Jia Jiang, an entrepreneur, blogger, TED speaker and an author joins ASBN to chat about his book Rejection Proof and the experiment that inspired the book. Jia is an expert in facing and handling rejection and has great advice for entrepreneurs that struggle with rejection in business. You can find Jia’s TedTalk that has received over 4 million views on Ted.com.
Joe Gumm: Jia Jiang is an entrepreneur, a blogger, a TED speaker, and an author of the book Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection. He is also the founder of rejectiontherapy.com Jia thanks for taking the time to join us here on the Atlanta Small Business Network.
Jia Jiang: Thank you for having me.
Joe Gumm: Okay, you have based your entire business brand around the subject of rejection, why are you so passionate about this topic?
Jia Jiang: Because this is really one of the oldest and most universal fears we have as human beings. It doesn’t matter the culture, doesn’t matter your career, doesn’t matter what you do, people are afraid of rejection. And because of that fear we tend to stay in our comfort zone, we tend not to try stuff, we try to just do that same thing we do every day and hopefully we’ll get succeed, but people don’t understand is, because that fear they lose so much opportunity if you don’t try new things.
Joe Gumm: Yeah, no doubt about that. You’re so right on that. Well, for your book Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection, you took on one embarrassing act each day for 100 days. Give us some examples of that and how sort of it implies or applies to small business owners.
Jia Jiang: Yeah, I would come up with what I call rejection request where I would walk up to strangers and for example, I would ask for $100 from a stranger, just on the street. And sometimes after having a burger, a lunch, and I will ask for a burger refill. And I would knock on a stranger’s house and I had a soccer ball in my hand and I would just ask, “Hey can I play soccer in your backyard?” And when I’m flying, when I’m traveling I would talk to the agent and flight attendant I want to see if I can give the safety announcement instead of them. So, this kind of a thing that’s really off the wall request that for sure I was going to get rejected.
Jia Jiang: But the thing is what happened is, people started saying yes to me. Once I loose the fear, at the beginning I was very afraid I thought this is so embarrassing. But that fear, that embarrassment goes away really quickly. I started to learn how I can actually negotiate and get people to say yes to me while maintaining a truthful and authentic, and people started to say yes to me. I think that really applies in business, and negotiation, and also in life.
Jia Jiang: Just because again a lot of times we don’t try things. We think, “Oh for sure,” whether it’s a business deal or it’s a request, we’re going to get rejected. But if you just don’t ask, the thing is you become your own rejecter. In fact, we think rejection is so terrible, but we’re our worst rejecter. We reject ourselves all the time before other people have a chance to say no to us. So, how it applies to business is you know if you’re going to get rejected, let someone else reject you don’t reject yourself.
Joe Gumm: Yeah exactly. Okay, so Jia what was the biggest challenge in that experiment? Because some of the people in my circle, friends and family, some of the biggest rejecters are family and are friends. And they’re so easy to do that. So did you find that challenging at all? Did you involve family or friends?
Jia Jiang: Yeah, not in 100 Days Rejection, but with everything else I do. It really does apply in family and friends as well. I’ve got this ask all the time people are saying, “The requests you are making are to strangers, what about someone you care about? Or someone cares about you?. How do you make a request without undermining the relationships?” It really does apply.
Jia Jiang: For example, some of the things I learned in my own experiment is if you ask in the right way, if you could give people the freedom to say no to you, and you’ve let them know that what you’re asking could be a big favor, and it’s okay for them to say no. Then you can ask anything you want. If you don’t put the people in a corner, don’t people on the spot and tell them, “Hey, I’m just asking for a favor. It’s okay if you can’t do this, but it’d be great if you could do this, it would help me a lot.”
Jia Jiang: And then also you learn to give. You learn to give and you learn to have this sense of reciprocity. I help you, you help me. That actually strengthens relationships. In fact, I often tell people, “If you really need something, if you need help, if there’s someone close to you and you don’t ask them for help it actually does not help your relationship if they find out they didn’t ask you for help.” So, I think people should ask. I think people should not be afraid of rejections, whether it’s from a strangers and friends.
Joe Gumm: Okay, how can this book Jia help small business owners who find themselves struggling with doubt in their lives and work, because I’m sure alongside the word rejection there’s also another R word, regret.
Jia Jiang: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. I think rejection and regret really come in parallel. A lot of times we are so afraid of rejection because we feel something so negative, as is right here. But us avoiding a negative is almost as if we’re achieving net positive. We’re not asking, we’re staying in our comfort zone, we’re happy. But the thing is, over the long run though what you have is if you don’t ask for things, regret will come in. When we look back five years in the past, 10 years in the past, maybe 20 years in the past, we’re like, “Wow we should have just asked. We should have tried. We should have just taken that risk and not be afraid of hearing the no from people.” Now I didn’t get a chance to do it. So, over long term regret is so much worse than rejection.
Joe Gumm: So recently you’ve been conducting additional research for an ad designed around the fear of rejection, tell us about that and how it could benefit entrepreneurs.
Jia Jiang: Absolutely. I think the fear of rejections one of the most universal fears of all human beings. We have a lot of new apps that are out there, maybe you’ve heard those meditation apps like Headspace. Those apps will help you to calm down and during the time of stress it will help you to actually meditate. So, there are a lot of apps that can help people with their meditation, also your maybe brain training, like Lumosity.
Jia Jiang: But there’s not an app that actually help you become more courageous. And that’s what I want to do. I’ve got emails from so many people around the world sharing stories with me about how they increase their business because they setup their own 100 Days oF Rejection. Some people got out of depression, some people started new podcasts, some people found the love of his life. There’s actually I got invited by a guy to he said, “After the 100 Days of Rejection I found the love of my life.” And he’s inviting me to his wedding, which is really cool. But these type of stories that I hear them a lot and I get inspired by them, but I don’t have something that people can use and make it personal, personally accessible so they can use it with their phone and they can set their own rejection requests and track them, and get tips from me. So, that’s what I want to do with this app.
Joe Gumm: All right so when is the app scheduled to launch and tell us how people can get it.
Jia Jiang: Yeah, so if you actually just go to rejectiontherapy.com, go to the top and you’ll see a popup box saying you can enroll in being a Beta Tester. So, I’m in the Beta Testing stage right now. We plan to launch in about a couple months, but if you want to try now if you want to get this rejection request and get these tips from me, and motivation from me every day, once per day, go to my website, you’ll find the box.
Joe Gumm: All right. And Jia tell us about any other work you’re doing to help overcome in others the fear of rejection.
Jia Jiang: Yeah, so if you are just too busy or if you just want to get some inspiration really understanding what the story is, there are some basic tips about how to overcome your fear of rejection and see how you can not miss these opportunities in life. And then when you hear the word no from people, what do you do? What are some things you can do? You can go to my website and we’ll have modern resource for you, rejectiontherapy.com or if you’re busy like we all are go to TED.com and search rejection, you’ll find my talk and it’s 50 minutes, you’ll hear a lot of things. It’s actually one of the most popular TED talks of 2017.