34 | Overcoming the Fear of Failure, Rejection, and “No”

On this episode I’m joined by Andrea Waltz, author of Go for No!: Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There, to talk about fear, rejection and overcoming the word “no.” Andrea has made it her mission to liberate people from the fear of failure and share an entirely new mindset about the word “no.”

The book starts out with a saying:

If you’re not succeeding fast enough, you’re probably not failing fast enough and you can’t have one without the other. So, if you’re going to avoid one, you’re going to avoid both.

Authors Andrea Waltz and Richard Fenton launched their company in 1996 speaking and training retail organizations. The Go for No message was a small part of those seminars but quickly became the main focus of their teaching. The book has been a top seller on Amazon for the past three years.

In the Skype interview, we talk about:

  • Failure and its relationship to success
  • The 5 failure levels – the ability to fail, willingness to fail, wanting to fail, failing bigger and failing faster, and failing exponentially
  • Not caring about what people think about your failing
  • Feeling free to fail and embracing our past failures
  • Setting “no” goals
  • Persistence statistics and the odds of “no” and not giving up
  • Why getting a “no” gives you a chance to respond
  • Why we should reward people for failure

We’re giving away several copies of this fantastic book! For your chance to win, go to iTunes and give a review of our podcast. We’ll go through and pick a few winners randomly – be sure to link to your review in the comments section of this post so we know how to contact you!

Question: What’s keeping you from going for “no?”



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Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.

19 thoughts on “34 | Overcoming the Fear of Failure, Rejection, and “No””

  1. Chris,
    This fear of rejection thing seems to be tied to identity issues. If you don’t know who you are deep down, one “no” has the potential to shatter your self confidence. It seems that almost every issue that comes up with my coaching clients leads back to wounds that haven’t been healed. Wounds lead to distorted identities which lead to the search for validation from the people around us. That was certainly my story. Love what you do.

    1. So true Michael. In fact, often someone had a really bad ‘no’ which impacts them today. Anyway, appreciate your time in commenting, thanks! 😉

  2. Great topic Chris, A log of people talk about the need for failure but I have never heard anyone take it as far as Andrea has. Sounds like I need some more nos.

    As an interesting aside, I am not sure if you have seen the new Domino’s Pizza commercial. They are saying “Failure is an Option”

    1. Thanks Jon! I did see that commercial, and posted on our Goforno facebook page – it was exactly what we talked about 😉 Thanks again for listening!

  3. Andrea Brichacek

    “You may never know what results come from your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no result.” I love the idea of setting “NO” goals…as a freelance designer, it’s very hard to accept any form of no, but as Andrea illustrates, it is a stepping stone to yes and I love a good yes! Thanks for the great advice.

    1. Andrea Brichacek

      I can’t seem to get the link to work for my review, but I did post one. Thanks again for the inspiration of “no.”

  4. Many talk about “failing forward” and learning lessons from failures. Most propose very reactive approaches.

    I love Andrea’s comment about setting “NO goals.” This takes a proactive approach to failure, to the point of planning to and wanting to fail. All while setting out with plan to capitalize on the lessons THROUGH the failure.

    Reminds me of Thomas Edison’s quote: “we don’t have rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something.” This approach turns the (perceived) limiting rules of failure into boundless accomplishment opportunities of the lessons.

  5. When I tell a sales person “No”, I HATE it when they ask me why, usually because they will disrespect my response and badger me. Any suggestions on how to ask why without become one of Those People?

    1. Jana, my advice is to be open and transparent. Perhaps you could let them know you appreciate their answer then say, you are really curious/trying to improve your process/product (fill in best language) and just for your own knowledge for other people in the future, you were just curious why it was a no. I’ve done that & some people won’t tell you which is fine. Unless you are using that technique to then overcome the objection and push the sale forward (i.e. badgering as you mentioned) then thank them and move on.

  6. Wow!!! I love this episode! I am not a salesperson but I think this can be applied to many areas of your life. I have been thinking a lot about what keeps me in “status quo” range and I think it’s just this– fear of failure and rejection. I since have been looking for ways to test myself and get out of the comfort zone– I bought Andreas book but another great one is “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday. Highly recommend it. Also we should start a new goal in Lift— go for no at least x number of times a week!!!
    Thanks Chris- know I am a bit late, but better late than never, right? 🙂

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