Back in 2010, when I decided that I would create the Courageous Living Program, I went over to my book shelf and quietly took every book from every personal growth writer I’d ever loved off of the shelf. These were the books that had meant the world to me. Changed me. Given me the inspiration to write my own permission slip. Reminded me that I could go on when I was mired in my own self-doubt.
I took those books over to my computer, began searching for contact information, and then wrote simple, straightforward emails asking if I could interview each person about their work.
Every.Single.Time. that I pressed “send,” I felt my hands shake. There was nothing easy about this process. The first email was definitely the hardest, and subsequent emails were less hard–but at no time did the process feel easy.
I kept going only because I really believed in the program and how it could help people, and because I didn’t want to be too afraid to ask . I figured that the only thing holding me back would be if I was too afraid to ask , and that wasn’t an acceptable option.
After all, I reminded myself, if I wasn’t too afraid to ask then the worst that would happen is the person would say “no.”
And if they said “no”? I’d go right back to being the same person I’d been before I made the request. Someone saying “no” wasn’t going to cost me anything.
But being too afraid to ask? That would cost me, dearly.
We can’t do life, alone. We all know that, yet most of us try to get by on our own efforts, our own tiny will, because risking rejection can feel like too much. In that way, reaching out and being willing to ask is an initiation, of sorts. You become initiated into taking a stand for something that matters deeply to you, when you risk rejection.
As I write this, I’m months away from when my first book, The Courage Habit (New Harbinger Publications), will be out in the world. Once again, I’m needing to write emails and ask.
It still doesn’t feel easy, to ask. Every “yes” is one piece of the larger puzzle of getting this book out into the world. The “yes” responses will add up to make a formidable difference in this book’s life.
But, I keep reminding myself: The worst that can happen, is they say “no.” The odds are that you’ll survive rejection.
And, I say “yes” to this project. I say yes, I say yes, I say yes. And my own “yes” is the most important yes.
If you get the sacred yes that you wish for, of course it will open doors. But I try to remember: the “no” doesn’t usually mean as much as we think it will, and the “yes” will only feel good to the degree that we are fully behind our own work.
Rejection is survivable.
You, not being fully behind your own deepest dreams, to the point where you’re too afraid to ask? That’s what’s really tough. That’s not something we can get over, as easily. That’s why we need to do the (internal) work to connect with our courage and work through any fears of asking for help, or favors, endorsements, support, or camaraderie.
Let the initiation, begin.