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Conquer the Chaos: Finding joy in rejection and why it’s a necessary part of growth with Jia Jiang

Rejection. It stings, doesn’t it? But Jia Jiang wants to flip the script and challenge your reaction to rejection. Instead of running from it, he wants to show you how to face it head-on and use it to make your business better.

In this episode of Conquer the Chaos, Clate Mask and Jia Jiang discuss the need for rejection, how to find joy in it, and how to harness it to help you reach your goals and make you a more fearless entrepreneur.

Mentioned in this episode:


[00:22:22] Clate Mask: Welcome everyone to this episode of the Conquer the Chaos podcast. I'm Clate Mask. I’m the co-founder and CEO of Keap. And today, I'm super excited because we've got an awesome guest who is going to teach you a lot about how to be more effective and more successful in your business and your life.

[00:22:38] Clate Mask: Let me introduce to you, Jia Jiang. Jia, thanks for being with us.

[00:22:43] Jia Jiang: Oh, thank you for having me.

[00:22:45] Clate Mask: Well, Jia, we go back many years. You spoke at our user conference many years ago. And you have become an expert in an area that I think is one of the most critical factors that entrepreneurs need to master. And it certainly fits into the personal keys to success that I talk about in Conquer the Chaos.

[00:23:07] Clate Mask: And I'm going to set it up a little bit here and then I'm gonna let you do an intro, but for all of our audience, I want you to think about this: If you had no fears whatsoever about what you wanted to take out to the world, if you had no inhibitions, if you were able to just face anything that might come in front of you or stop you and just blast through that obstacle, if you were as resilient as you could possibly be, how would that change your success? How would that change your satisfaction in life? Well, in order to get to that place, we've got to face one thing that holds back virtually everybody in some way, shape, or form at some time in their entrepreneurial career.

[00:23:53] Clate Mask: And that one thing in a word is rejection. So we're going to talk about that today. We're going to talk about rejection, and Jia, I want you to give a little intro because you are like the world's foremost expert on rejection, especially when it comes to entrepreneurs and how we face that. So give a little background to the audience so that they know who you are and what your authority is on this subject.

[00:24:15] Jia Jiang: Yeah. So, I talk about rejection. I talk about: How do you overcome your fear of rejection and how do you gain that resilience? So in your life as an entrepreneur, or just as anyone, right, to stick to succeeding in life, how do you not give up when failure hits, when the rejection hits, when setback hits? And how do you keep going and have that resilience that separates people from ambitious people, from successful people? Everyone has ambition, but that resilience is what separates them, so that's what I talk about.

[00:24:52] Clate Mask: Well, you're modest. You don't just talk about it. You write. You wrote a book about it. You've got a TED Talk about it. I think you have 10 million views on that if I'm not mistaken. Is that right?

[00:25:01] Jia Jiang: Yeah. Yeah, which is kind of crazy. And TED has been a great platform, but it's almost every day, I talk to people, and they're like, “Oh, I've seen your TED talk.” That talk about rejection has been used in sales meetings, in conferences, and just everywhere.

[00:25:23] Clate Mask: Well, 10 million views is amazing. I'll bet you can't go anywhere without someone stopping you and telling you that they've seen your talk. So let's dig into this. We're going to talk about this because obviously it's very closely related to mindset. You know, it's near and dear to my heart.

[00:25:38] Clate Mask: I tell the “keep going” story all the time and how entrepreneurs, they come to different crucial moments in their journey, and they've got to make that decision to keep going. And it's not just in the early stages for entrepreneurs. A lot of times people, they think, “Oh yeah, once I get to a certain point, you know, it's smooth sailing,” and it's like, oh no, no, there's rejection. There are challenges. There are reasons and forces that are pushing against you at all times. And so that drive that you have, that resiliency, that willingness to just face whatever rejection, is really a crucial part of the mindset. So that's what we're going to talk about. I would love for you to help the audience understand how you became an expert on this. When you told me what you, you know, your experiment that you tested, I just want you to share a little bit of that with people because it's pretty awesome.

[00:26:29] Jia Jiang: Yeah. So when I just started out as an entrepreneur and I — first of all, it took me a long time to take the plunge to become an entrepreneur because I was afraid of rejection — you know, I was afraid of rejection from my family, from potential customers, from myself. It took me a long time to actually start this whole process.

[00:26:48] Jia Jiang: And then when I started, I got rejected with an investment, a possible investment from a company. The investor said no, and the first thought that came to my mind is like, “Oh, I shouldn't do this.” The investor — he was a very well known investor. He was an expert. If he said no, that means there must be something really wrong with my idea, you know, something must be really wrong with me. So the first thought I had was “I got to quit.” And then that's where it dawned on me. I'm like, “man, would any successful people think this way?” Why would it be like that? No way. And that's why I started this whole project of 100 days of Rejection Therapy, where I would, instead of, you know, avoiding rejection, like I always had been doing, I started looking for rejection.

[00:27:37] Jia Jiang: I did this for 100 days, and I would just, you know, every day I would go out to a stranger and ask for something. I would ask strangers to give me $100. I would try to play soccer in someone's backyard. You know, I was trying to get a burger refill after a burger. I was trying to use — I went to a Costco and tried to use their intercom.

[00:27:57] Jia Jiang: And another day I went to a pest barn and tried to get a haircut there. So it's this type of thing, trying to get rejected on purpose to toughen myself up. And yeah, then the whole world opened up to me

[00:28:13] Clate Mask: So let's talk about this for a second. Just the very notion of rejection therapy is beautiful. I just, just the phrase rejection therapy. I absolutely love it. And you gave some examples. This a hundred-day challenge that you did every day, trying to get rejected on something and the fun things like burger refills, which is just awesome, and asking a stranger for a hundred bucks, but what, what did you learn as you went through that? What did you learn about trying to get rejected? What did that teach you?

[00:28:49] Jia Jiang: So it taught me a lot of things. It taught me how much my fear and assumption of getting a sure-no was holding me back. The world, we experience the same thing every day. We get up, probably meet the same people. And we're talking, doing the same thing, going to the same, then going home to the same place.

[00:29:16] Jia Jiang: So every day it was like that. And because of that, it's almost like there's a circuit, there's a loop that's in our mind. We go to a place, we'll do certain things and expect a certain outcome. However, because of that mindset, we almost expect rejection when we do something that takes courage, that's different.

[00:29:37] Jia Jiang: And we kill more ideas in our minds than anything else.

[00:29:41] Clate Mask: So you said something right at the beginning that I think is amazing. The assumption of a sure-no holds us back. And I, you know, I want, I want the audience to let that sink in. How is the assumption of a sure no holding you back? Because like you said, it kills ideas.

[00:30:01] Clate Mask: And sometimes I think we want to be proud of ourselves that we knew the answer was no, instead of like, well, that's stupid. Why don't we find out if maybe it could be, yes, instead of finding this satisfaction in saying, “see, I knew, I knew it was going to be no.”

[00:30:18] Jia Jiang: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So the thing is, the way we are avoiding machines.

[00:30:24] Clate Mask: Yes.

[00:30:25] Jia Jiang: It's by nature, we avoid pain. Like everything here is built to avoid pain and seek pleasure and seek comfort. And that's why, you know, we want to be away from danger. But when it comes to entrepreneurship and personal success, a lot of times you’ve got to take risks.

[00:30:43] Jia Jiang: A lot of times you got to do things that you'll probably get 90 no's before you get one yes. But most people quit way before that step. See, that comfort-seeking mechanism that we have in our mind will make us quit and not even start. So, but as you know, Clate, successful entrepreneurs, they’ve got to go through a lot of rejections.

[00:31:08] Jia Jiang: So that ability to go through those no's and get to that yes separates those people from wannabes to really successful people.

[00:31:16] Clate Mask: Okay. So I want to come back to this, the rejection therapy and how people do it. And I want to connect it to the point that you just made. So you made the point that successful entrepreneurs have to get a lot of no’s. And that is absolutely right. And I remember early on, for me, I had this experience where I went to the — I've shared this a few times.

[00:31:42] Clate Mask: Basically, if a bank doesn't tell you no at least three times, then you're not going to get the loan. I can't tell you how many times I've talked to entrepreneurs and they’re like, “well, the bank said no.” And I'm like, “yeah. And then what did you do?” Because every time you get the bank to do something, it's not on the first ask.

[00:32:00] Clate Mask: That's just not the way it works. And so, but then I remember early on, I had that experience when I went home and I said, “Oh, we're, you know, we're trying to get this loan.” It was actually to buy out a partner in the very early days. And I was so disappointed on a Friday afternoon because I found out that the bank wasn't going to give us the loan.

[00:32:17] Clate Mask: And over the weekend, I was talking to my parents. And I told my mom that, and she was like, “So now what are you going to do?” And she was like saying, “well, of course they said no.” And I was like, “they said, no, I'm all discouraged.” And, then I realized, “oh yeah, like I should just go back to him and just ask him again. And so I asked him and they said no. And then I asked again and they said no. And then I finally said, “What would it look like if, you know, this had to work out, you've got these credit cards that have a loan that have this interest rate?” They're like, “Oh, well, if we did the loan, we'd have to give you a really high interest rate.”

[00:32:49] Clate Mask: I'm like, that's fine. I'm okay with that. And we got the loan. And I learned a lesson that day with banks that I've learned over and over through my own experiences and with other entrepreneurs that you just have to keep going. Pushing through and finding different ways when you get nos.

[00:33:04] Clate Mask: So I think everybody, every entrepreneur to a certain extent, has experienced that. And we've all heard the stories of Dr. Seuss, and I don't know how many times he got rejected before he got his books through or the Colonel Sanders and Kentucky fried chicken and how much rejection he got.

[00:33:22] Clate Mask: And I think we all know that to a certain extent and yet actually forging our way through all of that rejection takes a toll on people. It grinds them down and it causes them to stop. So connect up for us this rejection therapy and how we can actually practice that on a daily basis as entrepreneurs so that we can get to the success, the ultimate yeses that we want.

[00:33:51] Jia Jiang: There's something really important that you said, Clate. That story is great — you went through the bank three times. The thing is, a lot of inspirational stories will tell us that, right? Your story, Dr. Seuss’s story, and all those famous authors, famous actors.

[00:34:11] Jia Jiang: They all went through that, but they are inspirational stories for a reason. Because most people hear them, it's like, oh yeah, it’s great to go from that to them doing it, right? To that moment after you get the first rejection from the bank. Most people are like, “oh, that the bank said no. Well, what do we do?”

[00:34:31] Jia Jiang: But nothing was, I don't know, try to do it a reverse mortgage on my house. I don't know. Other things, right? They would like, they would take us as a result. So to go from and everyone who makes the decision to give up know those inspirational stories. So it's how do you go from knowing those inspirations somewhere else into you actually having the resilience to do that?

[00:34:55] Jia Jiang: That's a huge gap. The vast majority of people have those things at the inspirational level. They don't actually do it themselves. Rejection therapy bridges that gap. The rejection therapy goes from, “Oh, that would be cool if I'm resilient,” to “I'm actually resilient.” So what I found is rejection therapy basically teaches people to go look for rejection.

[00:35:21] Jia Jiang: And when you go look for rejection, you see the world differently. First of all, what happened to me when I started looking for rejections is a lot of people started to say yes to me. I mean, okay, first of all, I didn't, first of all, I didn't die before that. I'm not also gonna die. Like, I literally felt this is a life or death experience when I started doing this.

[00:35:42] Jia Jiang: Then I found that I didn't die. Well, it's not too bad. And then some people started to say yes to me. And those were some transformational experiences I had in my mind because the perceived danger was sometimes all made up in my mind, but also the world is way more open and way more dynamic than this assumption of no I had in my mind. So having that mindset shift just made me want to ask more and do more. Now, when I get rejected from a bank, when I get rejected from a publisher, instead of right away just taking it and moving on, I have that ability to say, “Oh, let me ask again.”

[00:36:26] Jia Jiang: Let me try to change the parameters. How about if I negotiate? How about if I give you something and you give me something? How about making some compromises? Now, those five abilities just all came because you take that mindset shift. So, rejection therapy gives you that mindset shift and also the practice to negotiate. A lot of people want to have a mindset shift, a lot of people want to keep going, but they don't know what to say. They're like, “Oh, I'm going to come here again, saying the same thing.” And of course you get rejected with the same thing if you don't bring something more to the table. Right? How do you have a give-and-take?

[00:36:57] Jia Jiang: So rejection therapy gives you the real-world example and practice. So when those things that matter, things like getting a bank loan, things like buying out a partner, things like getting funding — when those things that matter the most happen, you have the toolset to actually keep going.

[00:37:16] Clate Mask: Okay. I love it. So there are a few things that I want to dry out that you said. What I'm hearing you say is, first of all, when you really faced it, you found out, “Oh, I didn't die. It wasn't as bad as I thought it might be when I asked these crazy things.” Second, a lot of times they actually said yes, and you were trying to get rejected, but they were not cooperating with you.

[00:37:37] Clate Mask: They weren't rejecting you because you had the boldness to just ask. And sometimes just asking will get you an outcome that you didn't expect. And I hear that point. And then I hear the other point that I hear you making though, is when you learn to not get shut down by the rejection, your creativity is now exercised. You have a greater capacity to create because you don't just move away off track of something you try to do. You're in a place where you think of different ideas. You think “we could do it this way.” It's almost like rejection paralyzes most people and prevents them from seeing different possibilities.

[00:38:26] Clate Mask: Whereas when you practice rejection therapy, you are not as affected by the rejection. So you can continue to create, you continue to see possibilities. You can continue to achieve outcomes that otherwise are shut down and foreclosed by ourselves mentally and emotionally when we feel that inward pull of rejection. Am I capturing that correctly?

[00:38:50] Jia Jiang: You're not only capturing this, you're actually saying something that makes me think. So great, great job, Clate. You use the word creation, right? The whole process of negotiation and going to someone to make a request and get rejected, you can see that as a task, as a challenge, as a therapy, but also you can see that process itself as a creation, the negotiation process itself as a creation. Now that changes things completely because now when you're thinking about art, you don't just draw a couple of dots and that's art. I mean, some people do, but most people will have a process.

[00:39:38] Jia Jiang: They want to make it colorful. They want to make it dynamic. Now we have that mindset saying the result is one thing, but the process of me negotiating, that's a creation, right? Let's say art. And now you can try everything. Now, like everything in the world is at your disposal. Like you want to, you want to have fun.

[00:39:57] Jia Jiang: You want to be funny. You want to add and subtract and give and take. Now that's creation. You can only have that when you lose that fear of rejection. When you lose that fear, but you dance with it. Now you can start creating. So it changes the mindset.

[00:40:19] Clate Mask: Yeah, and that's why I love, right from the beginning, when you shared the phrase rejection therapy. Therapy is such a great word to apply to this because when we're fearful and when we're hurt, which is what happens when we get rejection or when we get rejected.

[00:40:40] Clate Mask: That fear and that hurt prevents all kinds of great things that could happen. And so, you know, you think about in a normal situation, therapy is designed to heal and move people forward from something that's holding them back. And that's exactly what's going on with rejection, especially for us as entrepreneurs.

[00:41:00] Clate Mask: And so I just I love the phrase. And I love the notion of putting fear aside so that we can create something better and see different possibilities. So I love that. I'll tell you one of the things that I talk about a lot in the book, Conquer the Chaos, is about how our ego plays games on us and prevents us from becoming our best selves.

[00:41:22] Clate Mask: It holds us back in a bunch of different ways. And it's never more obvious than in a rejection scenario because what is rejection other than a bruised ego? It's just our ego saying, “Whoa, I didn't like that. I thought this, you thought that. And you're, you know, invalidating my thoughts or my attempts or my view or whatever.”

[00:41:41] Jia Jiang: Such a good connection that they're rejecting your request, meaning they're rejecting you. Right there. I mean, like a person sizing me up can very easily go from, “okay she doesn't agree with my idea. She doesn't like my thing” to “she doesn't like me or she thinks I'm worthless.”

[00:42:01] Jia Jiang: And it keeps going: “I'm worthless, man, I'm not as talented, you know?” And then those stories you tell yourself after rejection, they just gets worse and worse without this training in rejection therapy,

[00:42:14] Clate Mask: Yep. I love what you just called out because it is the downward spiral of the thought process that you just described, which is they said they didn't like your idea. They didn't say they didn't like you. They didn't say you're worthless. You certainly shouldn't assume that you're worthless, and yet that's what ends up happening in the story, in the narrative, in a downward thought spiral, versus what I've found the most successful people do, who deal with a lot of rejection, is they quickly create a story that is about something circumstantial or very different than them personally.

[00:43:00] Clate Mask: So in other words, like in the example of your investor, right at the very beginning, maybe he was just having a bad day, or maybe he had an investment that he's already looked at that's similar to this, or maybe it could have absolutely nothing to do with you. And I've found that a lot of times with entrepreneurship, because we're constantly putting ourselves out there into the market for evaluation through our products and services, if we internalize every signal we get back from the market as something personal, we're dead. We got no chance. And so sometimes entrepreneurs, what I found is even in some ways, I would even say sometimes they’re maybe not receiving some feedback that could help them, but we do sometimes have to get into a place where we can quickly dismiss so much of the feedback that comes to us, because if we actually internalized everything, it's just, it's just too much.

[00:43:52] Clate Mask: Now you've got to also be wise enough to take some of the feedback and make changes and improve. But I think sometimes the best entrepreneurs, they just have tough skin and things that people tell them just don’t bother them. They can, they can laugh it off, shrug it off, and say, “it's probably because he was having a bad day,” or whatever the case may be and move forward.

[00:44:10] Jia Jiang: I'm going to take this one step further. Clate, that’s 100 percent true, that the person might not mean it or they might be just having a bad day or there is some circumstances that are preventing them from seeing the true merit of your idea.

[00:44:25] Clate Mask: Yeah.

[00:44:26] Jia Jiang: And so that takes care of like, I don't know, 50% of the rejections, right?

[00:44:31] Jia Jiang: There are abilities, and don't take that personally. Okay. Now there are people who judge your idea, go through this very carefully, use all his or her decades of experience to judge it and still come up with the idea saying, “this is not good.” You still shouldn't use that as a, as a measurement for you to go forward or not, because sometimes the best ideas always get terrible rejections.

[00:45:02] Clate Mask: Right.

[00:45:03] Jia Jiang: You know the famous example of early 2010s, right? The Airbnbs and Ubers stories. And you hear they're very similar because when they came out, people were like, “hold on, what are you talking about? Turning my car to a cab so strangers will jump in so I can make some money? I'm gonna get murdered in like two hours. What? Open up my house so some strangers will come in? They're gonna light my house on fire, and so on and so on.” And you hear this example is a, These VCs, the most famous, the VCs who invest in Facebook, the Googles, they're like, “this is the worst idea I've ever heard.” And if you are like, “wow, if these people say no, there's no way this would succeed,” then those ideas would never be brought to light.

[00:45:58] Jia Jiang: So sometimes I tell people if you not only get rejection, but get a rejection that you feel has emotions, you might have something here. The worst is lukewarm acceptance. People like, “eh, sure. That's okay.” If there's no emotion behind either yes or no, that might not be a good idea because you're not striking the cord. So you want to strike the cord, a strong rejection. The flip side of this is there are people with strong acceptance.

[00:46:40] Clate Mask: That's right. I love that. And if you are seeking, you know, if you're in that mode where you're seeking the therapy of rejection you can move from, you know, you can move from incident to incident. A lot of times people will say, success is about how quickly you can move from failure to failure to failure. And rejection therapy says that none of those things are failure. They're just learnings and helping you move to the next thing, and it's making you stronger and more creative and more capable in the process. I want to share something with our audience that I think would be a really great way for people to apply the rejection therapy you're talking about.

[00:47:19] Clate Mask: And then I want to get your perspective on it. I think that customer feedback is one of the most powerful ways to practice rejection therapy. I talk about this in the book. I talk about the Stockdale Paradox and how we have to see that the difficulty is actually the way through the problem and recognize that we have an undying belief that we're going to be successful, even in the face of evidence that is screaming at us that, Hey, this isn't going to be, this isn't going to work.

[00:47:53] Clate Mask: And what I see a lot of times with entrepreneurs is once they get past the stage where they're pitching their idea, they've got a product, they've got a service and it doesn't always go perfectly. And a customer gets angry and a customer is frustrated, upset, and how the entrepreneur receives that, I believe has really the seeds of either great success in a business or ultimately flame out, you know, failure.

[00:48:20] Clate Mask: And it's because if we don't want to see the feedback, we're not embracing it. If we're so bruised by it, then the rejection actually turns us inward and it turns us away from creating a better outcome. Versus on the other hand, if we change our mindset and we see the shortfalls that we have in our business, because we all have them — everybody, every single company that's running out there makes mistakes, messes up certain things with their customers, wishes they had done something better — but how we deal with it when it happens is really critical in how successful a company can become. And so I wondered, if you could talk a little bit about how our listeners can practice rejection therapy as it relates to customer satisfaction and customer feedback that maybe isn't the kind of feedback that we want to get as entrepreneurs?

[00:49:17] Jia Jiang: Oh man, Clate, I love that. Because when I tell people about rejection therapy, and in fact, when I first started doing rejection therapy, my idea was I'm just gonna toughen myself up, right? So I'm going to let rejection just fall on my shoulders just no problem. And I'm just going to develop this big shield. The problem with that is. You're still avoiding it in a way. So I've seen people get to level one in my rejection therapy training, and they can tolerate it. So what happens when it's get rejected is like they will go, “eh, okay. Yeah. Don't worry about it.” And they would do that, right?

[00:50:02] Jia Jiang: They will be like, “okay, I'm not going to stop and shrug it off.” Now, the problem with that is, they’re shrugging it off. It's still a way to deal with fear and pain. So we don't move on without leaning into the pain. Now, rejection from the wrong people, like maybe from a family member, from someone who doesn't understand your product or even for me, sometimes the investors, right? Even from those people, sometimes you got to shrug it off because they're not your customer, but rejection or critical feedback from the right customers, you got to lean into them. You have to feel that pain. You cannot shrug it off. You’ve got to embrace it.

[00:50:52] Jia Jiang: You got to be like, “all right, I can handle this. And I want to lean in and find out what exactly that's causing them to have the strong emotional rejection.” And again, if they're not the right people, then don't care, but if they are the right people, you got to care because you keep shutting it off. That means you still, you’re trying to protect your own ego without trying to fix your product.

[00:51:14] Jia Jiang: So lean into those fear and do not turn them into a self worth that, you know, like a, like a crisis and do not let them question your, your goal, your resolve, but use those feedbacks and to fix your product and iterate so you can delight your customers. That's, that's actually the next level of rejection therapy.

[00:51:37] Clate Mask: Yeah, because now you're not just shrugging it off. Now you're leaning into it and embracing what it is that can help you be better without having the fear or the aversion, the avoidance that is normally the case with people. I love that. I appreciate you sharing that because I really believe that this is one of the areas that causes so much stress for entrepreneurs, so much anxiety.

[00:51:58] Clate Mask: And yet. You know, there's a lot of fear around they may not like. I bet a lot of our listeners are thinking, “well, I'm not afraid of rejection.” But if we really stop and look at our behavior and how we respond to negative feedback from a customer, that's just rejection. And it's our anxiety around it.

[00:52:16] Clate Mask: And it causes a lot of stress. And so if we lean into it, like you described, and we recognize that it is actually the way To greater success and to what everybody wants — the customer, yourself as the business owner, your team members — it gets better for everybody. The other thing is, the thing I've learned over time, is that it goes right back to your point about you want either a strong response positively or a strong response negatively. You want to evoke emotion one way or the other. A lukewarm response doesn't really do us any good. And so that's really true. It's like when you learn to embrace that all PR is good. PR it's very similar to all feedback is good feedback if it's good, strong, emotional feedback. And here's what I mean by that: If you're sitting out there in the audience and you're thinking, “Hey, you know, I don't really like when a customer is really angry with the job that we didn't do well because we should have done better. I wish we would have handled it more effectively.” Here's the thing though: They're strong in their emotion because they care. They want it. They're invested. They want it to work out. And so that's a really great gift for us as entrepreneurs that we're working with a customer who wants this to work out.

[00:53:36] Clate Mask: They're really passionate about it. And so, you know, I think it's a really powerful thing when we recognize “Oh, they're coming at me strong with their feedback because they're actually on my side wanting this to work instead of being in kind of an adversarial place,” and IT creates a lot better outcome when we view it that way.

[00:53:57] Jia Jiang: 100%, 100%. You want the customers who have used your product and used it for a while and who are actively taking the time to give you feedback because that itself is validation. The people taking this much time wanting to give feedback because they like certain aspect of your product. A lot of people just focus on the rejection part and say, “oh, they don't like my stuff, and they're kind of crapping on it, right?” So what? Think about why they're taking the time: It's because of the disappointment, because they care. They’re part of it. They love it so much.

[00:54:37] Jia Jiang: They're like, “Ooh, I love this part. Only if this part can be fixed, it'd be awesome. So I'm even angry because this part is not, is. It's falling behind the standard that this other part that I love is building.” Now use that as opportunity to find out what it is that they love. What is it that they hate, right? So a lot of times, even if you want to ignore what they hate, lean into what they love and then keep building on that.

[00:55:04] Jia Jiang: So now, instead of just seeing rejection, let's say like a, like a one, like one whole thing. Dissect it. Again, if you lose fear, it become artistic creation. You started dissecting, it's like, why do they take this much time? What do they love? Oh, they love this part. You know what? Even if I don't worry about the rejection, let's build this up.

[00:55:26] Jia Jiang: Let's make this even better.

[00:55:32] Clate Mask: I love it. No, that's great. Great advice. And there's something that you were talking about right at the end that I want to maybe dig a little deeper on. And that is how we channel the emotion that comes out of this. So you just described a scenario where you're talking to someone, you're getting feedback, and there's strong emotion.

[00:55:52] Clate Mask: It's negative because it didn't work out the way the customer wants, but sometimes it's very positive. And by the way, I've always asked customers, what's one thing we do really well that you like, and what's one thing we need to improve that you don't like? And it's great to hear both sides of it.

[00:56:07] Clate Mask: But what you started to say there at the end is how you'd start to channel the positive side. You and I were talking just before we got started and maybe the last thing, last topic we could touch on here is how you work through this — not just this tough cover that I can handle anything and I'm tough. There's a different kind of emotion that goes along with it and it's a positive, energetic, sort of a joyful emotion. And I wonder if you could talk about that a little bit? Because I think that's one of the keys to working through disappointments and challenges and rejection as entrepreneurs. It's actually how we harness the energy in the right way.

[00:56:48] Clate Mask: So do you want to say a little bit about that? I know you're working on a new book that maybe this is a little precursor to what that book is, but I think that you've studied this so deeply that your wisdom around it would be really helpful for our audience.

[00:57:00] Jia Jiang: Absolutely. So I'll paint a picture a little bit. I believe to be successful has three controllable components. There are a lot of components you can’t control, like your luck, your talent, but what you can control is your ambition, the type of goal you set, the discipline, your ability to take hard actions toward the goals consistently. And then resilience is what we talked about when you get rejected and when you get failures, can you not give up and keep going and lean to them both the discipline and resilience piece, most people associate them with pain tolerance and this hardcore kind of navy seal mentality, right? You see a lot of writing books on them. The problem with that is. We are, again, pain-avoiding machines. That's what we're built on and you are fighting against human nature if you see resilience and discipline in that light,

[00:58:12] Jia Jiang: What I want to do, what I teach people to do is to actually see these actions, whether they are rejections or the discipline, the activities you're taking toward your goals.

[00:58:24] Jia Jiang: You see them as creations. You see them as goals in themselves, rather than the setbacks or steps you take before you achieve that goal. The pot at the end of the rainbow. Now, when you are enjoying, when you are loving, when you are leaning into this creation, these processes as we're talking, about this rejection, right?

[00:58:46] Jia Jiang: When you get rejected, man, this is an opportunity — let me ping my Picasso with this rejection. Let me just have fun with what I do. If you have that mindset, everything becomes easier. Everything becomes enjoyable or joyful. Now you're a true entrepreneur. And because you are in this thing, your people from outside will call you a psycho.

[00:59:13] Jia Jiang: People are like, “dude, this guy, what is going on? He's like doing rejection and smiling when he's negotiating.” You know, I just want to get the results. I just want to get the funding. But you can lean into those hard actions, whether they're rejections or the daily grind or activities you're trying to do.

[00:59:31] Jia Jiang: We call this grind, right? It sounds so bad. But what if you see them as art? What if you just enjoy the process? What if you enjoy the rejection? Now you become a true creator.

[00:59:45] Clate Mask: What you're saying resonates with me so much because it's very similar to what I describe in the rhythm of execution where it's beautiful. I use the word rhythm for a reason. I didn't want to use “routine” or “rut.” No, I wanted to use rhythm, like it's enjoyable.

[01:00:04] Clate Mask: It's joyful. There's beauty in it. It's like music has rhythm and an entrepreneur's life should have rhythm too. It should have excitement and joy to it. So, you know, a lot of times I think, I, by the way, I love your points about ambition and discipline, but it's that, it's that joyful way of doing it that makes it so fun.

[01:00:26] Clate Mask: And I think it's what causes people to be able to take on bigger and greater things because they don't look at it — it's not a grind. It doesn't wear you down. It doesn't get you to a place where you're, you're worn out and you don't want to keep doing it. Instead, it actually fuels you.

[01:00:43] Clate Mask: You get excited by it and the energy flows through it. So I'm excited about whatever your next book is going to be. I know you're in the process of working on that, but I really think that will be a gift to entrepreneurs and ambitious goal-setting achievers to learn more about how to find the joy through it and not just go through it with the Navy SEAL suit of armor approach that there's a time for those things for sure.

[01:01:14] Clate Mask: There's a place for them in practicing entrepreneurship, but I don't think that's the normal mode. I think certain wartime moments need to be that way versus the normal state of the way we operate with a different kind of joy in it. So I love that. I love hearing that your rejection therapy isn't just about toughing it out and shrugging off tough, difficult things, but actually about finding a way to do it with joy and finding a way to do it with creativity and producing outcomes that are possible because we're not shut down. We're opened up.

[01:01:51] Jia Jiang: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I got a lot from this conversation as well. Clate,I love when you use the word creation, right? I'm like, wow, that's beautiful. That's beautiful. Exactly. Again, the outcome is the outcome. But if that's all you'll focus on, like there's some habits of how to affect people teach us.

[01:02:11] Jia Jiang: To start with any mind, right? And I believe that I do believe that. But you start with that. You don't just focus on that. You don't just say that's all I care about, is that end result? Because then your steps become a grind.

[01:02:25] Clate Mask: Yeah.

[01:02:26] Jia Jiang: Can you turn the process, can you turn this hike, this journey into a piece of art? That's really what we're talking about.

[01:02:33] Clate Mask: I love it. I love it. Turning the journey into a piece of art. That's a good way to describe entrepreneurship right there. I love it. Well, John, this has been so fun. I love what you've added to the discussion around mindset and vision and rhythm of execution. We've talked a lot about that.

[01:02:51] Clate Mask: The personal keys to success for entrepreneurs. And I loved having you at our user conference years ago. It'd be fun to have you come to one again sometime and just congratulations on all the success that you've had. I really believe that our listeners, if they'll embrace this topic of rejection therapy and really take to heart what you've shared here — especially in applying it to the area of customer feedback, which I think is just a great place to practice it — I'm confident that, levels of success will soar for those who practice this. So thank you for sharing your wisdom. Thank you for sharing all that you have.

[01:03:27] Clate Mask: For our listeners who want to learn more about you, where can they go?

[01:03:32] Jia Jiang: Yeah. They can go to That's the company I own now. If you know my story, that's the thing that I started with and I made on social media. I made it so successful that I actually bought the company. So, now I own rejection therapy. So go to

[01:03:49] Jia Jiang: You can buy the rejection therapy cards, you can follow me. And if you have, as you mentioned, if you have conferences, you can invite me to speak. So that's where you can find me.

[01:04:03] Clate Mask: Awesome. I love it. Jia, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. I'm confident that this has been helpful for people who are listening. You know, I'll just leave it with that thought that you said kind of early on: Rejection holding you back could be preventing you from accomplishing great things.

[01:04:23] Clate Mask: I hope you'll all take to heart what's been shared here. And as you go out there and practice entrepreneurship, let's do some of that rejection therapy. Make sure that you're out there serving your customers well, taking the feedback the way you need to, and of course, keep going and keep growing. Thanks, everybody.

[01:04:41] Jia Jiang: Thank you. Let's all get rejected.

[01:04:44] Clate Mask: I love it.

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