I was drawn to this book because I am currently working on negotiations with health insurance companies when advocating for members’ mental health services. I was curious to see if this book had any wisdom to offer in terms of helping them get what they need. The author records his personal journey of overcoming the fear of rejection in order to have the courage to create and accomplish. Readers may need to overcome their own fears of rejection so that they can be assertive at home, at work, or in their social lives.
I always love reading about people’s individual journeys of growth. Jiang discusses how he always wanted to pursue entrepreneurship and was too afraid of criticism to do so. He worked on getting used to rejection to help himself cope with others’ opinions and pursue his own dreams. Jiang both guides readers on handling rejection better and also offers practical ways of making your requests more effective.
Rejection is a powerful emotion that most of us work to avoid. However, the fear of rejection can hold us back from taking any action at all; it can be easier to avoid taking action than putting ourselves out there for the possibility of rejection.
At the same time, rejection can be an important source for growth and creation: Rejection may help you refine and improve your product or mission based on feedback from others. Rejection may help you become mentally stronger to face other challenges on your journey. Rejection may provide fuel to push yourself harder to accomplish. I used to let rejections get to me, but I have been getting better at taking them impersonally and just pushing myself to keep going.
“Contrary to popular belief, courage – the ability to do something that’s frightening, such as asking for what you need or want, or do the right thing amid rejection and disapproval – is not born, but gained. It’s like a muscle. You need to keep exercising it to keep it strong. Rejection attempts continue to exercise the courage muscle, keep me mentally strong, and keep confidence flowing.”
Furthermore, Jiang discovered that he could turn rejections around. When getting rejected it’s easy to get flustered and embarrassed and want to run away. However, when you practice and get more used to it you can stay calm, open, and ready to continue engaging with the other. You can keep yourself calm by remembering the positive side of rejection and the growth it may bring you. You can also remember that rejection is part of being human and it may have nothing to do with you and more to do with the individual asked. You may have the opportunity to ask why you got a no or get some valuable feedback. Additionally, following up with a smaller, second request will often produce a positive response.
I related to Jiang discussing how easily he was blindsided by rejection and the difficulty he had recovering enough to ask a follow-up question. I noticed myself hesitating to ask questions in the past, worrying that I will look stupid, or that it will be looked at as an inappropriate question. I have gotten better in recent months, due to practice, but it is still hard. When talking to insurance representatives, when they would say no to my request I would just say okay and hang up. Later, I would be able to think of further questions and call back to get a further understanding to pursue my request. Now, I am better able to not be blindsided by the no; I know that I will likely get a no so I am prepared – and more comfortable and confident in asking more. Occasionally, I do get blindsided and intimidated, especially when the rep is abrupt themselves. It is useful for me to reflect on all of this so I can be more effective in negotiating with insurance to better help and serve.
I also find it helpful to be detached from the results. We believe in doing our hishtadlus, putting in our effort, and the rest we cannot control. By detaching from the uncontrollable outcomes we can better focus on what we can actually do about the situation and not be distracted by fears that hold us back.
Eta Feuerman-Yaeger, LCSW, is a child and family play therapist with a private practice in Queens. Check out her website at feuermanyaegertherapy.wordpress.com.