As I was reading “Rejection Proof- How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection” by Jia Jiang I knew I wanted to write an article about rejection and ADHD.
But I also knew this would not be an easy topic to write about. I wondered, “How would I write an article that really speaks to the range of Adults with ADHD who deal with rejection?”
Like many other self-help books, Jiang’s advice seems sensible, straightforward and somewhat simple to implement.
Yet, like many other ideas you’ve tried to put into practice after reading a self-help book, you would likely not have an easy time putting his ideas into operation in your own life and getting the results you want.
While it is unlikely you can go through a 100 days of rejection and come out the other side fearless and invincible, you can still learn to manage rejection in your life!
But, as an adult with ADHD, your approach will likely be different.
And that is ok…
ADHD and Rejection-Sensitive Dysphoria
To start consider how you have historically responded to rejection by answering this question:
“For your entire life have you always been much more sensitive than other people you know to rejection, teasing, criticism, or your own perception that you have failed or fallen short?”
If you are like many other adults with ADHD, you may have answered, “Yes!!”
It is possible you have a condition called rejection-sensitive dysphoria, which Dr. William Dodson notes is the “ADHD nervous system’s instantaneous response to the trigger of rejection.”
In the short run, as Dodson notes, this condition can lead to depression and rage.
In the long run, he points out, people who suffer from this condition may become people pleasers or avoid people or activities in order to steer clear of potential rejection.
If you think you may have this condition, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment, which may include medication, therapy and coaching.
The key is not to minimize the challenges you have with rejection. So, as you consider steps you can take on your own, consider also whether you need support to reach your potential!
Failing is Different
The first step in the journey to managing rejection in your life is to understand how rejection differs from failing.
When you fail you tried and did not accomplish what you set out to do. Maybe it was:
- running a mile in a certain time.
- raising a specific amount for a charity.
- reaching the revenue projection in your business.
As you look back at these failures you can choose to analyze the reasons for the failure and create a plan to help you succeed in the future.
Rejection is an Opinion
But you have less control over rejection. You can analyze. You can plan. But you may still be rejected.
Because rejection is often a matter of opinion.
- You have great credentials. You spent days preparing for the interview, even writing out answers to potential questions. The interview seemed to go really well. But you didn’t get the job.
- You seem to have a lot in common. The conversation seemed to flow easily at the party… And so you ask the person out on a date. They say, “No.” Ouch!
- You have a great business plan. You reach out to someone in your network to invest in your business. They are not interested.
In each case, perhaps, you did all you could to put your best foot forward. Yet, you were rejected.
Yes, it is an opinion. But it is also not so easy to slough off when it feels personal.
How do you respond to rejection?
Responding To Rejection
How you decide to address rejection in your life and whether you take steps on your own or in concert with outside support will depend on your “particular flavor” of sensitivity to rejection.
So, as you consider using the strategies below, also think about what resources you might need to be able to execute on the ideas effectively.
As I often say, the ideas may sound simple, but may not be so easy to carry out.
If possible, ask why they turned you down. Armed with this information you may be able to alter your request to get a “yes.”
If you can’t get what you want in that particular context, you may be able to use this information to get what you want in a different context (person, place etc.).
Ask For Less
Rather than turning tail and giving up, ask for something less / different than your original request. Maybe receiving a “yes” to this lesser request is better for you than a flat out “no.”
Make the Same Request, But…
Maybe you decide your request is fine. You don’t want to make a lesser / different request.
Rather, you may decide you just need to go elsewhere. Ask a different person. Go to a different place. Make the request under different conditions. You get it.
Keep on Asking!
Sometimes, it is just a numbers game. If you ask enough times, you may find someone who will say, “Yes.”
Dropping the request can certainly be the best strategy at times, for sure.
Other than dropping the request, what other strategy have you used to address rejection in your life?
Who Can Help You?
So now you may have questions or thoughts, like:
- “Can I really do that?”
- “How do I do that?!”
- “I don’t think I can do that on my own…”
There are many people out there who can support you, such as the examples below.
If you suffer from rejection-sensitive dysphoria, you may be best served initially by a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist who can help you address your dysfunctional thought patterns and associated emotions that contribute to this condition and your other ADHD symptoms.
An ADHD Coach can also help you address your fear of rejection, as well as help you craft and implement a plan to address specific areas where you are being rejected.
You may find you need a content expert, such as a career counselor or business coach, to get past types of rejection that occur in their areas of expertise.
Maybe you just need the help of a close friend or family member…
What kind of support do you need to deal with rejection in your life?
Question for You
What is the next step you are going to take to become more rejection proof?