As a physician, I have never had to ask for referrals. The first time I met a patient, they were there with some problem for me to solve. Since we had that face-to-face, meaningful, interaction, they usually came back to see me. We had established a relationship.
Then I became a life coach and spent part of my time working as a life coach, and part of my time working as a physician. I got a lot of referrals from colleagues and eventually from people who had already coached with me, but a year or so into working as a life coach, I realized I had to start doing some marketing of myself and my business.
I tried to ask people to send me clients and–I couldn’t do it.
So, what did I do? I hired a coach.
He immediately saw my problem: I was absolutely terrified of rejection.
So what did he do? He challenged me to get 10 “no’s” from potential clients. I was to offer a free sample session to enough people to get 10 “no, thank you,” responses. I was dubious about the challenge, but I agreed to it. I had two weeks to get 10 no’s.
Initially, my progress was slow. I had a hard time asking people to schedule a sample session with me, but I did do it. Then (dammit!) all the people I asked said, “yes!” So I started asking people who I knew were going to say no (all of my brother-in-laws, my dad, my friend who never accepts help from anyone). Even a couple of them said, “yes.”
The weekend before my challenge was over, I realized I still needed 8 no’s. I was determined to win the challenge. I went to a family party and started asking everyone I could if they wanted to schedule a sample session with me. My sister’s in-laws, an acquaintance I hadn’t seen in 20 years, a few strangers. I had to ask a lot of people to get the 10 no’s, but I did it. Yay, I was a winner!
Wait a minute. Can it really be that arbitrary? Yes, it can. All I had to do was change the rules in my head and I could do what I thought I would never be able to do.
Now that I’m a writer, I have changed the challenge to fit my current life. My goal for 2012 is to get as many rejections as I can. If I get 10, I win, but I’d really like to get more. I picture that big nail that Stephen King impaled all his rejections on. He had way more than 10. The way I (choose to) see it, the more rejections I get, the closer I am to publication.
I’ve already gotten a rejection for one of my short stories. But the guest post I offered to write for a coach I admire was accepted!
Only 9 rejections to go!
How do you get past your fear of rejection?