Is Fear of Rejection Holding You Back? Learn 10 Surefire Ways To Move On

Is Fear of Rejection Holding You Back? Learn 10 Surefire Ways To Move On

If you are afraid of rejection, join the club. Every person has gone through this since human life came into existence. In ancient tribes, rejection would simply mean death. We all want and need to belong. It starts very young when we want to be accepted at school. As we grow up there is pressure not to be rejected by our peers, in relationships and, of course at work.

How many of us have had to open the dreaded letter or email rejecting our application for that dream job? Have you cried tears of frustration when a publisher has rejected your masterpiece? I can relate to the latter!

But if you let your fear of rejection take over your life, you may well be showing some of the following symptoms. It is a dreadful disease because it means that you will never leave your comfort zone or try anything new. This condition is holding you back. Here are the classic signs:

  • You rarely express your views openly and honestly at work or in relationships.
  • You seldom seek out new opportunities.
  • You make excuses all the time about never having enough, time, money or skills.
  • You tend to whine and complain a lot. You are the one who blames everything and everyone else without ever turning the spotlight on yourself.
  • You are inclined to please people all the time rather than clash with them. You prefer a quiet life.

Now, if you recognize a few or all of these symptoms, read on because I want to list 10 ways you can begin to conquer your fear of rejection and start to move out of your comfort zone.

1. You seize the moment

How many times have you kicked yourself for not taking action, reacting to a girl/guy’s interested look, or not applying for that better job? Lots of times, I imagine. When you find out that you were the ideal candidate or that guy/girl was also interested in you, then you start kicking yourself. Now the fear of rejection is nothing compared to the fear of regret. Nothing worse than going through life regretting all those missed chances. ‘If only… .’ is one of the most toxic viruses to affect the human brain. Seize the moment.

2. You know that rejection is not failure

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” –Thomas Edison


When you see and experience rejection, you begin to go on a downward spiral. You associate it with failure, mistakes, humiliation and depression. But if you learn that this rejection is nothing more than a blip on your radar, then you are on the right road to recovery. You plucked up your courage. The next time, you will not be nearly as scared when bringing up an issue with your manager, or approaching a problem with your partner.

3. You visualize positive outcomes with a critical lens

Lots of controversy about this one because most self-help sites encourage you to think of the positive outcome in your new venture or project. There is little reliable evidence to show that this can really work. Some new research shows that too much positive visualization may actually drain your energy because you feel more relaxed, and you will not reach your goals. There is a fascinating article on this in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

It seems that the best solution may be to look at the outcome from a 360 degree viewpoint so that you can summon up enough energy. You can also prevent tricking the brain into thinking that you have achieved your objective. A more critical visualization process envisages the following:

  • Picture positive outcomes.
  • Assess the obstacles.
  • Reflect on lessons learned from setbacks.
  • Plan the steps and timing to reach the goals.

4. You control your negative thoughts and benefit enormously

Looking at the positive outcome will help to control all the other negative emotions which will haunt us day in and day out. I am thinking here of anger, resentment, humiliation, stress, and guilt.

Do these really affect the way we live and work? Barbara Frederickson, a positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina, has conducted some interesting research on this.

She found that the negative emotions such as fear and anger lead nowhere. But the positive emotions such as gratitude, joy and love helps to broaden your outlook in the following ways:


  • You begin to see new opportunities.
  • You are more open to other options.
  • You are encouraged to build your skills to exploit all these new possibilities.
  • You are able to use your own resources better.

Most of the research in this area shows that positive thinking can really add value to your life.

5. You are not afraid of taking risks

Maybe you think that hiding your failures will be a useful camouflage for your resume?  Think again. According to an article in Business Week, head hunters are now actively seeking those who a have experience of failure and success and who are not afraid to reveal it. The reasoning is simple in that those who are prepared to take risks, learn from failure and move on have gained invaluable experience.

According to some large companies such as Virgin Atlantic and General Electric, great success depends on great risk. Failure is a minor by product.

Analyzing failure means looking at the risks you need to take in future. You may need to discover more about your partner, your customers or your team. Try making a list of mini risks you need to take to assess what is wrong or what can be improved. You may have to approach the problem in a completely different way.

6. You do not take things too personally

You know that setbacks and episodes of rejection are just small incidents along the path of life. You know how to move on and seek out new opportunities which may open up new vistas and opportunities. If you are too introspective, you will never be able to take these brave steps of starting over.

If you watch Downton Abbey, you will remember that the characters who have been rejected do so with grace and dignity. We should try and follow their example.


7.  You know how to cope with fear in a relationship

Maybe your relationship with your loved one is being dominated by fear. There are many fears which can cover loneliness, boredom, failure, helplessness, poverty, or aging. All too often, these fears are never talked about openly but camouflaged. You know you or your partner have problems when remarks like these dominate the conversation:

  • Why can’t you ever be optimistic, for a change?
  • You are always the one who decides how much we spend
  • Oh you are always worried about something
  • You were the one who decided where we should go on holiday

The secret is to talk openly about these fears so each partner is aware of the other’s feelings.

Try to voice your fears in a neutral way. Use ‘we’ rather than ‘you’ or ‘I’. Talk about how you react in certain situations and why you feel like that.  Ask your partner how s/he feels and is there any reason for reacting the way they do. If there are financial worries, work out practical ways of how you both can be thriftier.

8. You are prepared to move out of your comfort zone

“Every time we choose safety, we reinforce fear.”- Cheri Huber

Often, you have to make a decision which will involve moving outside those safe, comfort zones. You may have to say something you feel strongly about at a meeting at work. You may have to work part-time to make ends meet. You may have relocated and will have to make new friends. You may have to learn new skills fast to keep that new job.

Just imagine if you had chosen the safe option in each of those scenarios. Well, you would still be in that boring, dead end job.


9. You have rejected perfection but you aim for excellence

Perfection is never a realistic ambition. You have to adjust your goals, ambitions and skills set to match the task in hand. Always aim for excellence.

You cannot expect perfection because it simply does not exist.  If you read Barry Schwartz’s book ‘The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less’, he cites examples of people at risk of depression and severe stress. They all have one thing is common; they have perfectionist tendencies.

10. You are aware that the real you is not your job or position

Workaholics make the mistake of giving their all to their job. It is a gross error because they are denying that there is a real person underneath who needs to love and cherish their passions, their friends and family. They hide their ethics, values and dreams. The person who copes with rejection knows that there is life beyond work, setbacks, failure and rejection.

Think about the above ten points which will help you get your fear of rejection into perspective. Once you do that, you can really say with conviction ‘And next?’ Nothing can hold you back now!

Featured photo credit: Starry night/ADD via

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Robert Locke

Freelance writer

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.


We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.


2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.


Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.


You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via

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