Last month, I had the opportunity to attend the 37th Annual International Collegiate Conference in New Orleans hosted by the American Marketing Association. I couldn’t pass up the chance to venture out of Fresno and learn new marketing skills while meeting new people.
The theme of the conference was “AMAze Yourself” (I love a clever tagline). My partner and I participated in a marketing strategies competition where we had 20 minutes to analyze and create a marketing plan for a new product. We then had seven minutes to present our case to a panel of judges who would decide if we moved on to the second round. Although we did not advance, it was a terrific learning opportunity and I would do it all over again.
Who impressed me the most was Jia Jiang, author of Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection. He is known for starting a blog chronicling 100 days of rejection through everyday life and the corporate world. His Krispy Kreme donut story has over five million hits on YouTube! If you haven’t watched it, I strongly suggest taking five minutes to do so. It’ll restore your faith in the goodness of beings:
Jia had a goal: get himself out of his comfort zone by facing rejection head on. He did this by asking complete strangers for favors and taking risks that had the chance of being rejected. One example he gave was knocking on a stranger’s door to ask to play soccer in his backyard. The stranger surprisingly said yes!
Jia related his trials and tribulations to the struggle of publishing his books and climbing the corporate ladder. A publishing company noticed his book after he was rejected time after time. Jia said that persistence was the key to his success and that nothing worthwhile ever comes easy.
His message was loud and clear: rejection is scary, but the fear of rejection is much scarier. Everyday we make our own decisions, whether it’s talking to the woman you’re eyeing across the room, or interviewing for your dream job. Growth stems from rejection, and risks are necessary in order to get what you want – even when it’s as small as asking for Olympic-shaped donuts.
Yes, it is scary to realize someone else’s decision is somewhat out of your control. My internship has taught me that risks must be taken everyday. The bottom line comes down to putting yourself out there, because you never know if this decision will be the best decision you’ll ever make.
Jia’s book, Rejection Proof, is now available. Check it out here!