Stellar Coaching + Consulting

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The Importance of Welcoming the "No"


As human beings we do a lot of asking: asking for help (although some find this VERY difficult); asking for companionship; asking for resources; asking for opinions. Whatever the case may be, asking is part of the human game.

The same is true in the leadership realm. We make requests of others, in order to advance our leadership cause, whatever that is. The goal, of course, is to hear some version of “yes”.

“Yes, I’ll support you.”
 “Yes, I’ll send you referrals.”
“Yes, I’ll work with you.”
“Yes, I’ll join that committee.”

“Yes” is the ever-coveted response in the never-ending pursuit of success. By perpetually going after “yes”, however, we are missing out on the gifts of “no”.

“No” is a perfectly legitimate response to any request. Often it’s the best response we can receive.

“No”, affords us the opportunity to evaluate.  “No” allows us to make sure the context around our request is what it should be.  In the face of “no”, we get to decide if there are any tweaks to be made to our request. We get to prune, if necessary, and modify as required.

“Yes” rarely happens right out of the gate. Sometimes it does; and not always. When we forget that “no” can precede a “yes”, we can stop ourselves from pursuing a worthwhile objective. It’s worth remembering that “no” doesn’t necessarily mean “never”. Sometimes, “no” simply means “not now” – or “not in this form.”

Bottom-line:  Every “no” you receive, takes you one step closer to “yes.” Hearing a resounding “yes” when we make a request is what we all want in our heart of hearts. There’s something to be said, however, for the gift of “no”. Whenever you hear “no” as an answer, use it as an opportunity to anchor your request before you continue in your pursuit of “yes”.