I am a member of a wonderful business book club and each quarter we read a new business book. We discuss not only the book, but what specific material in the book would be helpful to our clients. Many times after reading a book, I offer to conduct a book club at my clients’ places of business. In these corporate book clubs, I construct the program so that the participants don’t even need to read the book to glean the highlights!
Imagine my surprise when I received the email declaring that our next book would be Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection by Jia Jiang. I wasn’t sure how the book would play out with my corporate clients, but I ordered it anyway.
The book arrived and sat, as many of my books do. Then my son Jeffrey and I visited my colleague Karen Jacobsen and the very book was sitting on her coffee table! Karen and Jeffrey started raving about it, as they had both read it! When we left Karen’s NYC apartment, Jeffrey continued discussing the book and said to me, “You should read it, Mom.” Now I knew I needed to shake the dust off and start reading.
The book is about Jia Jiang and his intention of making requests to people who were likely to reject the invitation. He did this daily for 100 days to build his resilience muscle. In the book, he also explains the neuroscience behind why we initially feel rejection and how with practice, we can build our own resilience muscles.
Not surprisingly, fear and rejection are first cousins in our brain chemistry. Once we learn to overcome rejection, our capacity for fear – healthy fear – increases.
It is typical in organizations to avoid failure, especially costly failure. But avoiding failure intentionally creates a culture that is risk-averse and stagnant. What does your organization do to encourage failure? What do you do personally to take more risks and to allow failure?
A few years ago, I had the privilege of being a panelist at the DC chapter of the National Speakers Association. After all the panelists had a chance to share their tricks and expertise, the audience was encouraged to ask questions.
As it turns out, there was a guest from NYC attending the meeting. The poised and delightful woman, Ellen, had just moved from the Big Apple to accept a full time job within a company where she had previously consulted. Ellen asked the panel, “What tips do you have for helping me stay active as a self-employed speaker and consultant, as I start my new full-time, professional job?”
A bit of probing revealed that Ellen’s new job involved leading a new and important division of the company. She would have seven direct reports, a multi-million dollar budget and plenty of naysayers watching her every move.
As I heard Ellen’s question, I thought, “That sounds a bit like, ‘How can I build a cathedral while I am exploring space?’”
Another member of the audience piped up, “Sounds like it’s important for you to be where you are.”
How about you? Are you chasing a rainbow that you already hold in your hands?
And this week, you are still there and your colleagues wish you had left!
That’s right. Last week, I wrote a blog called “Why Are You Still There”. When I wrote the article, my intention was that readers would think about all the reasons their work was fulfilling and their workplace was positive. Fortunately, I heard from a number of my readers about the rewards they find in their work and from their colleagues.
I would have been thrilled, but I heard about a few cases where recipients of the blog added a caustic note, “Yeah, why are YOU still here?” and sent it to colleagues. If it had happened once, I would have been bummed, but I am aware that it happened in several different organizations.
What I know about that behavior is that the sender:
- didn’t have the courage to talk to the person directly
- didn’t have the skills to talk to the person directly
- hides behind email rather than talking face-to-face
- felt superior to his or her colleague
- didn’t see that one’s behavior influences (in this case negatively) the behavior of peers
Only workplace bullies would send a hurtful message like that to a peer, a manager, or a subordinate. Our role as colleagues is to make the workplace positive and productive for all. We must support one another and bring out the best in one another. We should act as though our work depends on the success of others. In organizations where employees are accountable, their work does depend on the success of others.
I do hope you will forward these blogs to your colleagues and your associates. And when you do choose to forward them, send them as a way to build another person’s confidence, to show your admiration for them, and to appreciate them.
Isn’t it interesting that the same article can be used to empower or to hurt?