Customer Service

Day 19: Make Announcement on a Southwest Flight

Rejection therapy is on the go. Flying out of Austin this morning, I asked Southwest employee Jeff if I could make the safety announcement before the flight takes off. When I tried similar things at Costco, I got a free meal. Now I'm trying this on a flight, the results floored me.

I hadn't been this nervous for years. Not only I was making a public speech that probably very few other customers have ever attempted before, I did it on a plane where things could be perceived in a very wrong way. Listening to myself, I felt I spoke way too fast. It was a classic sign of nervousness and insecurity, as pointed out by Olivia Cabane's fabulous book The Charisma Myth.

Learning: 1. Again, you just never know what might happen if you don't ask. 2. When nervous, take a deep breath and slow down. You can gain so much confidence when you just slow down and pronounce every word clearly.

Day 16: Ring a Bell for the Salvation Army

As I carry out my rejection therapy, I found that I am observing the world in a very different way. I walked by Salvation Army bell-ringers all the time but never bothered to stop or think about it. This time, right after finishing the mannequin attempt, I ran into this bell-ringer outside of the mall and decided to help him out.

Learning: There are amazing experiences everywhere when you simply pay attention and not to be in so much hurry. I can't believe how happy Denny was when we had the conversation.

Day 10 Rejection Therapy: Listen to Happy Birthday Song When It's Not My Birthday

When celebrating birthday, having a bunch of people singing Happy Birthday to you is still the coolest part. Now, who says you can only get that treatment on your birthday? I am trying to test this theory at Cheesecake Factory by asking them to sing the song to me when it's not my birthday.

  • Learning: 1. I need to hide my camera better; 2. The request, though off-the-wall, is not that tough. Looking back, I'm not sure if it's tougher to say 'yes' or say 'no', when all they need to do is to do what they do everyday, just under different circumstances. I will ask them to do something they don't normally do next time.

Day 7 Rejection Therapy: Speak Over Costco's Intercom

“So-and-so shoppers, the store will be closing in 5 minutes, please bring your…” You hear these words a lot while shopping. Have you ever had the urge to speak over the intercom yourself? I had the urge. Today, wearing my hidden camera, I tried to convince a manager to allow me to speak over their intercom to fellow shoppers at my favorite store, Costco.

I knew the chance of me getting a ‘yes’ was astronomically low, since no manager wants to lose his/her job over this crazy request. However, I tried hard to negotiate and even showed my membership card so he knew I was sincere. In the end, Costco is good at making its customers happy. When they say ‘no’ but then feed you, they know your mouth would be too busy chewing instead of saying bad things about them.

Learning: 'No' could be tough to swallow, but pizza and hotdog aren't. A sure way to gain loyal fans is to make a concession while giving a rejection.

Day 3 Rejection Therapy - Ask for Olympic Symbol Doughnuts. Jackie Delivers!

It’s only my third day and I have already failed but I did so with such amazement and happiness.  I expected a rejection but did not get one. I am officially a fan of Jackie at Krispy Kreme.

P.S Because so many people have been inspired to also try out these rejection attempts on their own, I've put together a free downloadable PDF "100 Days of Rejection" checklist where you can go out and make these rejection attempts on your own! In the PDF I've also included my Rejection tool kit, which shows you the 5 most powerful ways to turn rejection into opportunity.

Click here to download the 100 Days of Rejection PDF Checklist!

The 100 Days Rejection Therapy

I am on a journey to become a great entrepreneur, drinking the smoothie blended with Steve Job’s charisma, Chris Gardner’s tenacity, Paul Graham’s judgment, Bill Gate’s ruthlessness, Warren Buffett’s longevity, and Marc Zuckerberg’s vision (or luck). However, since I’m not born with most of these traits, I need to acquire them through exercise, one-by-one.

To start, I’m tackling the low hanging fruit first. One thing I know for sure is that like most of you, I’m terrified of rejection. No, not in a romantic sense as I’m extremely happily married. However, I hate being judged and rejected in a business setting whether it’s being turned down when making a sale, or getting blasted after a pitch. I hate it! I hate it like Michelle Obama hates sleeves.

Now, I posted this question on the FounderDating forum (a fantastic community for startup founders) and its community manager suggested Rejection Therapy. The idea is to seek one rejection on purpose every day for 30 days, and thus desensitize oneself from the pain. Now that’s a fun idea! Not only I want to do it, but I will vlog it, and do it for 100 days. I won’t use any suggestion cards but will come up with stuff as I go for more fun. If you have any suggestions, let me know through email: jia at souplus.com, or Twitter @jiajiang. My goal is that 100 days from now I will be a fearless badass who couldn’t care less about rejection and judgment.

This is Rejection Therapy Day 1 – asking to borrow $100 from a stranger.