Podcast

Episode 86 – Jia Jiang, Rejecting Fear

As we continue our special series about bettering our minds, bodies, time, and lives – we have to talk about fear and going scared! Which is why we are fortunate to hear from one of the world’s foremost experts on fear and rejection, Jia Jiang.

Listen in as Jessica and Jia talk about the crazy ways he was able to stare rejection in the face, feel the fear, and overcome!

TRANSCRIPT

Jessica: Hey everyone! Welcome back to the Going Scared podcast. This is your host Jessica Honegger, founder of the social impact fashion brand Noonday Collection. Join me here every week for conversations on living lives of purpose by leaving comfort and going scared.

Today’s guest is Jia Jiang, and I met Jia Jiang via YouTube. Jia Jiang was so afraid of rejection that he decided to put himself through Rejection Therapy. For 100 days in a row, he was determined to be rejected every day, and he videoed himself and posted it all on YouTube.

Now I was extremely inspired by this video because I lead a sales organization of these amazing women—these Noonday Collection Ambassadors—and one of their biggest obstacles to success is their fear of rejection. You know what? I don’t blame them because that has been a huge fear in my life as well. I think all the way back to the very first Noonday Collection Trunk Show that I hosted at my house before I knew it was going to be Noonday, before I knew it was going to be a business. I was raising money in order to bring our third child into our home via adoption. Jack. And I did not have enough money to complete that international adoption, so I started this side hustle by selling all of these African-made goods. But then I also was clearing out my closet, my grandma’s china was for sale. If you could buy it, it was for sale. And I opened up my home one night for a whole bunch of women, and I got to that night … and I wanted to call it all off. I was so afraid that no one was going to come, and then I was really afraid of how it was going to feel, that I was going to feel like a big loser, I was going to feel rejected.

And I’m so glad I didn’t call it off because people did come. And that was the night where I really began to understand what courage is. Courage isn’t about fearlessness. Courage is being scared and going anyway. And that is exactly what Jia discovered as well.

He is the world’s foremost expert on rejection. He’s the founder and CEO of Wuju Learning, a company that trains organizations and employees to become fearless. It does not get more perfect than having him on our Going Scared podcast. Give it a listen.

Jessica: Well, Jia, I’m super excited to have you on because, here’s the deal, I lead a sales organization. We are a social impact brand, and we create impact by purchasing product from Artisans that live in vulnerable communities around the world. And then our salespeople, we call them Noonday Collection Ambassadors, they create a marketplace for these goods. So, it’s a direct social impact model. And a lot of our Noonday Collection Ambassadors are what I would say feel reluctant salespeople. OK. These are people who are … A lot of them, they’re doing this as a side hustle. They’re very drawn by the purpose. They might discover, “Oh, my gosh. There’s a lot of income potential in this job,” after they sort of sign up. But let me tell you. I’m constantly having to overcome their own obstacle of fear of rejection.

Is Rejection Holding Us Back?

So, when I came across your TED Talk and your whole concept about rejection therapy, I thought, “This is brilliant.” And so, I wanna hear it. I want you to break down the whole story and what you learned from your experiment.

Jia: So, basically, I’ve been wanting to … I have this dream of mine, which is I wanna be an entrepreneur. And I had this dream from a very young age. But I’ve had this fear of getting rejected, whether through my idea or telling my family members that I wanna become an entrepreneur. Those fears of rejection have held me back for a long, long time. So, even after I finally take a plunge to actually become an entrepreneur and start my own company, I got rejected. It was the investment. And I felt … After that, my first thought is, “I should quit.” The investor knew a lot more about the business than I do. If he was rejecting me, that must mean my idea wasn’t good. So, that’s my first thought.

Then I just realized, this line of thinking is terrible. Would anyone successful think this way? No way. And that’s where I realized that I really have this fear of rejection that’s holding me back when I wasn’t an entrepreneur. It was holding me back when I became an entrepreneur. It’s gonna hold me back into the future. That’s why I started this experiment.
“I realized that I really have this fear of rejection that’s holding me back when I wasn’t an entrepreneur. It was holding me back when I became an entrepreneur. It’s gonna hold me back into the future. That’s why I started this experiment.” Jia Jiang

Jessica: And would you say at that point you were able to really say … Because we have our fears of a lot of things as an entrepreneur. I’m an entrepreneur. And at the beginning, when I was launching my business, I think … My biggest fears … And this podcast is called Going Scared, so it is all about walking through our fears. I was so worried about what other people were gonna think of me. It was like I was worried how I was gonna be perceived because I was doing it in a very scrappy way. So, did you kind of assess all the different things you could be afraid of and you thought, “You know what? It’s the rejection piece. That is what’s gonna hold me back from eventually becoming a successful entrepreneur.”

Jia: Yeah. Absolutely. I feel that was the biggest piece I had that I was afraid of. There’s the fear of failure. There’s the fear of you do something that you just couldn’t get it done. There’s a fear of missing out. There’s all those types of fears, but it was the rejection where you face someone else face-to-face, where you make the request, and they assess the request, and they say no. That feels very personal. That feels like they’re saying no to me because of who I am. Of course, there’s a lot of wrong psychology in there because when they’re saying no, there are a lot of other reasons that I was overlooking. But it was so easy to make that connection between what they’re rejecting and me.

Also, to talk about your point, right? That fear of being seen by others to say, “Well, am I failing?” What we have is called a spotlight effect. Meaning, we think the world is watching us. We think we’re so important, everyone’s watching what we’re doing. So, if we fail, they’re gonna just line up in front of our house and tell us how terrible we are. Right? But this is not the case because no one cares about what I was doing. Some people…

Jessica: Because they all have their own spotlight effect.

Jia: Yeah. They have their own career, their own insecurities and fears. They’re all dealing with that. Right? They don’t have time to worry about how bad you’re looking. So, that’s what I learned very quickly. Everyone cares, but no one did. But then what was interesting is, when I started having success, when I was getting a lot of traction, when I was getting the media attentions, when I was speaking everywhere, then people started to care. They’re like, “Oh, wow. I did not think he was gonna be able to do this. This is like a miracle. This is amazing. I want to have what he has. I want to achieve what he achieved.” So, then people started to pay attention.

So, I’ve learned how people, the people who really care about how other people perceive them — and that basically counts for most of us — if you really care, you should just go out and try things. Because if you fail, no one will care, and no one will even see it. But if you succeed, everyone will see it, and then you can … and it won’t matter you’re hiding.

Jessica: Your point is you can only succeed through failure and rejection, which is what you find out. So, walk us through your experiment.

Rejection Therapy

Jia: So, basically, I thought, OK, I was so afraid of rejection. Right? And this fear is holding me back. I’m gonna overcome this fear, and I’m gonna have some fun in the meantime.

So, I found something called rejection therapy. I found this thing online, and it was invented by a Canadian entrepreneur. And then I was like, “OK. I wanna do this.” The idea is, you go out and get rejected once per day on purpose. And if you do this for, say, 30 days, you become this tough guy. Right? You become this person who’s so fearless. You desensitize yourself of the pain.

“The idea is, you go out and get rejected once per day on purpose. And if you do this for, say, 30 days, you become this tough guy. Right? You become this person who’s so fearless. You desensitize yourself of the pain.” Jia Jiang

So, I thought, “That’s a great idea. I’m gonna do this, but I’m not gonna do this for 30 days. I will do this for 100 days. I wanna see if I overdose on rejection. I wanna see what kind of tough guy I can develop.” So, that’s what I did. So, every day, I’ll go out and get rejected on purpose, and I would film myself getting rejected and put this on YouTube to make a video blog of these things.

Jessica: Walk us through some of those stories, some of those things that you came up with.

Jia: Yeah. So, for example, one day I would … the first day, I would go out and ask someone to borrow $100, just with a stranger and say, “Can I borrow $100 from you?” Then the next day, I went to a restaurant and asked them to give me a burger refill after having burger for lunch. And I was just getting rejected left and right there. Right? But then a strange thing started happening. As I kept doing this, people started to say yes to me.

For example, one day, I had a soccer ball in my hand. I knock on someone’s door, and the guy opened the door. And I said, “Can I play soccer in your backyard?” And he was like, “Sure.” So, I started playing. I was like, “Now what?” I didn’t think this through. I’m gonna play soccer with myself in the backyard.

And there’s another day I was … I saw a police car and I said, “Can I drive your car?” And the police officer said, “Sure, you can do it.” And I’m like, “OK.” I did not know I could do it. Right? It was just all these kinds of things and I started getting yeses left and right.

And the most famous one that I … probably a lot of people know about me through this is, when I went to Krispy Kreme, right, the donut shop. I said, “Can I make donuts that look like Olympic rings? Basically, can you interlink five donuts together and make them look like the Olympic symbol?” I thought there’s no way she was gonna say yes, and I was gonna come in and just make some jokes, and then leave. As it turned out, she took me so seriously. She was like, “Huh. What does the color look like? How can I do this?” And then, 15 minutes later, there was a box of donuts that looked like Olympic rings.

So, it was all this kinda crazy requests that not only I got rejected and I felt OK, I actually got a lot of yeses.

Refocusing the Ask

Jessica: Tell me about the transformation of your ask through that time. Because I would imagine, at first, you’re just kinda expecting a no. Right? But then … I mean, I’m just imagining that you’re thinking, “How am I gonna convince this person to let me drive their…” How did you begin to refine your ask so that you would get a yes?

Jia: At the beginning, my thought is, “This is gonna be the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done. I’m gonna get rejected every day, but my goal is to just get that rejection and toughen myself up, and then be this tough guy.” But as it turned out, right after first day or second day, I just felt like, “OK. This feels different.” Because I didn’t … I got rejected, but I didn’t die. No one put out a pepper spray. No one cussed me out. No one called the police. All they did was to say no. And I felt OK afterward.

So, I started to lose the fear. Right? Before going, I had all kind of terrible scenarios I was talking about in my mind. But when it played out, none of that scenarios came to pass. And I felt, “Wow. This is really not bad.” So, when you lose the fear, you can start experimenting. You can start having fun. You can start just analyzing yourself.

So, later on, I was getting … When I didn’t have the fear bother me as much and I was like, “OK. I’m gonna make sure I stand up straight. I’m gonna make sure I smile, and I make sure I put the other person at ease.” I gotta make sure when I get rejected, I have a follow-up request. I can ask for something else. Right? And then I can make sure that I’ll figure out why that person was rejecting me. Maybe I can turn that around. How can I reduce the risk that she’s perceiving? So, I came up with this kind of follow-up techniques that … just because I lost the fear.

Jessica: Wow. So, you think, as you lost this fear of rejection, you were able to engage better in how you were making an ask. Because you weren’t just focused on yourself, and, “Oh, my gosh. They’re gonna reject me, and I’m gonna feel bad.” But instead, you began to think about them and how you could make this request maybe in more service to them and what they would actually say yes to.
“As you lost this fear of rejection, you were able to engage better in how you were making an ask. Because you weren’t just focused on yourself. … You began to think about them and how you could make this request maybe in more service to them.” Jessica Honegger

Jia: Absolutely. It’s really about practice. It’s really about … When you’re driven by fear, your reaction is like this crocodile brain. You’re just fight or flight. You start relying on your instinct, and then your performance is never as good when you rely just on instinct. But when you’re having this experience, when you calm yourself down, then you can experiment. You can focus on techniques. So, that’s where the next step I went to, which is I could focus on these techniques.

Jessica: And so, tell us about some of those techniques because I’m thinking about so many people … I mean, so many of us are in sales. And even if your job isn’t for sales, ultimately, you’re selling something with your mom, you might be selling an idea to your kids like, “I need you to brush your teeth every day.” So, we’re all in these positions, multiple times a day, where we could be rejected. So, let’s talk a little bit about some of these techniques.

Turning the Tables on Rejection

Jia: Yeah. So, for example, when you get rejected, often, people think that’s the end of a conversation. I came up with everything I had. I’ve made a reasonable request, and the other person said no. Well, that means the end of it. As it turned out, that’s usually the beginning of it, if you can sustain your conversation. Our natural instinct is not to say yes to you. It’s to say no to you, especially when it comes with something that’s new, especially when it comes to something that’s unknown. Right? If we think about it, if you walk on the street and you get a lot of requests, you’re natural reaction is, “I’m gonna say no to all of these, then I find out which one of these is beneficial.” If you say yes to every single thing that comes your way, it’s just chaos. Right? So, learned that, OK, no doesn’t actually mean the end of it. Right?

“When you get rejected, often, people think that’s the end of a conversation. I came up with everything I had. I’ve made a reasonable request, and the other person said no. Well, that means the end of it. As it turned out, that’s usually the beginning of it, if you can sustain your conversation.” Jia Jiang

Then the next step is I can start asking, “May I know why? Can I figure out what’s the underlying reason?” And if I get a reason, can I actually work on that reason, to solve your doubts, to solve that issue? Then I can possibly turn that no around. And I can also say, “Hey. I know I got rejected, but may I know how I can get a yes? Because I really wanna do this because of one, two, three reason.” I’ll give my own reason. But how we can make this happen.

When you say the word “how,” basically, you’re turning this table around. Right? You’re actually bringing the other person to your side of the table looking at the problem from the same lens. And people will start solving the problem with you. They’ll be like, “How can you do this?” Anything. “Maybe I can do it for you, or maybe there’s some other way.” So, oftentimes, if you ask how, the solution they can come up with is, often, it could be better than the one you originally asked. So, there are a lot of things you can do.

Jessica: So, I wanna hear a little bit about how this has impacted your professional life. Because, for me, I can think, “I don’t know. This person at the donut shop, it’s kinda fun. It’s almost like a prank. It’s like a truth or dare.” But that is very different than going and pitching a business idea to investors and getting rejected. There’s more of a stake. There’s a higher stakes rejection there.

So, your hypothesis is that if I just go get rejected by random strangers asking them to do these truth or dare type things, that’ll just help me get used to being rejected. And has that, in fact, had a halo effect on maybe areas where you are having more of a higher stakes conversation or ask?

Jia: Absolutely. So, they’re on two different levels. On the first level is … Although the stakes are different, the feelings are very similar. You go out and ask for something, get rejected. You won’t feel good. You don’t feel good. Right?

So, think about playing the game of basketball. When the end of the game, the person’s making a free throw to win or lose the game. And people are thinking, “OK. That’s when the game is won or lost.” But actually, what happened is that person has been in the dark gym when no one is watching, and he’s practicing over and over again. So, when the game is on the line, that person can perform, can put a ball in the hoop. But if you don’t practice, if you have no experience of this, then when the things are on the line, then you are not gonna perform. The ball would just fly out. So, you have to use the low-stake scenarios and opportunities to practice, to train your muscle memory. So, when things are high-stake, you know what to do. So, there’s one part of the practice part.

The other part is almost feeling like there is a … It has a memory to fall apart. So, oftentimes, before I go in to pitching to a client on the phone or in person, and I could be afraid. I mean, what if this doesn’t work? What if that person starts laughing at me? What if the conversation doesn’t go well? Then I thought about, OK, if I just … with that mentality alone, I’m not gonna succeed. But if I think back, knowing that, hey, I’m the one who go out and got rejected once per day for 100 days, if I could do that, I could do those. I mean, I can do this. So, it’s almost like you’re putting on an invisible cape that people who don’t see but gives me so much strength. So, they’re on two different levels, things like rejection therapy would help me.

Contagiously Courageous

Jessica: So, you wanted to be an entrepreneur. That’s your dream. Then you realized, you pitched your idea, and you were paralyzed by that rejection. And you thought, “If I’m gonna be successful, I gotta get over this.” That led you to this entire experiment, but that experiment has led to a career or a profession, which you were not expecting that at all. I can imagine when you were just putting your videos on YouTube, you weren’t thinking, “I’m gonna be known as the rejection guy.” So, tell me a little bit about that. How are you now using the influence that you gained from this experiment to now be an entrepreneur, and actually fulfill the dream that you’ve always had?

Jia: Yeah, absolutely. This is kinda crazy, isn’t it? When I started, my whole thought is I wanna be able to build this mobile app that many people will use. So, that’s why I wanna be an entrepreneur.

Jessica: And what was the mobile app again? What was it?

Jia: So, the mobile app was a long time ago. It’s called Hooplus. It’s really a cool idea, but then there’s a lot of flaws to it. But no one was using that, and … no one was using it. So, I shut it down later because, man, as you mentioned, this rejection thing is so much bigger and also got so much traction. And people were responding to it on a very emotional level. And then as it turned out, everyone was afraid of rejection. As an entrepreneur, you don’t do things just because you think it’s cool. Maybe you start with it, but you do things because you think there’s a market. You’re solving a need. This fear of rejection, I might have just found the biggest need … one of the biggest needs that we have.

So, ever since that day, I’ve been teaching people through my blog. And I’ve started speaking everywhere, and I’ve been getting invited to some of those big conferences and big companies. In fact, some of the videos become a standard training material for salespeople, how to overcome the fear of rejection. So, I published a book.

“As an entrepreneur … You’re solving a need. This fear of rejection, I might have just found the biggest need … I’ve been teaching people through my blog. And I’ve started speaking everywhere, and I’ve been getting invited to some of those big conferences and big companies. In fact, some of the videos become a standard training material for salespeople, how to overcome the fear of rejection. So, I published a book.” Jia Jiang

Nowadays, I’m actually going back to my technology root. I’m building this new mobile app. It’s called DareMe. It’s funny you mentioned the word “truth or dare,” right? But I used the word “dare” because I love it so much. It’s called DareMe. What I found is, hey, I became … I transformed myself not because I read a book or watched a video or anything like that … or heard a talk. It’s because I put myself in front of real people getting real rejections. Only actions would change me. And then I thought, “OK. How can I have my audience systematically get rejected like I did,” which is really hard. People have motivation to do things, but sometimes motivations don’t translate into actions.

So, then I started experimenting. So, that’s why I build this app DareMe, that gives people challenges in a social setting. They do it together, with each other, with friendly competition to actually do tough things. So, people are able to translate their motivation into actions.
Jessica: What are some of the craziest dares that you were like, “Oh, yeah. That really freaks people out”?

Jia: OK. So, there are a few examples. The one thing that I did that was really tough is I want to just dance with a stranger on the street. Just say, “Hey. Can you dance with me?” That’s really tough. And there was another one that was I was giving a speech on the street. I lived in Austin at the time, Austin, Texas. One challenge is I’m gonn go out to downtown Austin and just start giving a speech on the street. It was really tough because when you do, not only you’re gonna do it, you’re gonna do it for an amount of time. You’re gonna have an audience, and people are gonna judge you all kind of ways. So, yeah. There are quite a few things that are pretty crazy.

Jessica: Although I have to say, I live in Austin. And it’s not too crazy to have people just start giving speeches, especially in the UT campus. I don’t know. It depends on where you were. But we like to keep it weird down here.

Jia: Yeah.

Practiced Rejection and Closing Sales

Jessica: That’s awesome. OK. So, when you’re going and training, because now you said that sales teams have asked you to come in and they’re using your video as standard training for sales, how do you the make the leap from these fun … what could be fun … I’m someone … Obviously, my podcast is called Going Scared. I’m all about getting people outside of their comfort zones, which I think is why this so appeal to me. But I really wanted to have this conversation in service to the many female entrepreneurs that are wanting to build their businesses with Noonday Collection or perhaps with the other business that they’re working with right now. And how do you translate and go from getting rejected because someone says, “I’m not gonna dance with you on the street,” how do you go about practicing the sales rejection?

Jia: OK. The best way to do it is just to do it, to go out and … Just think about it. Instead of having all these things in our mind, that there are in my mind, to think say all the scenarios, how I can practice this, how can I … when something like this happen, I’m gonna react this way. Just having all the scenarios in your mind. Do something called the five-second rule, which was by Mel Robbins, this author.

So, basically, you have an idea. When you see someone, just go on and do it. Just say, “Hey. Do you want to…” Try to make a pitch and make a sale. Right? And then if it doesn’t happen, just move on. It’s OK. So, when you do that, what ends up happening is you don’t think yourself out of opportunity. You just go out and approach and see that can happen. A lot of times, it’s almost 99%, it’s not as bad as we think.

“When you see someone, just go on and do it. … Try to make a pitch and make a sale. Right? And then if it doesn’t happen, just move on. … Don’t think yourself out of opportunity. You just go out and approach and see that can happen. A lot of times, it’s almost 99%, it’s not as bad as we think.” Jia Jiang

Jessica: Just do it.

Jia: Just don’t think too much. Just do it. Yeah, use the action.

Jessica: To just get over it. Yeah. One of the key objections that we hear from our entrepreneurs is they’re afraid to appear pushy. They don’t wanna be that pushy salesperson. What would you say to that obstacle?

Jia: Yeah. You can be that pushy salesperson. It’s OK. How about you play that role? How about I’m gonna be an actor who plays this role of being a salesperson? The thing is, there are so many people in the world. Just find a stranger and just do it. And also, if you believe in your cause, if you really believe in what you are doing, instead of relying … saying, “OK, my skills. I’m gonna do this because I can talk you into this. I’m gonna sell ice to Eskimos in…” That’s a saying, right? Instead of doing that, think about why you’re interested in what you are selling. What’s the thing that appeals to you? And then make that your why. Make that your expression. Right? Talk about that.

So, there are a lot of things you don’t have to be like, “OK. I’m selling bad things to good people.” It’s about “How do I bring value to these people who don’t know about this?” And then think about yourself … I live in Silicon Valley, and this is really the idea that … I mean, I’ve built software. A lot of people are building software this way. Don’t think yourself as finished product. Think yourself as a prototype.

In software, you have this thing called a minimum viable product, which is, you build something, then you let user use it. You get feedback, then you use your feedback to improve on the features and make it better. And gradually, if every month you can make your product 15% better, by the end, you have a pretty cool product over the years. Think about this this way in your life. Don’t think you’re a finished product, and then when you go out and if you succeed, that means you’re a great salesperson. If you fail, that means you’re terrible. I mean, don’t think that way. Think yourself as a work in progress. Come in, and train yourself. Use other people’s feedback to strengthen your sales techniques. Every rejection will become opportunity.

So, I really liked when I read this somewhere that there are two outcomes. One is success, another is a great lesson that you can learn to improve. So, in this case, if you have this mentality, go out and get rejected, and if you get rejected—hey, use that to improve.

“So, I really liked when I read this somewhere that there are two outcomes. One is success, another is a great lesson that you can learn to improve. So, in this case, if you have this mentality, go out and get rejected, and if you get rejected—hey, use that to improve.” Jia Jiang

Jessica: I love that. I just read this quote by Bill Gates. It says, “Success is a terrible teacher,” which is kind of the same thing. If you don’t have these points of failure … but you can even reframe and be like, “That wasn’t a failure. That was a lesson.”

Jia: Yeah. Absolutely.

Jessica: I love this idea that we’re all just minimum viable products.

Jia: We are. And then you just get a little better every day.

From Rejection to Feedback

Jessica: Yes. Feedback is a whole other … I love that. And I love that that’s part of your process because I think that … And actually, I coach some of our salespeople. One of the challenges I gave them is, “Hey, I want you to ask the people that are on your team that you lead, and I want you to ask the people that are opening their homes for you to go in and sell at their homes with their friends … Will you ask them, ‘Hey. What could I have done a little bit differently or better? And what did I do really well?'” They were scared to death to do this. They were like, “Oh, my god.” They were so scared to ask for the feedback. And yet, to your point, that’s just another data point how we can prove our minimum viable product. What do you think it is that makes people so afraid of feedback?

Jia: People associate … Think about if you build a software product, even that, sometimes you have a fear to put it out there because when you launch, right, now it becomes real. Right? Now people are gonna either like it or hate it. People start using it, then you’re gonna observe them. Then you’re like, “Oh, wow. This is not good. This is not how I intend it to be. That means I’m a terrible engineer. That means I’m terrible designer.” Right? So, people can make that connection. That’s why people have this hesitation to launch until they somehow can think through, can sit behind a closed door and just try to perfect this thing forever, and didn’t launch.

Now, think about doing that in person. You are the product. You go out, and that’s even more uncomfortable because you’re … it’s easy to actually draw the connection of your self-worth versus people’s reaction to you. But just know … Just have this growth mentality. I mean, this is the kind of cliché now, having a growth mentality, but it’s so true. It makes huge difference when you go out and how you improve yourself. If you have the growth mentality that you’re not done, in fact, you’re just a starting point. You have to improve. You have to just rapidly improve yourself to be better. That’s how you can perform.

And you cannot think yourself, you cannot read yourself into improving. You cannot watch your way into improvement. You cannot listen your way into improvement. You have to really just go out and do these things. And then you get real feedback and improve. You gotta have the reps. And the good thing about sales is, the world is your rep. You can get repetition point anytime you approach someone trying to make a sale. And the only way to do that is to create these opportunities for yourself.

Jessica: So, rejection therapy, have you thought about applying this kind of therapy to other types of fears that people have?

Jia: Yeah, absolutely. So, the underlying principle of rejection therapy … there’s a lot of underlying principles. You can say the underlying principle is flooding this idea of you’re afraid of something, then flood yourself with the element, then you lose the fear. And there’s a repetition. But what I think the biggest fundamental idea that … this has become successful to me and also to a lot of people who are doing this … it’s just going and doing things. Just do things. Action is the only currency in success. It’s not thinking. It’s not ideas. It’s truly just actions.

“And you cannot think yourself, you cannot read yourself into improving. You cannot watch your way into improvement. You cannot listen your way into improvement. You have to really just go out and do these things. And then you get real feedback and improve. Action is the only currency in success. It’s not thinking. It’s not ideas. It’s truly just actions.” Jia Jiang

So, whatever fear you have, whatever things that you wanna overcome, do it. Do it to rehearse. Don’t read. Don’t listen. Just go on and do it. And very quickly, you will find that if you just don’t … We’re saying, “What doesn’t kill us make us stronger.” And then very often this … Maybe you have a fear of sting rays, which I agree with you. Don’t be too cavalier that way. But in business, nothing’s gonna kill you. Nothing’s gonna kill you. You’re selling products. If you’re afraid of these fears, if you’re afraid of something, just go on and do it. And then quickly, you’re gonna start being comfortable with that fear. If you ask all the good salespeople, you’ll be like, “OK. What made you a great salesperson?” You probably won’t hear them saying, “Oh, I read this book or watched this talk.” It’s really about “I just go on and did it and got rejected. And I was able to overcome that fear and became good.”

Jia Jiang Going Scared

Jessica: So true. So true. OK. What is the next fear that you are conquering right now? How are you going scared in your life?

Jia: Yeah. Going back to my tech root, to build my app, is a fear that I’m overcoming. And as always, every day, I was like, “Will people wanna use this? Does it help people? Am I gonna build something that people are now gonna gain traction?” And this is the fear that is very common with entrepreneurs especially when they’re trying to build tech products. I continue to use this as a motto for myself, which is, if every failure … every time there’s something that goes wrong — and there’s a lot of things that are going wrong — they become opportunity for me to improve this product. They become the opportunity for me to make this the ultimate thing.

And also, it’s actually really helping people. And my heart is at the right place, and people are responding to it the right way. That’s why I’m having a great time despite all the fears and also the risks.

Jessica: That’s so great. I love that. And I know the growth mindset is a bit cliché, but I think sometimes the things that become cliché are the things that are most true. I mean, I’ve been an entrepreneur now for nine plus years, and yet, I still need to be reminded of these principles. If we have a dip in our business, I can go into total fear or I can go into failure. Like, “I’m a failure. We didn’t grow this month. That means I’m a failure.” Instead of saying, “What did I learn? What am I learning? What can I do differently next month?” You’re right. That is what gives you fun along the way. And if you quit having fun, then you’re not gonna get out there.

Jia: Yeah, absolutely. Focus on … having fun is so important. Entrepreneurship is hard enough. Doing, whether it’s a service or product that people need, is hard. But if you’re not having fun, if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing and enjoying the people you are doing this with, then that becomes even harder to a point that’s meaningless. So, you gotta enjoy this yourself to be able to make meaningful progress.
“Having fun is so important. Entrepreneurship is hard enough. Doing, whether it’s a service or product that people need, is hard. … So, you gotta enjoy this yourself to be able to make meaningful progress.” Jia Jiang

Jessica: I love this episode so much. In fact, this week, Noonday Collection Ambassadors and me are going to launch our own Rejection Therapy. We’re going to do some wild and crazy asks together because I believe that courage is contagious and that we are meant to be courageous in community. And I would challenge you, too. Where is rejection holding you back? What’s something that you can do today that gets outside of your comfort zone and shows you that you don’t need to be so afraid? And in fact, you probably are not going to die from getting rejected. Don’t let this fear hold you back anymore.

If you participate in this little self-experiment, I want to hear about it. Head over to Instagram @jessicahonegger—that is one N, two Gs—and let me know what you’re doing. DM me, leave a comment on my post today. I want to hear all about it. I would love for you to share this episode today, forward it to a friend, screenshot it and put it in your Stories. Also, if you haven’t left an iTunes review yet, I would love for you to leave a review. When you leave a review, more people get to find these sorts of conversations. Thanks so much for being a listener.

Before we go, I wanted to let you know that our music today is by my good friend Ellie Holcomb, Going Scared is produced by Eddie Kaufholz, and I’m Jessica Honegger. Until next time, let’s take each other by the hand and keep going scared.