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12 May 2024

How persuing rejection transformed my business

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If you follow me anywhere online then you might have heard me talking about the rejection challenge I have been on, and whilst it feels like I talk about it all the time I keep reminding myself that people don’t see all of my content so hopefully it doesn’t feel like that to everyone else. It’s been a long journey though and so I thought I would share everything that has happened in a blog post.

If you have ever felt like your fear of rejection has held you back at any point in running your own business then I hope this helps, and if you would rather listen to me talk about it instead of reading, I was recently on Chris Do’s the Futur podcast talking all about the challenge and you can watch that below.



Now the reason that I managed to wangle a spot on Chris’ super popular podcast is that he was the person who sparked this whole rejection challenge of mine, so let me start at the beginning and set the scene for you.

Back in October 2022 I attended Adobe MAX in LA and while I was there I bought Chris’ book. I did the usual thing and shared it on my instagram stories and tagged him in it, and he very kindly replied and said thanks for the mention. Now I suddenly had this thought, if I reply to him now, the chances of him seeing it are quite high because we have already messaged and so I quickly replied and asked him if he would be interested in being a guest on my podcast.

He replied asking how many downloads I averaged per episode, and when I told him he said that he was looking for a much bigger audience but to get back to him when I had increased my audience.

Now as rejections go, that was a pretty nice one. He has to have boundaries around where he invests his time, it wasn’t a forever no, he said I could get back to him, and also this was not a public rejection. Only Chris Do and I knew about the messages. But honestly I felt embarrassed, I think I felt a little bit of shame too. My brain immediately went into self protection mode and I caught myself having thoughts along the lines of ‘this feels horrible, who did I think I was asking him? I’m not going to ask someone that famous to be on my podcast again’.

I moved on and didn’t think that much of it (I was at the most amazing conference I have ever been to in LA for goodness sake) but over the coming months I started mulling over the reasons why I thought my reaction wasn’t really very proportionate to what had actually happened. I suddenly had a revelation that my fear of rejection and not wanting to feel those feelings again must be holding me back in so many ways in my business. How many opportunities was I not going for, because a similar thought pattern of ‘I don’t want to feel bad if I get rejected so I am not even going to try’ was taking over?

I suddenly felt this deep desire to find a way to overcome this fear of rejection, and while I knew that never getting rejected again wasn’t the answer I decided that a sort of ‘rejection exposure therapy’ was what I should attempt instead.

I remembered reading a blog post by friend Katie years previously all about her ‘no thank’ you challenge and felt inspired to do the same. Something I have learnt running my own business for the last 5 years is that I do really well with challenges and gamifying aspects of my business. So I started a challenge. My goal was to get 100 professional rejections in the next six months. (This was about February 2023, so 4 months after the rejection from Chris Do which sparked it all off).

What was so interesting to me was that the minute I made the decision to do this challenge my mindset shifted. I had initially thought it would take a while but it was actually immediate, because I had created a win-win situation for myself. So now I was excited and actively looking for opportunities to pitch for. Instead of stopping myself with excuses about how they would say no, or think I wasn’t good enough etc.

Now this challenge didn’t ‘fix my fear of rejection, because I still had to deal with the emotions and feelings of disappointment I had when something did came back as a no, but what it did was take the fear away, inspired me to get creative and dream bigger about what I asked for. I went for bigger opportunities and I also noticed that I recovered A LOT quicker from the rejections.

Now you might be asking, Liz what happened? Did you complete the challenge? And the answer dear reader is – NO.

I absolutely failed the challenge. I didn’t get ANYWHERE near 100 rejections in 6 months, but I’ve just turned it into a lifelong challenge, because this is an attitude I want to keep forever. Sometimes I hear the thoughts creeping in, telling me I’m not good enough, or there’s no point because they will just say no, and then I have a quick word with myself and keep going.

Part of the reason that I failed the challenge is that I got far more yeses than I expected – yay! I mean this is kind of what I was hoping would happened! But the other thing I hadn’t really factored in was that I would actually deliver on all of the things that I had pitched for and that would obviously take time, and so I really had to slow down on how fast I was pitching for things.

As I mentioned above, one of the lovely full circle moments of this story is that I pitched to be on Chris Do’s podcast, and he said yes! You can hear us chat through the impact his rejection and this challenge had on me in the YouTube video I shared above.

There were a few other things that happened: I landed my dream podcast sponsor (thank you Flodesk), I interviewed Lisa Congdon, Meg Lewis, and Jessica Hische on my podcast, I was a guest on a whole host of other peoples podcasts (you can find the playlist here)

I’m going to do another blog post which highlights some of the key lessons that I learnt going through this process of embracing rejection!

But if you feel inspired to do the same sort of thing, I created a trello template so that you can track all of your pitches and you can download it here:

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Graphic Designer Liz Mosley wants small business owners to build businesses that they LOVE and feel confident about promoting. 

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