Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Stop Self Selecting: A Guide to Staying in the Room

self selecting

“It’s easier to reject me than have someone else reject me.”  No one needs to reject us, we do it ourselves. Countless people reject themselves for an opportunity, job, contract, relationship before anyone else even weighs in. They believe they will be rejected, so they beat them to the punch. I’ll do it before they need to do it! They self select, before the true selection process even begins.


Fear, insecurity, and even ego prevent people from taking risks,  pursuing their goals, or even simply just staying in the arena. People often reject themselves before anyone else can. And this doesn’t just remove them from the running, it damages their confidence.


I hear people tell stories about rejection- that are often not true complete rejection. They thought they read the tea leaves – and removed themselves early. 


It is not only about doing the work, putting in the reps. It is about showing up and STAYING. No matter what.


Let me tell you about Clark. He’s a successful business owner in my area and has excellent business acumen. He is an insightful and compassionate leader focused on doing well in his business and the world. But he had a habit of only playing games he knew he could win. Otherwise he would remove himself before anyone else could.


Here is where it really came to a head. Clark had the opportunity to buy a competitor. It was pretty much a dream acquisition and a great opportunity, but he told me he wasn’t even going to fly down and have the discussion with them. 


I asked “What is the problem?” 


He shook his head, “There is no way. I would need to have at least $3M liquid to be a part of the deal.”


And just like that, Clark was out.

There was a finality in his voice. A “it wasn’t meant to be” feel.

I called bullshit.


“How do you know you need to come up with 3M before you fly down there?”


He explained, with some fuzzy math, and how he had sorta arrived at that answer. But– no one had told him he needed the 3 million dollars to enter the negotiations. No one said “Now listen here Clark- you gotta strap 3M to your body or we aint letting you in the room. The rules are the rules.”


He did that on his own. He self-selected. He rejected himself before anyone else had the opportunity.


Clark’s fear was at bat. His insecurities were clouding his judgement, and his ego manipulated the situation — and we all do this.


He is not unique in this regard. We all have a story, as to why something isn’t available to– “someone like me”. I wrote an entire podcast on this topic of Someone Like Me (more on that soon…) but our excuses are known. Well rehearsed and always available.


What were his?

I asked.


-He was worried that the other players in his space were much larger. They were.


-More experienced. Maybe.


-But once we dug a little deeper—more “professional”.  Huh?

When I asked what he meant by this, he said “They wear suits to work. I wear old band t-shirts from the 90s.” 

There. It. Was.

He didn’t want to show up to the negotiations, and get rejected because he didn’t fit in. He didn’t look the part. He wasn’t enough.

Was that really going to happen?


Here is the truth tea—maybe. Maybe he’d be rejected. And maybe it would be as bad as he feared- that they would laugh and say “You don’t have nearly enough money! You are too small. Oh, and your Smashing Pumpkins shirt is lame.”

But it is always better to take the shot and miss, than never take the damn shot because you might miss.

Now it seems obvious here as I talk about Clark that he should have gone. That just because he didn’t look the same as the others in his industry and wasn’t as big, that he shouldn’t at least see what would be required for the sale. Here is where I remind us that WE ALL DO THIS. Every last one of us.

Where are you rejecting yourself before someone else can?

Some of us hide it better than others, but many of us don’t enter a game we aren’t sure we can win.


Where are YOU doing that? It may be in business, or it may be in your personal life.  


  • A dating app?
  • Submitting a manuscript?
  • A high-profile speaking opportunity?
  • Not applying to the job or RFP that feels like a stretch?

Does the hiring manager not need to tell you no because you have already done it yourself? Will you not get a rejection email for a #TedTalk because you never submitted it?


The truth is, we don’t need anyone to tell us no. We already do it to ourselves… until now. Two of the most powerful words in the English language—UNTIL NOW.

I challenge you to get 100 rejections.

The solution to overcoming self-rejection and self-sabotage is to challenge yourself to take the shots and take the risks. Face your fears of rejection and normalize failure because it is just a feedback loop. One more data point so you can make better decisions next time. Embracing failure is a natural part of the learning process, and you will become more resilient in the face of rejection. Yours or someone else’s.

Here are the steps to overcome self-rejection and sabotage to achieve success:

1.    Recognize your self-rejection and sabotage patterns: Reflect on the areas of your life where you tend to reject yourself before anyone else has the chance to do so. This can be in your career, relationships, or your personal life.

2.    Challenge yourself: Make a game out of challenging yourself to get 100 rejections. Applying for jobs, sales calls, proposals, submitting a manuscript, or applying for that big speaking opportunity. Stop saying no because “they will probably say no.” Find out for sure.

3.    Keep score: Put it on a board or in a journal and track your rejections. This will help you stay motivated and see it as a game, not a hit to your worth.

4.    Separate emotion from rejection: When you receive a rejection, don’t attach emotional baggage to it. When emotions get the best of you, remember this saying:

You can’t reject me; only I can reject me.

View the rejection as a data point that can help you learn and grow.

Self-rejection and self-sabotage are challenging to overcome, but with the right mindset and approach, you will crush it under your boot. Embrace failure as a natural part of the learning process and challenge yourself to get 100 rejections. Remember, don’t reject yourself – allow yourself to succeed or learn.


As for what happened to Clark? His story had quite a twist. At the last minute, he decided not to let fear dictate the course, and he flew down to the negotiations. Come to find out he didn’t need to raise $3M right away. By still moving ahead this became one of the most significant opportunities in his company’s history. And to think, he almost did not walk into that room.

Never remove yourself early.

Let them shove you out if need be but stop self selecting. You deserve to be here.


I’m glad you came.


Are you interested in learning more on how to stop self sabotage and reach the next level?


Connect with me at my next free live event. Let’s talk


This article first appeared on April Garcia’s LinkedIn profile:

#pivotme #entrepreneurship #businessgrowth #businessgrowthtips #businessdevelopment

Leave a comment

Ready to take control of your growth journey?

Explore our self-paced instructional videos, worksheets, recordings, and articles tailored to address your specific needs. If you're not quite ready for personalized coaching but crave more Time, Money, Influence, Growth, and Success, then this DIY option is perfect for you.