This is a rebroadcast of Episode 211.
This episode has its origins in a video for Entrepreneur.com.
Everyone experiences fear of rejection. In Dr. Misner’s case, the overwhelming experience came when he was trying to persuade stores to carry his first book. He found himself afraid to get out of the car and walk into the store to ask.
Finally he realized that the worst that could happen if he asked was the same thing as if he did nothing at all: the store would not carry his book. So he picked up a copy of the book and went into the store. They asked for 20 copies.
When you ask people to do something—including joining BNI—some will, some won’t, and either way, it’s not a big deal.
Mark Goulston recently said, “We have a lot less control over winning or losing at something than we have over trying or quitting at something. If you always try, you’ll eventually win. If you always quit, you can never win.”
Success doesn’t necessarily go to the smartest person: persistence is critical. If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right. So don’t let fear of rejection stop you.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcript of BNI Podcast Episode 211 –
Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Official BNI Podcast brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the web for networking downloadables. I’m Priscilla Rice, and I’m coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, California, and I’m joined on the phone today by the Founder and the Chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello Ivan. How are you?
I’m doing great, thanks.
I heard it’s your birthday tomorrow.
It is my birthday. June 30th is my birthday, so I’ll be 55. Everyone is going to be going, “Gee. I wonder how old he is.” I started BNI when I was about 28 years old.
You are so young. That’s great. I hope you have a very happy day.
Thank you very much. I appreciate that. Today I am going to be talking about an interesting topic. It’s fear of rejection. I’ll tell you why I am doing this one. I am doing this one because I did a video for entrepreneur.com. They asked me to do something on fear of rejection. This is another one the staff saw and said I had to do this as a podcast. I was like, really? Why? I don’t know why BNI members would be interested in it.
I’ll tell you I am going to take the advice of my staff because the person who said to do episode 203, The Rest of the Story, where I talked about my background before I got BNI started–we had so many comments. I got a lot of emails and responses on that podcast, just talking about how I got to where I started BNI because most people know the BNI story but they don’t know the story before that. We had such a positive response.
This is a little bit different. It’s not about networking, but I think it will resonate with everyone. Fear of rejection. We all have all dealt with the fear of rejection. Maybe you haven’t, Priscilla.
I have definitely had fear of rejection. I think that’s a great topic because I think it is universal. We all worry about it.
I think you’re right so I am going to take the advice of my staff and do the podcast today on this topic. They were absolutely right with episode 203. If you haven’t listened to it, go listen to episode 203. It’s really good.
So fear of rejection. What I did for Entrepreneur is talked about one of the more poignant times in my life where I was really concerned about rejection. That’s when my first major book, The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret, came out in 1994. Let me tell you, if you ever feel like you are a big shot, write a book. That will humble you very quickly in terms of doing book signings and what not. Some people have heard me talk about some funny stories in doing book signings. The book came out in 1994 and I was trying to get bookstores to carry it. A friend of mine said there was a local neighborhood bookstore that didn’t have any copies. It was literally on my way home, and I stopped off at the bookstore and sat in the car paralyzed to go in.
I was supposed to go in and was going to ask them if they would mind carrying a few copies of my book. I was just paralyzed. I sat there, like this was embarrassing. What if they say no? What if they said they didn’t want the book, thank you very much. It wasn’t a big bookstore. It wasn’t like these big giant bookstores that exist now. It was a smaller bookstore. I sat there and I swear I almost put the key back in the ignition, turned it on and backed out. I was so close. Then I thought okay, if I don’t go in, what is going to happen? Chances are pretty good if I don’t go in that nothing is going to happen. They are not going to carry the book. If I go in and they look at me and say they don’t want the book, what is going to happen? They won’t carry the book.
But what if I go in and ask and they say yes? Then something is going to happen. So really the only choice that would lead to a positive outcome was to go in. Doing nothing would get me the same thing that I had now, which was nothing. So I literally sat in the car and said to myself, suck it up and go on in. This will be over in ten minutes. Nobody is actually going to get injured. There will be no hospitalization involved. It’s not that big a deal. It’s just a no.
So I went in. I brought a copy of the book and said, “I’m the author of this book. Some of your stores in your chain are carrying it. I live locally and just wondered if you would mind having a few copies, 3 or 4 copies. If so, I would be more than glad to sign them when they come in.”
They said, “Oh great! You’re a local author! We’ll get 20. Will you come back and sign them for us?” I was like, yeah, I’d be glad to come back and sign them. So they ordered 20 copies and they came back in a couple of weeks and I signed them all. It wasn’t a formal signing but what I call a drive by signing. You drive by, sign the books and you leave. I did that and they carried way more than most bookstores.
I remember thinking back. That was sort of a nexus point in terms of rejection. I could do it or I could not do it. Not doing it would give me the same response as what I presently had, which was no books there. So I tell people don’t let the fear of rejection stop you from doing what you are excited about. If you are excited about your business, don’t let rejection stop you. You have to just know that when it comes to asking somebody to do something, including asking people to join BNI–
Some will. Some won’t. So what? It’s not the end of the world. I just had to put myself in the frame of mind that this is just not that big of a deal. If someone doesn’t want to do it, that’s fine. God bless them. I love them. It’s not that big a deal.
I just wrote a blog recently about a good friend of mine, Dr. Mark Goulston. Mark and I went out for dinner and he said something to me casually that literally made me reach into my pocket and scribble something down on the back of one of my business cards. It has to do with this rejection concept. Mark has been a guest on my podcast before. Do a search on Mark Goulston. Mark has done at least one or two with me here. Great guy, psychiatrist, good friend. I met him in doing research for Peter Guber’s book, Tell to Win. Mark and I were at one of the session with Peter Guber and working on his book.
Anyway, I wrote something down. He said, “You know, we have a lot less control over winning or losing at something than we do over trying or quitting something. Always try. You can eventually win. If you always quit, you can never win.” I loved this statement and it completely resonated with me and what I have seen in relation to people being successful at networking or at anything for that matter. When people give up, even in their thoughts, it’s game over.
I have always thought that I may not be the most successful man in a room. I may not be the smartest man in a room. But I am pretty confident that I am the most persistent man in the room—or certainly one of the most persistent men in the room. That commitment to trying has helped me succeed. I think it is one of the things that consistently helps anyone have long-term success. The whole process has to begin with the old axiom that if you think you can or if you think you can’t, you’ll be right.
So I say to people don’t let the fear of rejection stop you from what you are excited about. It begins with trying versus quitting. Keep trying and you have a chance at winning. That is my message for today, Priscilla.
That is great. Can I just tell a little story?
When I was younger–I know you are a martial artist, and I also had studied martial arts. I was at a meet and I had never sparred before. It was a competition, and the grand master that I studied with wanted me to compete and I didn’t feel ready. So I said no. I wouldn’t do it. Afterwards, I suffered so much with regret. I decided from that point on that if there is ever a situation where I am either going to do it or not do it and I am fearful, I am going to do it because the regret afterwards is much worse than just failing. That’s what I decided.
I think you are absolutely right, especially for the return on the investment. The investment is just to get out there and try. Okay, maybe in martial arts, you get beat up a little bit, but in most cases, it’s not a physical issue. Even then, you are wearing gloves. I have been in martial arts and have never been at a meet where anybody really got seriously hurt.
But you’re usually not talking about things like that. You are talking about simpler things–walking in and asking if they want to carry a few books. That is what most of us have to deal with in real life. Simple things like that. That fear of rejection freezes us from doing the things that we want. You’re right. The regret can really last a long time. I am proud of you. You went out and did it after that.
Well, I never forgot either. That is how deep it was. Okay.
I think that is it. Thank you so much, Dr. Misner. I would just like to remind the listeners that today’s podcast was brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thanks for listening. This is Priscilla Rice, and we hope that you will join us again next week for another exciting episode of The Official BNI Podcast.