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How to Beat Your Fear of Rejection and Embrace Failures

How to Beat Your Fear of Rejection and Embrace Failures

No one really likes to be rejected, right? Sure, some people deal with it better than others. Like if you’re a sales person and hearing “no” fires you up and gets you excited to find another way to get to “yes.” But those people are rare.

For the vast majority of us, hearing “no” or “you’re not good enough” or anything along those lines can have any affect ranging from mild annoyance to life-altering, catastrophic thoughts.

We all handle it differently. But we would all be better off if we just learned how to beat the fear of rejection and be able to handle whatever life throws our way.

But first, let’s talk about the word “failure.”

What Does Failure Really Mean?

To most people, “failure” is a dirty word. It’s just about the worst word you can be associated with. Because who wants to be labeled a failure, right? Or even have a singe failure in your life?

But let’s get real. ALL of us “fail” from time to time. And l really hate the word failure. It is so negative and implies that there is something wrong with you – or that you did something wrong.

There is nothing inherently wrong with any of us. We’re all different, and we all have our own talents.

So instead of defining failure in terms of shame, look at it as a learning experience.

For example, let’s say you’re divorced. Some people would label that as a “failure.” You know… a “failed” marriage.

Sure, it’s true that the marriage ended in divorce. But why is that automatically a failure? Hopefully you learned something about yourself, marriage, and what to do better next time.

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See? “Failure” can really be a learning experience. And it can make your life better.

Now, let’s look at how you can overcome the fear of rejection, so you don’t see yourself as a “failure.”

How to Beat Your Fear of Rejection

Now that you hopefully realize that “failure” is not a death sentence and can actually be a good thing, let’s look at how you can beat the fear of rejection.

1. Redefine the Meaning of Rejection

Just like we’ve re-defined the meaning of “failure,” we also need to re-define the meaning of “rejection.” Most people think it means you’re “not good enough.” But what does that mean, really? That’s not an objective, truthful statement. Instead, it’s completely subjective.

For example, let’s say you went on a first date and they never called you again. Sure, you could look at it as rejection and that you’re not good enough for them. Or, you could see it as a blessing. Thank God that person didn’t like you, because now it frees you up to find someone who really does. See the difference?

2. Examine Your History with Rejection

We all have a past, and it starts with our childhood. Some people are lucky and are born into loving families who build up your self-esteem and make you feel good about yourself. But not all.

A lot of people are born into families who tear them down and make them feel “not good enough.” And as a result, they probably have a self-fulfilling prophecy going on in their lives.

Whether it’s not getting the jobs they want, or accepting bad behavior from romantic partners, your history with rejection is directly related to how you deal with it.

3. Look at What You’re Doing (Or Not Doing)

Sometimes we do play a part in the rejection. That doesn’t mean we’re a bad person, a loser, or a failure. It just means that we can examine our behavior to see how we can change it so we can be more successful.

For instance, maybe someone broke up with you because you were chasing them and acting needy. Well, you can change that next time! Or you didn’t get a job because your interview skills weren’t up to par. Well, you can change that too!

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See what I’m getting at?

4. Expect the Rejection

This is not what it actually sounds like. I’m not suggesting that you see yourself as a loser who always gets rejected, so you always expect it.

What I really mean is that we usually put too much negative energy into what we fear. In other words, if you envision yourself getting rejected by someone (or something), then you can get “comfortable” with it.

If you “expect it,” then when it happens, you won’t be as devastated. This is tricky to do while keeping a positive attitude, but it can be done.

5. Let Go of the Victim Mentality

“Why me? Why me? Why do bad things always happen to me?” That’s called a victim mentality. It implies that you are powerless in life and that you have no control over what happens to you.

That is totally wrong. Sure, we can’t control everything that happens to us. What we CAN control is how we react to it, how we think about it, what we do with it in the future. That is all within our control.

But if you have a victim mentality, you’ll never be happy.

6. Develop Realistic Expectations

Say if you just graduated college, and you applied for a six-figure job that requires ten years of experience. And you don’t get the job. Ummm. Why would you? Your experience doesn’t match the requirements. So technically, you weren’t rejected. You just had unrealistic expectations.

This goes for anything else in life. Sure, we’d all like to date a super model who is a millionaire, but come on, how many of those do you now? Exactly my point.

7. Look at Life as a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Sometimes we get over-ambitious or impatient with the things we want. We live in a culture of people who want immediate gratification. We want it… and we want it NOW.

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Well, life doesn’t work that way. As the saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait.” Just because you’re getting rejected now, doesn’t mean you will always get rejected. It just means it’s not the right time.

8. Embrace Rejection as Part of Personal Growth

You can get rejected, wallow in your negative feelings and never get over it. Or, you can look at rejection as way to grow as a person.

What did you learn from getting rejected? How can you improve the way you think, or what you do?

If you just let rejection ruin you, and you don’t use the experience to grow as a person, then you are probably doomed to repeat it.

9. Rejection Gets You Closer to What You Want

Just because someone or something didn’t want you doesn’t mean that there isn’t someone or something (or many) that DOES want you!

I look back on my life and realize that everything I got rejected from was leading down a different path, which turned out way better than my original plan.

But the problem is that you can only realize how great the rejection was in retrospect – once you gain some insight when it become the past.

Trust me, it does happen if you have the right attitude.

10. Trust Yourself Enough to Know You’ll Survive

Ironically, sometimes being rejected isn’t the REAL fear. That sounds strange, right?

The REAL fear is not being able to cope with the rejection. You think that your world will fall apart, and you will crumble as a person.

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But think about it. If you get rejected, how is your life any different than it was yesterday? It’s NOT! And you survived yesterday just fine, right? It’s just that your expectations were violated. You survived before, and so you can survive this too!

11. Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

There is a great song by Garth Brooks that I absolutely love, Standing Outside the Fire. If you’ve never heard it, some of the lyrics go like this:

“Life is not tired, it is merely survived if you’re standing outside the fire.”

He’s talking about the fire of life. Not everything in life feels good. We all have challenges. But if you choose not to put yourself “out there” because you fear rejection, then you miss out on all the good stuff too.

If you don’t try something out of fear of rejection, then you’re not really living. You’re just surviving.

Final Thoughts

As I hope you can see by now, rejection is all in the mind. You can’t feel rejected unless you allow yourself to feel rejected. Sounds crazy, but it’s true!

So, don’t take rejection or so-called “failure” personally. We’ve all been there. And the difference between people who are resilient to it and keep going and those who don’t, is a simply difference in perspective.

Featured photo credit: Casey Callahan via unsplash.com

More by this author

Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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Last Updated on December 3, 2020

15 Strategies for an Effective To-Do List

15 Strategies for an Effective To-Do List

One of the age-old productivity techniques around is the classic and effective to do list, and for good reason. It’s one of the most productive ways for you and everyone else to get anything done. Whether it’s a mental list or something that you are writing down, a to do list is an essential productivity tool.

At the same time, it is one of the most confusing productivity tools around. Many people discredit this for various reasons and don’t believe that a to do list is any good. But my argument is that maybe you and other people aren’t making an effective to do list, so here we will go over how to get one done right.

Why Bother With an Effective To-Do List?

You’ve Been Using Them Wrong

Before jumping into strategies to make an effective to do list, it’s worth knowing why you should bother making one. The first important point is that many people have been making to do lists all wrong.

Two of the most common mistakes are:

  • People use lists as a measurement of whether they are productive or not.
  • They put too many items on the list.

It’s understandable why you or other people do this, though. A to do list is a productivity tool, so it makes sense to pile on tasks. However, the brain doesn’t work that way. If you have a lot of tasks on your list, it feels like torture as the list never ends.

At first, it can feel nice that you always have something to do, but keep in mind that you only have so much time in a day. It’s important that you place more value in quality work rather than sheer quantity.

On that same note, if you are someone who has a tendency to seek validation, a to do list can be tough. There will be days where you won’t get everything done due to life events. This creates unnecessary pressure and sends you into a stress whirlwind.

It Helps You Stay Focused

When you build an effective to-do list, the main goal of these lists is to provide clarity and focus. If you’ve been doing them wrong, you may have noticed that you are focusing in on a task on your to do list and getting it done.

This may be overshadowed by the multiple items on your list, but you are focusing on a task during a given time. You really see this in action when you consider having a shorter to do list, though.

I understand that a to do list isn’t for every single person, but this focus is helpful to people when starting out. You’re still not certain about your goals or the path that you want to take. You may also struggle to determine the next step to work towards.

A to do list is a guide you can refer back to it whenever you need it. Furthermore, the techniques that I’ll be mentioning below will make to do lists more effective for you.

15 Strategies for an Effective To Do List

You’ll begin to see how powerful a to do list is when you consider the various strategies you can incorporate in one. This is your to do list, so pick from the strategies below to find what suits you. If you’re not certain, don’t be afraid to experiment and mishmash several combinations.

Remember that the road to success is one with many branching paths, so the methods you use are your choice.

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1. Break the List Into Two Parts

The first strategy is to break a list into two parts. These two parts are called dailies and to do’s.

Dailies are the everyday tasks that you want to develop more. For example, if you want to make a habit out of exercising in the morning, a daily task could be following a 15-minute workout routine or going for an hour-long walk.

Your to do’s are non-daily tasks that you need to be getting done at some point. Maybe you need to prepare a report at work or make a presentation. You can put that into your to do column.

This is an effective strategy because it saves all the clutter that most people gravitate towards. As mentioned before, people stuff their lists, and a lot of it is usually tasks they you would do anyway, like going grocery shopping or dropping the kids off at a friend’s place.

2. Put a Limit on Items

If you find breaking your list into two parts too much, I’ll suggest brevity to be a virtue when making these lists. You can set any number of items, but the key is that you do have a set limit in mind. Some people have no more than seven while others go as low as three. Do what makes you feel comfortable.

The idea behind this is to narrow in on the most important tasks that you need to accomplish that day. Of course, there are other things that you’ll be doing during the day, and that’s fine, but you want to prioritize the items that on your to do list before the day is done.

3. Use Checklists for Complex Tasks

If you’re already making narrow lists but are putting in tougher tasks, my suggestion is to break that task down. Whether it’s full-on steps you need to take or jotting down important details that need to be present is up to you.

Either way, this allows you to ensure that you’re getting everything done the proper way and that you’re not missing any key details or steps.

4. Tackle MITs First

MIT is the “most important task.” Another way to look at this is to tackle the largest and most intimidating task first[1]. Why you want to do this goes back to how our brain works.

You may feel compelled to do the easier tasks first before getting to the bigger task, but the problem is that these tasks—even the easy ones—drain your energy. Furthermore, if you have a really big task to complete, chances are that’s going to be on your mind over the course of the day. That means you’re spending more energy just thinking about it.

All of that wouldn’t be a problem if that big intimidating task was dealt with first thing in the morning.

5. Create a “Done” List

Another interesting approach to consider is to have a “done” list. This is a list of the tasks that you’ve completed from your to do list. Many people find it satisfying to merely cross an item off their list and be done with it, but depending on what you’re putting on those lists, a done list could be inspiring.

Imagine if you are someone who places above-average difficult tasks on your to do lists, activities that require an hour or two to complete properly. This can inspire you to do more if, after a day of working, you notice just how much you accomplished over the course of the day via this list.

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6. Make Your List Easy to Spot

From colorful paper to posting it in an obvious spot, you want your list to be in a place where you can spot it easily. Mind you, you don’t need to have this list in front of you all the time as it could create unnecessary stress. But setting it to one side is a nice idea—a glance to the side and you know exactly what needs to get done.

7. Add Gaming Elements to It

If pen and paper isn’t your thing when making to do lists, there are several apps that can guide you along as well. The beauty of to do list apps is that there is more room for creativity, and some of the developers incorporate games into them.

For example, Todoist has an achievement system where individuals earn badges as they complete more tasks. There’s also Bounty Tasker, which makes you feel like your tasks are side quests in a video game.

8. Give Yourself Deadlines

Work expands to fill time allotted.

It’s an old philosophy that still rings true with how we are productive. For example, say you’re assigned to write a report, and you’re given a week to do it. You’ll likely work on it steadily throughout the week. Or if you’re a procrastinator, you’ll put it off until the night before and finish it.

But what if you’re given that same task and only allotted an hour to complete it? You’ll likely get the report done, but you’ll prioritize the main, important points and highlight those rather than fill it with unnecessary fluff.

The whole point of this is that with your goals and the items on your to do list, you want to have deadlines. When it comes to to do lists, my suggestion is to give yourself a day to complete the tasks there. This is enough pressure and incentive for you to work hard on them.

9. Add Tasks When They’re Fresh

Another strategy is to assign yourself tasks even when you are working on something else. Keep in mind it’s not something you have to do right now, but this can help with people who are struggling to think about what to focus on next.

This is along the same lines as when you hear something interesting and you write it down. It’s a wise thing to do as it saves you the bother of having to dwell on that idea rather than focusing on the task at hand. It also saves you from having to recall what the task is if you’re the type to write up the next day’s to do list at the end of the day.

10. Be Comfortable With Revising Your To-Do List

Depending on your overall mindset, another good strategy is to look at your to do list and make changes to it. If you’re practicing the previous strategy, there may be a possibility that your to do list is getting lengthy and you’re setting unrealistic expectations that you can finish it all.

By giving yourself the opportunity to revise your to do list, your allowing yourself to spread out your tasks rather than have them clumped up. This helps your mindset as you’re not overwhelmed by the list.

11. Write Tasks, Not Goals

You should have separate lists for your tasks and your goals. The idea is to not put goals on your task list at all.

While tasks can help you lead to your goals, goals are larger desires and not something that you can achieve over the course of the day. For example, “learn to speak French” is a goal; however, you can break that into a task by saying “read French content for 15 minutes” or “watch a movie in French.”

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This also extends to objectives, too. You can see these as milestones. Going back to the example of speaking French, an objective can be, “discuss my favorite foods with someone in French.” It’s the desired outcome that you’re looking for from your practice.

12. Keep To Do Lists Brief

Here, brief means scannable in that you can quickly look over at the list and know what needs to get done. How you can do this is by focusing on the keywords of specific tasks and not dragging them out. For example, say your garage is a mess and you want to clean it up. Instead of writing a lengthy sentence, keep it short and write something like “clean garage for 30 min.” or simply “clean garage.”

With this strategy, you’re spending less time writing the task down when making the to do list. Furthermore, you’re relying on trigger words to get your mind to recall specific details for that task.

13. Have Multiple Lists

As mentioned above, it’s a good idea to have separate lists for various things, like having a separate list for goals, objectives, daily tasks, and to do’s. Another way you can look at it is to have a system where you are consulting from three lists.

These lists are:

A Master List

This is where any of your long-term goals are, things like moving to a new house, getting out of debt, or building a business. These are things that will take a year or more to accomplish.

A Weekly Project List

These are things that you want to accomplish by the end of the week. These are things that will move the needle slowly towards some of the items on your master list. From the previous example, these could be doing research on getting a business loan, house hunting, or setting up a savings account.

A High-Impact List

Lastly, these are tasks that need to be accomplished today. Whether they are related to the previous two lists or not doesn’t matter. This is where high priority tasks are placed. Examples can be calling specific people or working on a project or a report that’s due soon.

By having these lists in place, you’ll be referring often to the weekly project list and the high-impact list and determining whether a weekly task should be moved to that list.

As you do that, you’ll begin to notice how much your daily life has an impact on those goals that are written on that master list. That can be inspiring since what you are doing is actively bringing you closer to your goals.

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14. Don’t Ramp up Difficulty Until You’re Ready

Some of the strategies mentioned can seem easy on the surface, but they require a lot of mental fortitude. Motivation is an unusual thing, and our brains are wired to process a certain way. If you’re looking for genuine change and something that sticks, the best principle is to keep things simple and easy at first.

It may be a drag, but you don’t often realize how those baby steps can play a crucial role in you being able to start running and chasing your dreams. Don’t be ashamed if you have to start off with simple tasks for yourself. Even going back to daily tasks that you do anyway like showering, doing the laundry or shopping for food is a good way to start.

Putting those items on the list at first makes you feel like you’ve had a productive day. From there, you can challenge yourself with more difficult tasks. Incorporate an exercise routine or spend a half-hour on a task that means something to you.

The idea is to ease yourself into a routine so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

15. Measure Your Time

The last strategy that can help you is to measure your time. How long does it take you to finish a specific task? You don’t need to go for specifics, but make a point of timing yourself over the course of a week and get the average time spent on that task.

Why is this important? This information can be broken down in two ways.

The first way is to use it as a marker to boost efficiency. Depending on the task, you can find new ways to achieve the same results in a shorter time.

It also allows you to know what you can do in a given day. If you know that it takes you an hour or so to go through your entire morning routine, you’ll be more conscious about how you move through that routine.

Furthermore, if you know what tasks you’ll be doing the next day, you can better manage your time since you know roughly how much time it’ll take to get everything done.

Final Thoughts

Building an effective to do list is not as easy as it seems. There are all kinds of unique strategies to try out, some more challenging that others. However, if you are motivated to use this productivity tool to make your life easier, then it will get easier. All that you need to do is keep putting effort and experiment and reevaluate when necessary. So get started with your to do lists today.

More Tips on Using an Effective To Do List

Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews Digital Content Production via unsplash.com

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