A Pre-Challenge That Tests the Fear of Rejection


A friend of mine gave me an audacious pre-challenge last week: write to the ambassadors in the countries I will be visiting and ask for time to meet with them, and write to Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese leader and political prisoner, and also ask her for time to sit down.

I wondered why on earth people of this caliber would even consider sitting down with a young American traveler. He reminded me that it was quite rare for people like this to get letters from quirky American girls roaming the world and asking to hear about their experience and advice… and that I may be surprised by the results.

As I Google-stalked, wrote, re-wrote, and mailed, something shifted. This challenge became more about reflecting on the work of people whom I respect, and less about achieving a 30 minute spot on their calendars. It became more about connecting to the service they do on a daily basis, and less about the status they had achieved. It became more about a desire to learn and engage, and less about a fear of rejection.

So… what is it that holds us back from letting those that we admire know what an impact they have had on our lives? Why does the fear of rejection get in the way of the joy of connection? Why can “great achievement” act like a social barrier instead of a galvanizer and a mark of great service?

And now, my challenge to you: Write to that audacious person who has shaped your thinking, impacted your outlook, or fascinated you. Tell them how they’ve impacted you… and invite them for coffee!

Thanks for the great challenge, Eric!


10 responses to “A Pre-Challenge That Tests the Fear of Rejection

  1. “Why does the fear of rejection get in the way of the joy of connection?” – what a resonant question! Looking forward to exploring in my own reflections and taking you up on your challenge!

  2. Love this. Is there a way for us to chip in for some “coffee” money?

    Also, how great would it be for them to join you in your challenges?

  3. So well put, and definitely food for thought. Im so excited for you and this amazing trip! 🙂

  4. YOU are that audacious person who has magnified and expanded my thinking and has joyfully impacted my sense of what’s new now and what might be. You never cease to fascinate and delight me. Let’s have coffee.

  5. When I was 16, I wrote to the editor of In Style magazine asking for a meeting. I still have the letter. I’ve written many similar letters (and emails) since and I’m always surprised to find that people love to talk about their accomplishments! I’ve had the benefit of incredible advice from people I admire.

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