What’s The Worst That Could Happen?

by Shira Tober

shrug How many opportunities in life pass us by because we are too afraid to take a chance?  How many times do we see someone we want to start a conversation with but we don’t say “hi” for fear of rejection?

Here are a few times we can hesitate to act while in college for fear of rejection:

Studying Abroad:  I didn’t sign up because I didn’t want to miss anything on campus.  What if my clubs/ organizations fall apart without me?  What if they survived and thrived without me?

Leadership Elections:  I didn’t apply because I didn’t want my application to be laughed at if there were more qualified candidates.  I didn’t want to make a speech in front of a group of people if I am not guaranteed to get the position.

Even something as simple as Office Hours: I didn’t go because I didn’t want my professor to think I was stupid.  What if he/she lowered my grade?

It’s not just in college where we stall because we are too afraid:

Dream Job:  I didn’t apply for my dream job because there’s no way I am qualified.  There are so many other better people who are going to submit application materials.

Dream Girl/Guy:  He/she is way out of my league; there’s no way he/she will see me as marriage material.  I’ll just walk away before his/her friends start making fun of me.

Fear of rejection is one of the most debilitating emotions that can run, rule, and ruin our lives.  But I say, not acting on our wants and desires (because of the fear of rejection) is an even worse fate.  So here’s the challenge, rather than thinking about the beginning (i.e. I won’t even try because I’m scared of what will happen ), focus on the end (i.e. what’s the worst that can happen? ).

  • What’s the worst that can happen? I don’t get this job.  Oh well, at least my resume is updated, I’ve made a new business contact and I got to practice my interview skills.
  • What’s the worst that can happen?  He/she doesn’t go out with me.  Oh well, he/she wasn’t actually my soul mate and do I really want to be with a person whose friends make fun of brave souls that put themselves out there?
  • What’s the worst that can happen? That person won’t be impressed by me.  That person won’t think I’m cool. Not a huge deal… there’s lots of other people. If I approach them, am curious, generous, and authentic, at least I’m giving myself a chance.
  • What’s the worst that can happen?  They won’t want to join my group. I’ll ask them. I’ll share stories with them about how it changed my life and it can change theirs too.  I’ll probably ask them again.  If they don’t join, at least I gave them a chance.

So yeah, with those last two bullet points, this post is very related to recruitment.  Here’s specifically how the saying, "What’s the worst that could happen?" relates to Social Excellence and Dynamic Recruitment .

GENEROSITY:  When we are being generous in our interactions with others, we are no longer focused on our insecurities because we are focused on making a better experience for those around us.  What’s the worst that can happen?  He/ she has a bad time in this conversation.  I am going to focus on providing a positive, meaningful experience for  him/her.  When we think about others rather than ourselves we no longer fear rejection because we aren’t battling the internal struggle, we or focusing on the external interaction. Generosity is the antidote to fear of social rejection. Focus 100% of your energy on being generous and there is no mathematical room for fear to exist.

DYNAMIC RECRUITMENT:  There are many steps and benchmarks in the Dynamic Recruitment process before we extend bids.  We get to know one another, have great conversations, share about our fraternity/sorority experience, and have conversations about what it means to be a member and what’s expected of members.  What’s the worst that can happen?  He/she doesn’t accept a bid.  But, if we are following the steps in Dynamic Recruitment and pre-closing or defining the relationship (DTR), we are only extending bids to individuals who are prepared to accept – the opposite of rejection.

There’s no guarantee that it’s always going to work out… but, really, what’s the worst that could happen?