Aké Satia is the Chief Vision Officer at Aké Satia, a Human Capital firm in the DC area focused on strengthening organizations by bolstering the intersection of people strategy and business strategy.



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Rejection Reason #4

We reject what we fear.

Last week, in our series, Why People Say No, we galloped down the windy path of self-centeredness. To partake in the adventure, you may read I can only see ME! – BLOG – www.akesatia.com. I have long thought that if self-centeredness were an airline, there would be more frequent flyers than the fleet can sustain because we humans love to fly the self-centered skies. 😉 When we do, we rent a private jet on MY AIR, assume a me-first posture, and struggle to consider others and prioritize their needs and wants above ours. Have you ever wondered why?
Consider a notorious and familiar sentiment: FEAR! 

What lies beneath FEAR?

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines fear as an unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. Fear Definition & Meaning – Merriam-Webster This is an insightful explanation! Did you catch it? Fear is a response to danger – perceived or actual. Therefore, to understand fear, one must grasp the essence of danger. – Danger is exposure to injury, pain, harm, or loss.  Danger Definition & Meaning – Merriam-WebsterWhen we sense danger, the all-consuming feeling or belief that we could be hurt or deprived, our natural reaction is to fear.

Unsurprisingly, when most of us think of danger, our minds wander off to eerie sounds in dark alleys, a mysterious SOS text message from a loved one at 3 a.m., or a memory of when one ran into a snake because she stumbled upon its trail! Oops! – A story for another time. 😉 Undoubtedly, such situations can lead one to burst out in tears, stop in their tracks, or jet out of town on a rescue mission because they make the heart beat a little faster!

However, here, we will explore a different and specific type of fear: a devious sort with a hefty price tag. – It is the fear of loss!

The fear of loss

The telltale signs of the fear of loss are inner torment and paranoia, and this form of fear masquerades as caution. Like when we meet a brilliant new hire and break out in a cold sweat, thinking the person will outshine us. Or when a talented neighbor moves into the neighborhood and, in the blink of an eye, grabs the attention we used to get! In such instances, feeling threatened, we may shun the new coworker, claiming we are overwhelmed with work. Or we may decline an invitation from our new neighbor, stating we have urgent and immovable plans with a cherished friend called Netflix. 😉
Though these responses arise from a desire to avoid loss and protect oneself, they make others feel rejected and prevent one from seizing opportunities. Then why do we do this??

Why the unshakable drive to protect oneself?

The entrapment of self-protectionism

By nature of our very aliveness, we are vulnerable or susceptible to physical or emotional attack, danger, and hurt. Therefore, the innate tendency to protect oneself is natural, beneficial, and vital. However, when unchecked, self-protectionism becomes a self-imposed prison. Attempting to stave off pain, one builds a fortress around the heart to block out pain but also inadvertently blocks out joy. – A tragic mistake that would lead one to wonder: How can I balance my needs for protection and joyfulness? 

One word: Love!
As was wisely said, there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear! Love is a force, and its opposing force is fear, not hate – as one might think! Hate is merely an offspring of fear or an aversion deriving from fear, anger, or a sense of injury, as Merriam-Webster states. Hate Definition & Meaning – Merriam-Webster
Fear is the opposing force of love! When one seeks love, one encounters fear, and indulging in fear can lead to hate.

A bright opportunity

To better understand this, let us visit a locale that awakens diverse emotions, i.e., the workplace! To bring this close to home, I will share a story about a talented senior executive called Sarah.
I met Sarah many years ago and learned a lot by working with her as she fiercely and painfully navigated a male-dominated executive sphere. Sarah joined a large organization as a senior executive, and her boss was beyond himself because he attracted a senior female leader of her caliber to the organization.

To celebrate his accomplishment, he gave her a lavish welcome – virtually. However, when she stepped foot in the office building, the reception was anything but warm. 

Once bright. Now bleak!

In meetings, her boss consistently questioned the worth of her ideas. Also, he routinely rejected her suggestions in public, paraphrased them, and took credit for her ingenuity! Additionally, when Sarah drove innovative solutions, she demonstrated haute systems thinking, and her boss cunningly claimed that he guided her thought process.
Furthermore, though her peers were allowed to work from home at their discretion, she had to abide by a different set of rules. Also, unlike her peers, her private travel was scrutinized, and her boss questioned her commitment to the organization. 

Worse yet, she sought more responsibility and was denied – without credible reason, and this last straw broke the camel’s back!

Loss accompanied Fear.

Quickly, it became apparent to many that her boss felt threatened and feared her, and Sarah decided to face reality. She was exhausted from voicing concerns that seemed to fall on deaf ears and decided to leave the company. At that time, several efforts, like increases in job scope and financial rewards, were dangled to hold onto her. However, she did not bite. It was too little too late, and her heart had exited the building.
Sarah decided to leave fear behind and ride off into the sunset! Notably, her resignation enraged her boss as he viewed her departure as a slap in the face that exposed his trickery!

Although it has been many years since this incident transpired, I often reflect on it because the story teaches a powerful lesson! – Sarah was sought out and recruited for her strengths. However, for the same reason, she was viewed as a threat, feared, and rejected. And to progress, she had to walk away.
Unfortunately, by succumbing to fear, her boss lost the one he was most proud to get. Veritably, fear triggers loss, and loss accompanies fear.

Leave fear behind!

Over the years, I learned that, like Sarah, many experienced similar situations. Perhaps you have! If you are bouncing around in such tumultuous waves, I hope you do not let fear – yours or that of others, dim your light. Remember that fear is one response to perceived or actualized injury, pain, harm, or loss. In place of fear, we can choose to take a different path.

Do not go it alone! Instead, consider engaging with loved ones who remind you of who you are and encourage you to do better and move forward.

Point of note.

Fear is a pivotal reason why people reject others. Also, the fear of rejection has a profound impact on the lives of many. For many, this fear is crippling, as in the case of those living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) who experience Rejection-Sensitive-Dysphoria (RSD). RSD is an emotional condition wherein one experiences severe emotional pain because of failure or feeling rejected. Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD): Symptoms & Treatment (clevelandclinic.org) 

Notably, ADHD affects an estimated 8.7 million adults in the United States, and RSD is prevalent among individuals diagnosed with ADHD. However, as we know, the fear of rejection can affect the lives and well-being of any. Indeed, a friend, coworker, neighbor, etc., could be experiencing this difficulty. – This merits deep consideration!  https://www.forbes.com/health/mind/adhd-statistics/

May self-love and selflessness guide your path as you manage fear and help others do the same.

Have a great week!

For you and to you,



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