From a really young age, we’ve been programmed to seek approval. Approval tells us that we are worthy and are on the “right track.”

We constantly try to get approval from others and do everything we can to avoid the opposite: rejection. This created a serious issue for those who seek to grow, create, and evolve to another level—they spend a lot of time doing nothing that could get them any disapproval or rejection, especially social rejection.

This week on The Life Coach School, we dissect this epidemic of being fearful of getting rejected in the world and how this stunts any forward movements in our journeys of self improvement. Tune in for this exploration of what is possible when you learn to deal with rejection and how you can get started today!

What you will discover

  • Why people-pleasers are so afraid of rejection and its resulting pain.
  • How to tell when you should let go of a friendship.
  • Why rejection is a necessary part of growth and how it helps grow our confidence in ourselves.
  • My tips and strategies for dealing with and managing rejection.
  • How perfectionism and wanting to prevent rejection stunts your full potential.

Featured on the show

Episode Transcript

Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it's all about real clients, real problems, and real coaching. Now, your host, master coach instructor, Brooke Castillo.

Well, hello, my beautiful friends. Hi, guys. What's happening? I am moving to Dallas, moving right outside of Dallas, actually. Yes, it's true. Why are we moving? Because we really want to move out of California because it's very expensive, very expensive to live here and we want to go to a state with no state income tax. Our business is thriving way more beyond our wildest dreams and imagination. We love change in our family. We've done a lot of it. We sat down with the family and said, "Hey, you guys in? Do you want to move somewhere new?" We went and checked out Dallas. We loved it. We found a gorgeous house. We are up and moving to Dallas.

We love our house here and I think some of you guys know if you've watched me on the webinars, I have taken this house and made it into just a gorgeous collection of moldings. I have crown molding and wainscot, everything everywhere so I'm very sad to leave this house and sad to leave my friends here, but really excited about a new adventure. I know that lots of you think I'm nuts, think I'm crazy, and you know what, I do know it's hot in Texas. Everyone wants to tell me that it's hot there. I got you. It is hot in Texas. We're building a pool and we're going to have air conditioning and we're going to handle the heat in Texas. So listen, if you live in Texas, if you live in the Dallas area, please email me and tell me everything, brooke@thelifecoachschool. Please tell me what I need to know, where all the cool restaurants are, where the best places to go. I would love, love, love to hear from you.

I do not know anyone in Texas. Actually, that's not true. I don't know anyone in Dallas. My cousin lives right outside of Dallas and I'm really excited to know him, but we would love to know you if you live there, so we're super excited. We are in the process right now of just getting the house organized. I'm having someone come in and pack me and move me and take care of all the details, so I don't have to worry about all of the details of moving, but I still want to make sure that I'm not moving anything that I don't want to keep.

As you guys know, I'm a minimalist, so I have only stuff that I think is useful and that I love, otherwise I get rid of it, so I just went through all my books, I just went through all my papers. It's interesting, I was going through some papers that I had done three years ago with my coach. The first, the very first session that I had with him, he had us fill out a five-year plan, and where we were and where we wanted to go, and I just want to tell you that is some powerful stuff to look back on my vision for myself and to be exactly where I want to be in terms of that vision is really powerful.

I know that a lot of you are in Scholars or having that same experience where you set goals six months ago and you're now here and it makes your mind explode. I had someone just email me, they're like, "I can't believe I lost 25 pounds. I only wanted to lose 15 and I've lost 25, and I just feel like the possibilities are endless for me in my life," and I totally agree. If you're wondering what's possible for you, please write it down. Please, please, please write it down. Have a vision for your life. Live deliberately. Do not base your future on your past. You can explode your future beyond anything that you've ever created in your past.

Now, if you're not on my email list, you must get on my email list and you can do that by going to and opting in to anything that we have on there. We will send you what I call Friday Coach Like. Every Friday I send out a Friday Coach Like, which is basically a short message to remind you of something important. What I sent out this last Friday, so by the time you listen to this it would be last week, was something that I had written for my certified coaches. We do a Mastermind every year where we all get together and master our minds together. This year, I wrote some pieces for them, and this one I wrote with them in mind, but I also sent it out with my Friday Coach Like, so people in my email list could get it, and I want to also share it with you because I think it's important that we all remember this.

It's called Comfort Doesn't Change You. It keeps you the same. It pretends to be safe. Comfort too long is stagnation. Comfort prevents courage and pride. Comfort calls when things get scary. Comfort weakens us when overused. Comfort is best when it follows risk and hard work and a period of showing up. We appreciate our pillows so much more when our head hasn't been on it all damn day. You don't deserve comfort. You deserve better. That's my gift for you today, my friends.

Today we're talking about rejection. Super fun. We're working hard in Scholars on self-confidence this month, and so this is something that prevents us from having self-confidence. When you are afraid of being rejected, you will not feel confident because you will be in fear instead of in confidence.

I want to say that this has been a huge growth area for me recently. I am a people pleaser. I started off severely crippled by people pleasing. This is the way I was raised, but also the way I chose to deal with my childhood. I got into a pattern of people pleasing and just continued to do it throughout my life. It's important to remember my theory that people pleasers are liars and the only reason I can say that is because I was a people pleaser for so long that I know how often I lied and said I wanted to do something when I didn't, said I liked something when I didn't like it just to please the other person.

I have since stopped doing that. I'll say that I really made a turn when I started setting boundaries and risked rejection from those boundaries. Now if you guys have listened to my podcast for a while, you know that boundaries are always something that we do for ourselves, and a lot of times when we need to set boundaries, it's because we haven't been telling the truth, and so people don't know that they're even crossing into our boundaries. When I had to reset boundaries and risk that rejection, I had to choose my truth over people pleasing, and it was excruciatingly hard.

I'm working with a lot of you in Scholars who are struggling with the same thing, where you want to please other people and so you are really struggling with the idea of not doing that and risking that rejection. If that's you, this podcast is for you, and I just want you to know that I'm in that same place and doing a lot of work on that same thing right now as we speak. I used to have this issue where I wanted to bring everybody along with me. What I mean by that is, as I got successful in my own right, in my own business, I wanted to bring everyone along with that success, so I wanted everyone to be able to enjoy all the fruits of that success and all the benefits of that success. That sounds like a wonderful thing. It sounds like a generous thing, but what it was doing was actually harming me and the people that I was bringing along.

I did a Mastermind and one of the participants of the Mastermind told me you're not bringing them along, you're dragging them along, and you have to not do that for yourself and for them. In my mind, what that meant was that I would have to risk rejection. One of my first thoughts that I found when it came to my own life that I really had to work on through the model was, "If I get too big, I won't have any friends. No one will love me if I get too big and too successful." That's kind of an illogical thought. I did some work on it and realized that if I don't become who I meant to be, then none of my friends will be true friends anyway because they won't really know who I am, fulfilling my potential. That is something that I'm always trying to prevent. I'm always trying to prevent people who will reject me because of my success.

Now, people don't consciously reject me because of my success. They don't say, "I don't want to be your friend anymore because you're so successful." That's not what happens, but here's what happens. This is what I've been noticing in myself and in my own growth recently is that as I work through what I'm required to work through to become that next best version of myself, I change so much. Even just thinking about it's been almost two years since I quit drinking completely and don't have any interest in alcohol, and what I've noticed is that I went through a lot of change in order to become the person that didn't drink and didn't want to drink, but then I've also gone through a lot of change being that person.

A lot of people that I used to go out and have cocktails with, a lot of people that I used to drink with, basically, I have less in common with and I relate to in a different way and I experience in a different way, and I enjoy spending time with them in different ways. Some of those friendships really have not survived that change. I get this question a lot from my scholars. It's, "So how do you know when to let go of a friendship?" because I'm always teaching that we should love everyone before we leave them kind of thing. We should love our jobs, love our husbands, love our situations before we make a change and I do absolutely believe in that.
But I also believe that some relationships complete themselves and that's the way I like to describe it. It's not that a relationship is over. I don't think you need to delete people from your life, but I feel like some relationships have a season and some relationships complete themselves. You can see this, for some of you, you can see this in jobs, like some of you will have a job and you'll be really close to someone in that job but when you leave the job, you don't really have anything in common with them outside of the job so you don't remain friends. I think that's true with other areas of our life where it's not like you hate each other, it's not like you delete each other, it's just you don't spend any time together outside of work and so when you don't have that job, it's not really a natural progression for that relationship to continue.

I have felt that way with some of my friendships in terms of my changing and my developing myself into someone who is vastly different than I was a few years ago. Some of you have been along on this ride with me, right? You've listened to the podcast the whole time and maybe you liked me better two years ago, maybe you like me better now, maybe for some of you it doesn't seem different, but I am completely different. I'm completely transformed into a new version of myself and I really like myself a lot better and I want that to continue. I want to continue liking myself as I continue to grow.

I remember just recently I went to a conference called Traffic & Conversion Summit and Ryan Deiss, who was speaking, he was the keynote speaker, it was his event, and he was talking about how when your business grows, you typically change the people that were with you in the beginning, typically can't make it with you until the end as you grow. He'll say the staff that you have at a million will not be the same staff you have at a hundred million. It's a completely different staff. I think in some ways that is true because the skills that you require are different and what you need at a million is different than what you need at a hundred million and all those sort of things, but I also think it depends on if the people grow with you and if they change right along with you and if they're on that cutting-edge of their own self-development, then I think it could be all of the same people.

I was talking to Chris about this, my husband about this, in terms of his feeling about me growing and changing so much. One of the things that he said is that he feels like our relationship works because he's constantly growing and changing too. I think, "Whoa, that really is true." He wants to be on the next cutting-edge of his own life and his own development and who he is too, so I feel like we grow together and that's what's made our relationship work and that's what's made our friendship work. That's true for many of our friends that I share my life with. We're all constantly growing in new ways that can relate to each other in different ways as we develop together.

I'm going to bring that all the way back to rejection. I think sometimes when you've outgrown a relationship, it can be challenging because you don't want to leave that person behind, you don't want to reject them, you don't want to feel rejected, but I think the fear of rejection is one of those things that cause us becoming who we want to be in our life. If you've ever heard someone say, "You've changed," like I had someone say to me the other day, "Well, I know you're just so interested in your business right now." I'm like, "I totally am. I love my business. I love working with scholars. I love what we're doing in my company. I love my employees." She had said it kind of like it was derogatory for me to love my business and I feel like in that situation it's an indicator. What do you mean by that? What are you thinking about me and my business and my thoughts about it? It's really interesting, and so I encourage you guys to think about that in terms of your own life and how much of your life are you spending avoiding rejection.

Now, the fear of rejection is a primitive fear, right, because it keeps us in the cave, is what it does, because we don't want to be rejected from the group. The group is what's going to keep us alive, that connection is so important, so being ostracized from a group, being rejected from a group is in our brain the same as death. If you think about when you were in high school, you lived probably, if you're anything like most of us, you spent your entire high school year excruciatingly afraid of being rejected by the popular people, by the clique groups, by everybody there, and so many of us just rejected ourselves ahead of time. We kept ourselves away from any possibility of rejection. We didn't talk to the popular kids or the boy that we would have like to hang out with, or the friends that we wanted to make.
We would hide, or maybe we had an experience where we did get rejected and then we spent the rest of our life trying to stay away from that. But it's primitive. We're wired to belong and be part of a pack for survival, and oftentimes rejection, as we were evolving, could have meant that there was something wrong with us or even death. "Stay away from us, you're sick. You're not going to survive. We have to leave you behind," that sort of thing. That's like a huge fear for most of us. It's very primitive.

We are programmed at a very young age to seek approval and approval lets us know we're on the right track and that we're worthy and that we aren't going to be rejected by the people that we are dependent on for our survival. This goes back to that people-pleasing thing. We don't want to stand out, we don't want to lose the approval and risk the rejection of the people that we feel dependent on. When we aren't getting approval, we spend a lot of time trying to get it. We protect ourselves by hiding and doing nothing that could get us any disapproval or rejection. I want you to think about that. How much time do you spend doing nothing, rejecting yourself ahead of time so you don't have to risk being rejected in the world? This is widespread. This is a serious issue for anyone who wants to grow and evolve and create. Any time you create something, you risk rejection. You risk haters. You risk losing approval.

This goes back to the episode that we did last week where, remember, self-confidence comes from your willingness to experience any emotion, no matter how terrifying it is. One of the main things that we need to risk experiencing is rejection. Now a lot of my scholars will ask me, "So how do I prevent rejection? How do I make it so I won't get rejected?" I think that's the wrong question because you can almost guarantee that if you step out as who you're going to be in the world, that someone will reject you. You guys have heard me use the example that there are people who reject peaches. It doesn't matter how juicy the peach is, doesn't matter how delicious the peach is, there's always going to be some people that don't like peaches.

There is always going to be a slew of people that don't like you. The only way I know of preventing that rejection is hiding and not letting anyone see you. People can't reject you when they don't see you, but as soon as you put yourself out there, as soon as you expose your ideas, your talent, your art, your contribution to the world, you can plan on probably 30% of the world rejecting it, ignoring it, not being interested in it, and hating it, hating on it, so you have to be willing to experience that in order to have the self-confidence you need to put yourself out there in the world.

Now imagine a life where you aren't afraid of being rejected. Imagine it. What would that be like for you? What would you be doing right now that you aren't doing? We often value approval over doing our work in the world. We're unwilling to take the risk. This vague sense of rejection is very subjective and we need to define it and take responsibility for it if we ever want to overcome it. Think about everyone, "everyone." It's a vague way of us describing a few people who are typically nameless and we take action or inaction trying to control and get approval from them. "Everyone will hate me. Everyone will think it's dumb. Everyone thinks I'm just ordinary. No one will pay any attention or give their approval." Rejection is often just in our own mind. It's something we create without even evaluating the facts, or even worse, without even trying.

The answer for dealing with rejection is self-confidence. What I mean by that is it's your willingness to feel it. Bring it on. Reject me. Bring it on. I am willing to be who I am. I know that that comes with it, the rejection. That is part of the deal and I'm all in. I will not reject myself in order to prevent rejection from other people. We have to be willing to lose someone's approval in order to gain our own. The pattern for so many of my clients is to seek other's approval and eliminate the possibility of other's rejection at their own expense. They simply reject themselves in order not to be rejected. It's so crazy because you're experiencing rejection anyway, you might as well experience rejection doing what you love, doing what you're meant to do, being who you are in the world. It's so crazy, but this is a spin many of us are in.

The solution, my friends, is to risk everyone's rejection but your own, to be willing to be hated by everyone if it means loving yourself and honoring your true desires. Of course, what happens when you do this is that you get outside approval so much more when you approve of yourself first no matter what. Other people always follow your lead. You are teaching them how to treat you. I want to promise you guys this: feeling rejected is really no big deal. Remember, any time you feel rejected, you are the one causing it by what you're thinking.

Think about the thought that causes it. Remember that rejection isn't something that happens to you and then you feel terrible. You have to think of thought to feel rejected. It's really important to know, because otherwise you are going to feel powerless. You're going to feel like someone else is causing it. Have you ever been rejected by someone about something and it didn't hurt at all? Someone tried to make you feel rejected and it didn't work? Yeah, right? This proves my point. Rejection is a feeling caused by a thought, so notice the vibration and how it feels. This no big deal is really running your life.

If someone rejects you, you never even have to feel rejected. Notice how different your life would be if you didn't have the fear of being rejected. So I want you guys to recognize this as the primitive fear than it is. Don't hold if against you, but notice that self-confidence will come from your willingness to be rejected. People pleasers aren't willing to be rejected and perfectionists try to prevent it. So when you try and prevent yourself from being rejected by having no typos and having it be perfect and having it be lovely and having everybody love it all of the time, when you try and prevent rejection, you prevent yourself from putting your work out into the world at the level you could be doing it because you're so terrified. Then when somebody finds that typo or finds that thing wrong with it or makes an argument against it, you're devastated.

What I want to encourage you to do is say, "I am willing to be rejected. I am willing to hear no. I'm willing to put myself out there and ask the question and have someone say no a hundred times, not just once. I'm willing to have thousands of haters if it means I'm able to help thousands of people." That is the risk you take when you are willing to be self-confident and put yourself out there in the world. A lot of us don't want to be self-confident because when we're self-confident, we take action. When we take action, we risk rejection. So please, if I could beg of you anything, it is be willing to be rejected hard. Take that risk because if you're willing to be rejected, that is the best place to find your own approval. Because instead of rejecting yourself ahead of time, you will actually be creating the exact life you want to create.

If you look at everyone who's famous, everybody who's creating amazing things in the world, putting themselves out there on stage, they are risking tremendous public ridicule and they do it anyway because it's worth it. Just because someone rejects you doesn't mean anything. It doesn't tell us anything about you. It tells us everything about the person rejecting you. Rejection is a feeling that you only feel when you think a thought in your mind. Go out there and be willing to be rejected. The more willing you are, the more self-confidence you will have. Have a gorgeous, wonderful week. I'll talk to you guys next week. Take care. Bye-bye.

Hey, if you enjoy listening to this podcast, you have to come check out Self-Coaching Scholars. It's my monthly coaching program where we take all this material and we apply it, we take it to the next level and we study it. Join me over Make sure you type in the "the", T-H-E, I'd love to have you join me in Self-Coaching Scholars. See you there.

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