Having spent my entire career in sales and sales management in the financial services industry I’ve had plenty of experience dealing with rejection.
When I started in the life insurance business in the mid-1970s, my colleagues and I were given many an aphorism by our managers to help us from becoming discouraged when prospects said, “NO” to purchasing our products. Here are just a few that still reside in my subconscious from over the years.
“Babe Ruth had more strikeouts than hits”.
“Sales is a numbers game, every “NO” gets you one step closer to a “YES”.
“The word “NO” just means “NOT NOW”.
“Don’t take rejection personally, the client’s not saying “NO” to you, they are saying “NO” to the product”.
In all honesty, over the years, I’m sure I’ve offered considerable counsel to others using these same phrases, or similar ones.
This is why I was so intrigued by the presentation I heard Jia Jiang give at the Global Leadership Summit last week on his work around helping folks deal with rejection.
Jia is a TED speaker and a best-selling author whose clients include Fortune 500 companies and major universities around the world.
Jia resonates with people because he connects with their common fears. Out of his encounters of dealing personally with rejection have come clear life lessons for the entrepreneur and the professional alike: Rejection - and its darkest shadow, the fear of rejection - can be overcome and even celebrated.
Jia knows first-hand how the fear of rejection can hold us back. Determined to change that, he takes us down a path where rejection, instead of being avoided, is deliberately and actively sought.
Jia asks complete strangers questions like, “Can I borrow $100? Can I speak over your store’s intercom? Can you ship this package to Santa Claus?” The answers are surprising and they teach us something while helping us unleash our potential and become powerful and fearless in our own profession.
I think you’ll find Jia’s 2017 TED Talk “What I Learned from 100 Days of Rejection” (which has been viewed over 3 million times and runs 15 ½ minutes) entertaining and insightful.