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Entries categorized "Procrastination"

Fear of Trying - The Newsletter That Almost Wasn't

November, 200

Welcome to the first issue of 'Tips from The Queen of Rejection.'

1. Fear of Trying -The Newsletter That Almost Wasn't
2. Contacting Elayne
3. Privacy Notice and Subscription Information

Please forward this newsletter to your friends and
colleagues who would benefit from these tips.

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    By Elayne Savage, PhD

What a struggle it has been to write this e-letter! My dream turned out to be a surprisingly difficult challenge.

Tripping Over My Own Stumbling Blocks

I've wanted to produce this newsletter for such a long time. I've had this idea about offering useful tips for navigating frustrating personal and professional rejection encounters.

I've looked forward to sharing my observations on rejection, self-rejection and taking things personally.

But many months went by and I wasn't writing. Something was holding me back.

I was dragging my feet. I got sidetracked by every diversion that came along. I was even sorting through stacks of papers and cleaning out file cabinets.

I was tripping over my own stumbling blocks.

Why was this project becoming so difficult? I kept reminding myself, "Come on, Elayne, you've been speaking on rejection for all these years, you completed two books and lots of articles on the subject. You can do this."

But I wasn't doing it.

Something was interfering, displacing anticipation, eclipsing hope. Then I recognized the intruder. 

It was Fear.

The Fear Team Roars In

The Fear Team comes roaring onto the field led by The Fear of Rejection and its evil twin, the Fear of Failure. They're joined by the Fear of Success and the Fear of Being Visible.

Warming up on the sidelines is the Fear of Disappointment. Make no mistake about it, however. Fear of Rejection is the team leader, the foundation for all the other Fears. 

I hear voices in the background and stop to listen. The Fear Team brought along a rooting section. Well, that's OK. I have my own pep squad. 

Both sides try to out-shout each other: "You can't do it! You can't do it!" answered by "Yes, I can! Yes, I can!"

"I have lots to say on this subject!" "You have nothing to say!" "Lots!" "Nothing!" "Lots!" "Nothing!"

Opposing voices are swirling around in my head. Conflicting emotions are skirmishing with one another. This confusion makes me so anxious. I become immobilized.

The Queen Calls a Time Out

It's time to sort things out.  It's too hard to see options through this haze of confusion. When we're unable to make choices, we feel stuck. And when we're feeling so stuck, making choices becomes even more difficult.

Let's start with that exhausting tug-of-war between the voices. This ambivalence involves the presence of simultaneously conflicting thoughts, ideas or feelings.

Ambivalence is often influenced by the messages we hear in our early years. And I was running smack into a barrier of these self-sabotaging childhood messages:

   "What makes you think you can do that?" 

    "You're not going to succeed, why try?"

    "You're such a dreamer."  

    "Who are you?"
    "Who are you?"
    "Who are you?"

You, too, may have memories of admonitions received from parents, teachers, or peers. In the last twenty-five years,I've heard hundreds of poignant stories from my counseling and consulting clients.

Warnings like these are rejecting messages. They DISCOUNT, DISMISS and DIMINISH. Over time we begin to interpret these warnings as "Be careful." Caution like this isn't conducive to exploring new directions or writing first issues of newsletters.

Trying to sort it all out, I ask myself an important question:

"What do I fear this time?” 

   -Could I be comparing my proposed project to other newsletters
out there?


  -Might this involve making the commitment necessary to produce something regularly?

   Of Course.

  -Is this about putting words down on paper?


Struggling to Put Words on Paper

Putting something in writing - committing words to paper or computer screen — has always been a struggle. Even writing thank-you notes or notes of appreciation is difficult and gets delayed far too long.

The moment you hit the "send" button, you can't take it back.

Recently I confided my difficulty in putting words to paper to a few people.  To my amazement there was immediate recognition. "Yes!" each affirmed, "This is a huge problem. Putting words down for others to see feels like I'm making a commitment." And, they added, "I thought I was the only one with this problem."

I thought this was MY fear, MY incapacity, MY paralysis. I guess I'm not alone. Putting words on paper brings up all kinds of fears. It may be Fear of Rejection or Failure or Success for some. It may be Fear of Visibility or Disappointment for others. It may be all of them.

And to avoid the anxiety that these fears bring we creatively take are of ourselves by dealing with our ambivalence: 

  • Avoidance –Avoiding the pain of another rejection
  • Self-Sabotage - How might you sabotage yourself?
  • Procrastination – A great example of how fear of rejection leads to self-rejection
  • Perfectionism – If we do it ‘perfectly” no one can find fault.
  • Second-guessing ­– Self-doubt about decisions
  • Excuses/Rationalizations – What you tell yourself

And What About You?

You, too, have probably faced confusion or fear about taking on new challenges. I hope this story about my struggles benefits you. Just maybe a word or phrase helps you look differently at your situation.

When conflicting ideas led to uncertainty and confusion, calling a "time-out" with yourself let's you step away from the confusion and sort things out. As you understand your fear and ambivalence, you can see your options more clearly. Taking a step back can give you the space to move forward.   

The Voices Quiet Down

The voices of MY Fear Team are more subdued. They still try to taunt me, but I pay little attention:

    "You say you know just what to do. 
    We say you don't. So who are you?"

I'm discovering who I am as i go through the process of facing this challenge. I'm Elayne Savage. I finished writing the first issue of 'Tips from The Queen of Rejection.' And I just hit the "send" button!

To Be Continued

Next month: "Whispers and Roars-The Voices of Ambivalence" You'll learn Tips and tools for handling Ambivalence.

Upcoming issues will focus on such topics as Expectations and Disappointments, The Relationship between Rejection and Taking Things Personally, Difficult People, Messages Passed Down through the Generations, and Communication and Miscommunication.

Until next time,

© Elayne Savage, PhD

Elayne Savage is the author of relationship books published in 9 languages.


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The attribution should include this information:
Elayne Savage, Ph.D. is a communication coach, professional
speaker, practicing psychotherapist and author. To find out
more about her programs, and services visit
or call 510-540-6230.

6. Contacting Elayne

I welcome your feedback as well as suggestions for topics you'd
like to see addressed in this e-letter.

Here's how you can reach me:

Elayne Savage
510-540-6230, 2607 Alcatraz Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94708

7. Privacy Notice and Subscription Information

PRIVACY POLICY:  Your name and email address are confidential.
I will not rent, trade or sell your contact information to anyone.

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