Think of a number in your mind – a guess of the number of times I have been told ‘NO’. Whether it was trying to convince people to buy e-books when I was doing information marketing, applying for fellowships, conferences, speaking engagements and jobs or getting buy-in into my ideas and businesses. DO you have a number? Seriously guess a number. If your number was less than 100, you have a lot of faith in me and I thank and love you for that but, I am sorry you are way off. I have applied to attend over 100 conferences alone and heard ‘no’s’ that I have a folder in my email now where I put them.
My point is, it does not matter the number of no’s you have heard in your life, what matters is how you handle them as they come. Truth is, no is painful to hear especially when you have dreamed and visualize how your life will become by the yes you are about to receive only to hear “sorry, not this time”. It’s quite easy to define the ‘no’s’ you get as rejection but just because someone says “No” doesn’t mean you should feel rejection. People aren’t saying “no” because you’re a bad person. Early on, I took a “no” to mean I was doing something wrong and that I should feel bad about it. What I started to realize though was not that I was a bad person, it was simply that my ask wasn’t a good fit for the person on the other end for a myriad of reasons. Sometimes people don’t even have to say the word “no” to you. They simply don’t reply to your ask. They don’t buy your product. They don’t take an action you’d like them to take. Again, even these things don’t mean you’re a bad person.
I read of a story recently where a lady applied for a job within her organization. It will be some kind of promotion for her. She had all the qualifications needed for this job and already worked within the organization. Of all the applicants for that position, she was the most qualified. On that faithful day, when the announcement for the selected candidate was to be made, someone else got the job. After probing, the person that got the job, only got it because they were friends with the boss. This lady, rather than see this as a rejection, saw it instead as a redirection. It was as a result of that “no” that she applied somewhere else, where she is valued and paid multiple times what she was paid before with more perks and better working conditions. A year down the road, her former employer wanted her back but it was too late.
No, in my opinion, is not a rejection, but a redirection for you to be able to see more possibilities. Take every “no” as an opportunity to open multiple doors of “yeses” because forcing some “no’s” to become yes may be the limiting factor to the greatness that resides within you. The “no’s” provide you with the feedback and insight you need to improve—but more importantly, they motivate you to try harder. They push you to constantly test boundaries, and strive at new heights. You chase more opportunities just outside your grasp. You fail more, but you also win bigger and better.
PS: Don’t take the “no’s” personal. A rejection of your idea or product is not a rejection of you as a person. Learn to put them behind you as so many people wish to be where you are right now. Acknowledge your emotion. Rather than suppress, ignore, or deny the pain, acknowledged how you feel and admit you are embarrassed, sad, disappointed, or discouraged and deal with the emotions. Treat yourself with compassion by responding to negative self-talk with a kinder, more affirming message. Don’t allow the “no’s” to define you rather, ask what can be learned from this and use the learning’s as springboard to move forward with more wisdom.