Starting from "No": 10 Strategies to Overcome Your Fear of Rejection and Succeed in Business, by Azriela Jaffe
Dearborn, 262 pages, $17.95

The fear of rejection is often linked to the sales profession, but it can be debilitating in any field. Many people keep new ideas or innovative suggestions to themselves because they are afraid of having their ideas dismissed or of being humiliated in public.

In Starting from "No," Jaffe admits that one book won't make you strong enough to "withstand bullets of rejection without batting an eyelash." But, she writes, you can take steps to control your fear of rejection instead of letting it control you. Understanding what you really fear is a good first step.

What Do You Really Fear?

Most people have a root fear that feeds their fear of rejection, Jaffe writes. It might be a fear of failure because you're a perfectionist. It could be a fear of humiliation because you are self-conscious. Or a fear of not being liked.

Once you understand your real fear, you can do something to allay it. For example, if you have a fear of not being liked, Jaffe writes, create a close circle of friends and colleagues who offer emotional support and respect. Or keep a file of "fan mail" -- letters and e-mails of praise from friends or strangers -- handy to help you bounce back from painful criticism or rejection.

Other Suggestions

Other strategies for overcoming the fear of rejection include:

Keeping your pipeline full. You can accept rejection more calmly if you have eggs in many baskets. As Jaffe puts it, "Diminish your fear."

Focusing your efforts. If you try to sell to everybody, the rejections are bound to pile up. Focus on qualified prospects instead.

Finding your motivator. Highly motivated people can plow through rejections more easily. Know what motivates you and focus on that motivator during the tough periods.

As with many success books, some of the suggestions are easier written than done. Replacing negative "what-ifs" with positive "what-ifs" when contemplating a possible rejection is one example.

Although nothing is easy when it comes to fear, with the strategies of Starting from "No" in your arsenal, you'll at least be less likely to run from battle.

Copyright 1999 Soundview Executive Book Summaries