How to Stop Fearing 'No'

Putting yourself out there in the world can be tough. Learn how to look self-doubt in the face and stop fearing 'no.'
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Putting yourself out there in the world can be tough. Learn how to look self-doubt in the face and stop fearing 'no.'
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How-To-Stop-Fearing-No-sml Image Credit: Erika Raxworthy

Hearing the word 'no' has been known to send us for a loop. When rejection comes knocking, we find ourselves wondering why we've hit a wall and self-doubt tends to creep in: "Are we not good enough?," we ask. (Strong enough? Efficient enough? Fast enough? Nice enough. Talented enough. The list goes on and on.)

Yet, every time we travel down the path of self-doubt, we have to stop and remind ourselves that it may not be us. In fact, it might actually be them. Perhaps you didn't get a raise because there was no raise to be had. Maybe your friend respectfully declined your invitation because she simply had other plans. For all you know, hundreds of qualified professionals sent proposals for that freelance job you didn't land. Whatever the case, we strive to keep others in mind when we hear an unexpected 'no.'

In the same vein, we mustn't allow the fear of hearing 'no' to keep us from asking in the first place. We've found endless inspiration from Jia Jiang's 100 days of rejection therapy, yet putting ourselves out there—whether with friends, family, colleagues, bosses or potential job prospects—can bring on a level of debilitating fear.

Tell us if any of this sounds familiar:

"What if she doesn't like me?"

What if my proposal isn't perfect?"

"What if they deny my request for a promotion?" 

We've all been there. However, we'd like to offer up an opportunity to rephrase the questions: What if they don't deny your request? What if they love your proposal so much that they hire you on the spot? What if she's just been waiting for you to ask her to coffee? On other words: What's the worst that could happen?

In our experience, it's best to embrace the chance of rejection. Once you do, you'll realize that the word 'no' isn't the end of a conversation (or the world). In fact, it might be a huge step in a new—and potentially exciting—direction. Yesterday's 'no' might create space for today's 'yes' and you never know what opportunities might come to fruition once you put yourself out there.

So, here's to looking fear in the face and giving the word 'no' a big Clemetnine-sized hug.

p.s. Looking for a little inspiration from other women who've pushed limits and made strides? Here are 10 role models we love.