity to ask for help and connect with supportive and inspirational people. Or even the opportunity to succeed! What’s your definition of failure?

If you haven’t worked in sales before then this particular part of running your business can be pretty scary and a big learning curve and the fear of rejection can really hold you back. Shed Simove in his book Ideas Man, spent years pitching his ideas and products to potential suppliers and he says “when your ideas are knocked it’s not really a personal slight, even though it may be natural to view it as one …. There are a million reasons, both rational and irrational why someone might reject your idea and those are rarely related to the fact that you came up with it or pitched it”.

For me when I don’t win a particular client or piece of business, I take one or more of the following approaches:

  • What can I learn from the experience and what could I do differently or better next time?
  • Great, I now have space to attract an even better client!
  • This client is obviously not a perfect match for me and I can put my energy to attracting my ideal clients.

How can you deal positively with rejection?

If you have attached a negative meaning to words or phrases that are holding you back in your business or in your life, try reframing their meaning to something that motivates and inspires you rather than something that brings you down.

About Jenny

Jenny is passionate about giving small business owners the confidence and knowledge to market their businesses with courage, flair and creativity. As both a business coach and marketer, Jenny loves helping people to do the things they previously thought were too complex, scary or totally out of their comfort zones. www.bigstrides4business.co.uk

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  1. Nicky Kriel says

    Great article Jenny. We gain confidence by stretching ourselves. Our fears stop us from living up to our true potential. Successful people still have fears, but they don’t let the fears stop them! It is not the fallling down that matters, but how many times we are get up!

  2. Melanie Mackie says

    This is a great post and I like the reminder that we determine our own “failure”. The three different approaches are something I am going to remind myself when things don’t quite go according to plan, I have had a client who just stopped using my company for no obvious reason, and I did ask the question why.

    Sometimes it is good to take a step back and realise that it may not necessarily have anything directly to do with you at the time and as you say, when your space is suddenly free, time for another client!

  3. Jenny Littlejohn says

    Hi Nicky and Melanie

    Many thanks for your comments and glad you enjoyed the article.

    It’s always interesting to understand the meaning that we have attached to certain words and how much they can hold us back. I’m sure there are more I haven’t uncovered yet!

    Warmest regards