No Bueno

Life is not always comfortable. From the time we are small children, we are obsessed with self-comfort. When a baby has a wet or soiled diaper or is hungry, it will cry until an adult responds, investigates, and makes the necessary adjustments, thereby calming the child.

This pattern of behavior continues as we grow. We nap when tired, raise the heat when cold, shower when dirty, and take medicine when we are sick, all in the name of finding comfort. For some, happiness is living a life bathed in extravagance, and the stakes of meeting those needs become much higher.

Seeking creature comforts aren’t all that terrible if we realize a few things. We likely have more than others in the world, we probably have less than others in the world, and self-comfort is not applicable when it comes to pushing the boundaries of our personal growth.

There are things we avoid so we can stay within our comfort zones, and we end up shortchanging ourselves as a result.

The word “No” is one of those things we treat as a disease. We don’t like to hear it, have a hard time saying it, and yet, it is an amazingly powerful thing. Admittedly, I do like the word “Yes” better, but I have come to respect and welcome “No” into my world.

We have all been there, afraid to ask someone for coffee or a drink for fear of hearing “thanks but no thanks.” Maybe we interviewed with all we had and didn’t get the job, got rejected from our top school, or even heard a spouse or partner say, “I don’t love you anymore.” These are all forms of “No” – and they hurt.

While none of the above bring joy, satisfaction, or pleasure, they do bring closure and let us see where we stand. 

Fear of hearing “No” stops otherwise great salespeople from reaching their personal best and allows people to linger in a state of suspended thought. The concern should not be in facing “No.”

It’s within the “Maybe’s” many lose valuable time waiting for something that might never manifest.

Embracing “No” is liberating! When I finally arrive at it, I realize that I have taken an idea, relationship, quest, or boundary to its furthest possible limit, eliminating all guesswork. Within the response of “No” is the data I need to reconcile the loss, if any, and move forward.

It isn’t easy, has made me cry and question things, but it has always become the impetus for the next step, rather than pining for a circumstance that was not part of my life curriculum.

Learning to say “No” is freeing. It’s a complete sentence and needs little explanation. Each time you speak it without qualifiers, you strengthen its muscle. Giving someone a “Yes” or a “Maybe” when your soul is screaming “No” perpetuates the habit, and is a disservice to the receiver.

There are tactful ways of saying it, and I am not suggesting being blunt or hurting feelings. The communication of “No” can both honor your needs and give the recipient of your answer clarity. Someone may be waiting for a headcount, reinforcement, validation, or contribution.

Being transparent with your intentions sets the expectation and allows the other person to reconcile as well.

The next time you fear hearing “No,” continue to keep asking!

“Go until it’s No.”

In this way, you have exhausted all possibilities and can pivot into another thought or path with the confidence that it was not your door to walk through at this time.

Those in the know, know “No.”

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