5 Ways to Build Rejection Resilience for Entrepreneurs

Let’s do a little experiment.  You in?

Ok, I want you to notice what happens in your body, your mind, and your emotions when I ask this question:

How do you handle and respond to rejection?

What did you experience just then?  Were there particular memories that surfaced?  Any specific sensations in your body?  Did certain thoughts turn up the volume on their bullying?

At different points in my life I would have different answers for all of these questions.

Rejection is a part of entrepreneurship.  It just is.  And yeah, it doesn’t feel good at all.  And also, how we handle and respond to rejection is 1) able to be transformed, and 2) is a vital sign indicator for our ability to build sustainable entrepreneurship. 

In thinking about Building Rejection Resilience for this blog, I reflected on what experiences in life have helped me to build my Rejection Resilience.

One piece is that my entrepreneurship goes back decades…when I was an elementary school age kid, my cousin set up a lemonade stand in the front of her house by the sidewalk.  We brainstormed to use the little cardboard playhouse she had inside to bring attention and be our little serving window.  Then I thought, what if we offered cookies too?  And, as the crafty kids we were, what if we also sold hand-made bookmarks!?!  (Because who doesn’t need extra bookmarks).  That day we made $27 which for two kids in the 80’s was BANK!

Throughout my kid years I constantly had new ideas for businesses: hand-made stationery and note cards; hand-painted sweatshirts; babysitting.  Of those, only my babysitting business reallly took off (I was, after all, a Certified Red Cross babysitter at 13).  The sweatshirts were kind of a disaster and the note cards just became gifts for family members.


As I grew up, I launched so many ideas for businesses, programs, and solutions to problems in my community.  In my 30’s I got into writing and performing spoken-word poetry.

If you want a quick lesson in building rejection resilience, share your own poetry on a mic in front of a room full of other poets, artists, and activitists.  Oooof, some of those moments were really painful and uncomfortable.

Some of the feedback I received from people in writing spaces where I posted my work was harsh, and cut deep.

I began to submit my work to be considered for publication.  I got rejected a LOT.  And, I got published a lot.  I learned in the process that critiquing poetry is entirely subjective and where one editor may not like a piece, another editor might love it.

And so I began to learn that the rejection of a particular poem by a particular editor is not a universal truth about who I am as a person.

I did not understand that lesson over night.  It took so many submissions, rejections, acceptances, and personal mindset work.

I will absolutely be one of the first people to affirm that having someone reject, turn down, not purchase a program, offer, or product that we have poured heart and soul into creating, it hurts.

It is such a challenge to untangle our sense of worth with what we produce AND how people respond to that product.  Toxic capitalism teaches us to link our worthiness with the quality and quantity of what we produce.  So it makes sense that uncoupling these two things is challenging; we’re going against hundreds of years of culture.


Here’s an important truth I need you to know: one person’s response/reaction to what you have to offer is not a universal truth about who you are.


So, let’s look at 5 Ways to Build Rejection Resilience for Entrepreneurs

    • Keep putting your work out there
    • Adjust your mindset around your worthiness
    • Ask for feedback on what kept someone from buying, signing on, or registering for your creation
    • Keep putting your work out there
    • Practice growth mindset by reflecting on your programs, offerings, products and what is working about them and what needs recalibration
    • BONUS TIP: consider the source.  Is the critic, customer, random person on the internet truly a reliable and trustworthy source of feedback about what you have innovated and built?

Yep.  I sure did write “Keep putting your work out there” twice.  That was on purpose.  Because one of the ways we build resilience and flexibility is by doing the thing again and again.

At the time of writing this blog, my Expansive Mindset Coaching business is five months old.  I can’t even remember how many times I have updated my mission, how many programs I have tried out, how many reels I’ve posted, how many emails I’ve sent, but it’s been a lot.  I have no idea how to Instagram algorithm gods work, why one reel got over 3k views and another got 67 views.  But I keep putting my work out there because I know there are clients who need exactly who I am and how I coach.  Not everyone.  And that is ok.  It isn’t possible for me to coach everyone.  

So, back to the initial question: how do you handle/respond to rejection?  Are you ready to beef up your rejection resilience and take out all the nasty bullying beliefs that hold you back?  I’m so excited to do this work and can’t wait to talk to you!  Let’s set up a FREE 20min curiosity call today!

8 Bullying Beliefs that come from Toxic Religion

Here’s a hard truth: toxic religion/religious communities have done extensive damage to people globally.

There is a lot I have to say about this, for today, let’s focus on the mindset piece.

For those raised in toxic religion from birth, there are deeply embedded teachings that influence our beliefs about ourselves, others, and the world around us.

Many people I work with–myself included–have deconstructed from the doctrines of their former religion, and yet still struggle with certain mindset issues like money, worthiness, mental health, and identity.

I work from a perspective that it is *vital* to name the source of these bullying beliefs so that we can recognize, “Wait a minute, this belief is not mine. I don’t actually align with this!” And once that happens, we can kick that shame to the curb and make leaps toward realizing dreams and purpose.

I’ve struggled with my money mindset my whole life because of this…we’re talking over 4 decades of believing that wealth is wrong (actually, more than “wrong” I was taught it was evil) and I need to give everything I earn away to others.

This has led to many years of financial stress and struggle. Before I broke up with religion I was bereft that I did all that and god still didn’t “reward” or “provide” for me.

Tell me if any of these beliefs sound familiar?

“Maybe if you just had more faith it would’ve worked out.”

“Money is the root of all evil, you should focus on storing up treasure in heaven. “

“If you were open to receiving joy, then you wouldn’t be so depressed.”

“Don’t be proud of what you did, God is the one who gave you that gift.”

“You can’t listen to your heart, it’s evil and will lead you astray.”

“You can’t trust your own discernment; you need leaders to guide you.”

“It’s not your place to lead, leave that to the head of the household.”

“Your place is to serve others, thinking of yourself is selfish.”

It honestly has only been in the past 3-5 years that I have been able to begin releasing and rejecting that mindset. And to be super transparent, it was only in the past 2 months that my mindset shifted from, “It is morally neutral for me to want to make enough money to provide for myself sustainably” to, “I am allowed to want to build wealth not only to redistribute that wealth to others, but also to create an easeful life for myself. That is not a wicked desire.” 🤯

Let me say that again:

“I am allowed to want to build wealth not only to redistribute that wealth to others, but also to create an easeful life for myself. That is not a wicked desire.”

Whoooooooooo….my heart is pounding just writing that sentence. Anyone else?

Being able to embrace this new mindset is the outcome of work I’ve been doing for a long time and quite rigorously this year. And I’m pretty sure the class I’m taking with the Institute of Radical Permission with @sonyareneetaylor and @adriennemareebrown is hugely responsible for my ability to make these shifts.

Now, in this blog, I’ve mostly focused on how my relationship with money was shaped by toxic religion…but every aspect of who I am – a queer, Autistic, ADHD, disabled, femme – has been influenced, harmed, and oppressed by toxic religion.  You’ll definitely see more blogs about this in the future!

How has your mindset been influenced/infected by toxic religion?  What bullying beliefs still snag you up? Let’s talk about it!


Six Practices for Self Liberation

Dear Expansioneers,

Over the past 25 years, I have honed a methodology informed by my past work as a complex trauma specialist, out of my own anti-oppression learning & unlearning, by my lived experiences, inspired by my teachers and mentors, and rooted in my primal longing for justice, equity, accessibility, and liberation for all!

Much like the spiral at the center of this graphic, the Intersectional Mindset Coaching journey I take with clients is not linear. This journey is more like a spiral staircase: we come back around to practices, but never in exactly the same place.


We know different things, we are different, we become a little more ourselves with each revolution.

As with all things, this is a living, dynamic, ideology continually evolving as I learn and become in my own liberation.

I walk through each of these practices all of my Intersectional Mindset Coaching clients:

Click on any of the Six Practices of Intersectional Mindset Coaching above for an in depth exploration.

So what is Intersectional Mindset Coaching anyway?


How is it any different from other Mindset Coaching?

When my clients shift their mindset off the belief of “internal brokenness” to “systems are actively working against your flourishing,” a tremendous weight of shame is lifted and they can get on with the work of being their incredible, creative, badass selves. It is a glorious sight to see!

Jennifer Alumbaugh, MS

I’m so glad you asked! 

Intersectional Mindset Coaching is Mindset Coaching done through a lens of naming and understanding the bullying believes created by toxic systems that are at the root of a client’s self doubt, impostor syndrome, and feelings of unworthiness that keep them from living fully vibrant, abundance, and thriving lives.

When we name that villain – Oppressive Systems – we can work to fight against it, instead of fighting against ourselves.

I get to tell my clients, “You are not failing. These systems failed you.”

“You are not too much. These systems told you these lies.”

“You absolutely are worthy of rest. These systems tell you that your worth is connected to what you produce.”

When my clients shift their mindset off the belief of “internal brokenness” to “systems are actively working against your flourishing,” a tremendous weight of shame is lifted and they can get on with the work of being their incredible, creative, badass selves. It is a glorious sight to see!

What do you think?  Are you ready to get rid of some shame baggage and get started on making BIG things happen in your life?  If your curiosity is piqued, let’s set up a FREE 20min curiosity call today!

Boundaries as Liberation

The Unlimited Liberation of Boundaries

Often, when I talk with people about boundaries, the first thing that comes to mind is a limit. And to a degree, that is true. What is so exciting to me though is how creating limits with boundaries is actually liberating! Hence “Expansive Boundaries!”

Don’t just take my word for it though! In 2006 Landscape Architecture student Peter Summerlin, Associate ASLA, conducted a study that explored the impact of either having a fence or not having a fence around a children’s playground area. This is what Summerlin found:

It might seem contradictory for me to say that healthy boundary-making leads to liberation, and yet, When we know where the line is, we are free to explore, play, and create bravely!

Jennifer Alumbaugh, MS

A simple study was conducted to discover the effects of a fence around a playground and the consequent impact it would have on preschool children.  Teachers were to take their children to a local playground in which there was no fence during their normal recess hour.  The kids were to play as normal.  The same group was to be taken to a comparable playground in which there was a defined border designated by a fence.


In the first scenario, the children remained huddled around their teacher, fearful of leaving out of her sight.  The later scenario exhibited drastically different results, with the children feeling free to explore within the given boundaries.


The overwhelming conclusion was that with a given limitation, children felt safer to explore a playground.  Without a fence, the children were not able to see a given boundary or limit and thus were more reluctant to leave the caregiver.  With a boundary, in this case the fence, the children felt at ease to explore the space.  They were able to separate from the caregiver and continue to develop in their sense of self while still recognizing that they were in a safe environment within the limits of the fence.


Peter Summerlin, Associate ASLA, Research Abstract

As Adults, We’re Not that Different

Across the board, in every relationship I can imagine, healthy boundary making and affirming practices lead to liberation:

  • In the workplace with coworkers, supervisors, and directors
  • In the community with neighbors, friends, and organizations
  • In personal relationships around physical touch, intimacy, and play
  • In parenting
  • In relationships with relatives
  • In online conversations and comment threads
  • In watching the news and consuming content about the world around us

Learning and practicing ways to create strategic boundaries in all the different scenarios, settings, and relationships we have in life means that when we give our Yes! we do it authentically and with intention.

Want to Boost Your Boundary Practices?

If you’ve been wanting to strengthen your boundary-making muscles, I have THREE different opportunities for you to dive in!

If you’d like to talk with Jennifer about any of these or other opportunities click button to schedule a FREE 20min curiosity call.

Deconstruct False Narratives

The First Step to Solving a Problem, Is Naming the Problem

Dear Expansioneer,

Please receive this when I tell you:

YOU are NOT the problem.

You’re not.

I promise.

Cross my heart.

See, there are systems in place in our society that are designed specifically to make us fail, to make us feel small, to make us feel lazy, to make us feel less-than. This work is not about fixing “what’s broken inside you.” It’s about naming the systems that have caused harm and have indoctrinated their false narratives upon us.

This is step one.

And it can also be step 8.  And step 17.

Like the spiral in the center, we come back around to each practice multiple times in our journey, not to the exact same place, because we’re different. Many times we have new wisdom to mine once we’ve done the work needed to recognize that wisdom when we see it!

Once we’ve identified these bullying beliefs, we can get rid of them. They don’t actually belong to us so we don’t need to keep them around anymore. Some people call this a mindset shift.

Jennifer Alumbaugh, MS

Four Acts of Deconstructing False Narrative

  • Identify Bullying Beliefs
  • Reject and Release Imposed Identities
  • Dismantle Systemic Binaries
  • Find and Ground in your Truth

These are not mutually exclusive and in fact often interact and intersect with each other.

Let’s look at some examples of Bullying Beliefs:

  • “I’m not good enough”
  • “Ugh, I’m the worst, I didn’t get anything done today”
  • “I’m not smart enough”
  • “I feel like an imposter”
  • “I’m so lazy, I called in to work sick with Covid and all I did was lay around in bed all day”
  • “I’m a bad parent; I just got the kids fast food for dinner because I’m so exhausted”
  • “I’m such a mess, I can’t even keep up with the mail”

Any of these sound familiar? Have you ever had any of these thoughts?



I know I have!

These kinds of thoughts and beliefs about ourselves are not an accurate representation of who we are. They are part of the false narratives we are fed to believe by way of media, marketing, toxic religious messaging, toxic positivity, social media influencers, etc. And behind all of them is capitalism, and patriarchy, and racism, and white supremacy. Yeah. Those lying liars!

When I’m working with clients, part of my role is to hold up a mirror, a true mirror, so they can see their actual reflection…not those wobbly distortions of carnival fun house mirrors that the world shows us.

Once we’ve identified these bullying beliefs, we can get rid of them. They don’t actually belong to us so we don’t need to keep them around anymore. Some people call this a mindset shift.


One of my favorite exercises to do with clients is the Reject and Release Imposed Identities. There are so many ways that identities get put upon us without our consent–from gender to career to assumptions about our motives and decisions other people make about us as a result of their own imposed identities.

When a client stands up (literally and/or figuratively) and out loud rejects these parts that never belonged to them in the first place, I get chills. I get to witness and be in awe and that is one of the many reasons why I do what I do! It’s so empowering for clients to do this exercise, it invigorates the other parts of the work we do together.

Sometimes along with that or on it’s own, we Dismantle Systemic Binaries.

Now I know many people are used to hearing binaries associated only with gender, but binaries limit us across so many areas of life!

Good or bad.

Lazy or productive.

Happy or sad.

Calm or upset.

Woman or man.

Young or old.

In or out.

Cold or warm.

Either/ors are so very limiting. Too limiting for the magnificent complexity of the human experience! We are expansive beings who can be and feel and think and become so many glorious things all at once!


Our final step in Deconstructing False Narratives is to Find and Ground in Our Truth.

What does this mean, exactly?

Well kind of like in a remodel of a building, once all the old, rotted out, unreliable sections are gutted, the builder finds the beams that are true, that will hold weight, that will carry the rest of the building.

Similarly, once we have gotten rid of all the untrustworthy beliefs we’ve been schlepping around with us, we can finally see clearly what truth remains and is solid foundation for us to ground in.

So, “I’m so lazy,” becomes, “I honor my body’s need for rest.”

“I guess I’m a bitch because I said No,” becomes, “I advocate for myself with the boundaries I need to stay present”

“I’m a bad parent,” becomes, “When I get the kids take-out, I have more energy to play with them and do bedtime routine.”

This is what finding and grounding in our truth can look like. And when we continue our work from a place of being grounded in our truth, we have so much more agency, energy, and self-compassion moving forward.

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