“I won’t let fear of a possible ‘no’ interfere with my telling,” writes Peter Guber in his terrific book Tell to Win about how we can use storytelling to achieve our business goals.

The trick is not to eliminate fear, but to use it.  We channel the adrenaline instead of resisting it.

Philosopher Brian Johnson tells us courage is not the absence of fear, but being aware of fear and choosing to act in spite of it.

Rejection is a fact of life.  “Next is the most powerful word in the English language,” says Mark Victor Hansen, co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.  He and his partner Jack Canfield were turned down 144 times before finding success.  Today, they have more than 200 titles in print and have sold more than 112 millions of copies of their books.  

Ross Perot, founder of EDS, was turned down 77 times before winning his first contract.  But that first contract was worth $4 million.  Ross went on to build a world-class organization. He sold his stake in EDS for $2.4 billion.

“Sometimes rejection can be a gift,” says Nancy Traversy, co-founder and CEO of Barefoot books, a publisher of children’s books.  In the early 2000’s, she and co-founder Tessa Strickland pitched Borders marketing executives on the idea of a Barefoot Boutique within Borders stores where parents could connect with their children through reading.

No chance, they were told.  

What resulted was a whole new way of distributing and marketing children’s books involving their biggest fans, mothers who appreciated their high-caliber books for children.  “That’s when the whole ‘living barefoot’ idea came to me,” Nancy remembers.  The publisher encouraged this network of women to tell and sell their own stories or Barefoot Books to their friends and family.  Today, the more than two thousand Barefoot Ambassadors account for more than 20% of the company’s revenue.  


Reflection:  When in the past has rejection motivated me to do my best work?

Action:  Don’t try to eliminate fear.  Channel it into adrenaline.  Today.

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