Over the weekend, I completed a coaching training with leading Life and Business Coach Jevonnah “Lady J” Ellison. The sessions were challenging, inspiring, and creative. The biggest win was to experience a major clarifying breakthrough in my vision for my business.
The training was intense. It demanded six hours, spread across two days. The other participants and I collaborated, sharing details of each other’s enterprises and encouraging each other as we opened up space to dream big.
In the closing session, there was one concept that held my attention and now serves as the impetus for this article. It was when Lady J would emphasize several times this idea, “Celebrate the no’s in your life”
My first reaction to this idea was something like this Jamaican Patois phrase: “Wheel and come again, kaaz wah yuh a seh nuh mek nuh sense.”
English Translation: “Please repeat…because what have just said makes no sense.”
“Celebrate the no’s in your life?” Excuse me? Many of the no’s I’ve heard are tied to painful histories that I’ve gladly put out of my mind. Why would I want to round them up for some comeback celebration?
But Lady J went on to clarify her position. In the end, she had me convinced. It’s like this, we all desire to be loved and accepted. We crave being included, approved, and affirmed by others. Let’s be honest, some of us very much live for approval.
“Yes, you passed the exam!”
“Yes, you are getting a bigger contract!”
“Yes, your home loan was approved!”
“Yes, I’ll marry you!”
Yes, Yes, Yes! I’ve got to admit it—yes is a pretty comforting sound to hear.
But think about it—is it realistic to only receive yes…every time? Is that something we can really thrive on exclusively? If there were zero no’s, wouldn’t yes lose its significance over time?
After I graduated from community college back in Grenada, I applied to several banking institutions I knew of for a teller position. That kind of professional working environment was attractive to me. Several of my colleagues were hired…but not me. In fact, I received five no’s.
Next, I tried applying for different positions at the airport. Since I spoke Spanish fluently, I figured I would be an easy sell in the travel industry. But each airlines said the same thing: No, no, no, no! I guess Kelvin as a flight attendant wasn’t an appealing prospect for them as I had imagined after all.
Rejection is never easy to digest in the moment. But those no’s would in fact change the course of my life.
Eventually, I became an elementary school teacher; and the next eight months became the highlight of my post-college life. I had fun, felt alive and enjoyed the opportunity to educate and mentor students. In retrospect, I was actually happy for the no’s. The pain of the initial rejection ultimately had no lasting effect.
The no’s in our lives sometimes allow us to discover our gifts and purposes.
The no’s help us codify our standards. They reveal to us what we will accept and what we will not. There is ever so much a thing as, “This is a no for my life” as there is a “This is a yes for my life.”
The no’s can be a blessing in disguise. Do you remember that breakup? It was painful but a few years later it was the best decision for you because life handed you someone else whom you now enjoy. How about your business? It was started only after your ex-boss said no and let you go. Rejection does have its benefits.
The no’s mean that you are making progress. Things are happening! As Lady J says, “People are noticing you.” They are reading your email, your application, your proposal, whatever you’ve sent them. The pushback is a good thing. So, that grant agency rejected you. That only means that you’ll have to come back harder with an even more compelling and concise argument for why you need those startup funds. Tighten up your idea even more and celebrate that no!” It’s a sign that you are drawing closer to your goal.
The no’s protect us from an unhealthy scenario. They mean a better alternative is in our future.
The no’s build character, patience, tenacity, grit, creativity and determination. We learn. We grow and we become better individuals as a result of it. So don’t give up!
What’s your initial reaction when you hear the word no? Do you need to change your perspective or attitude? Breathe. Slow down and reflect. You’ve just been given a valuable opportunity to change the course of your future.
As you move forward, give yourself permission to celebrate your no’s. It might be the 99th no…that’s ok. It’s a win. Smile! The law of numbers will kick in. It’s only a matter of time before your next yes. And when that happens, it will be sweet and well deserved.
- Check out “Lady J” blog http://ladyjevonnahellison.com/ or follow on Facebook