What’s your relationship to the word “No”?
For most of us, it’s somewhere on the spectrum of dread at one end to complete, paralyzing fear at the other.
“No” is a powerful word. Ask any 2-year-old.
...better yet, ask the 2-year-old’s parents.
“No” sets limits, creates boundaries, and inherently determines direction: in sales, in relationships, in everything. It can be very useful in that way. But hearing “No” can feel like a slammed door, a complete rejection, a message to “Get out and stay out!”
What is it that makes “No” one of the most difficult things to hear and accept?
There is a part of all of us that wants to be approved of, to be liked, that wants to hear “Yes.” (In fact, not just “Yes” but “YES!!!!!!”) It shows up all over the place, and can manifest differently depending on the individual. For some it’s crucially important to their sense of self-esteem that they hear “Yes” from many sources, and often. For others it only comes to call every now and again...like in sales, or maybe in the bedroom. It’s that part of us that looks outside of ourselves to find self-worth, approval, and affirmation.
And that, dear friends, is codependence at its finest: using another’s perception or feeling to determine how YOU feel about yourself.
This blog post has two parts: first, to give some concrete tools to entrepreneurs who are stymied by the fear of “No”; then in two weeks, we’ll elucidate why sales is such a powerful spiritual practice.
What to do with “No”s?
Any entrepreneur can tell you: you may hear a lot of “No”s in the beginning of a business. This can be very difficult, especially if your business has been born of a deep inner desire to give your gift to the world. Hearing “No” can be painful because it feels so personal. You want success, you want to earn money, you want to prove to yourself and the world that you can do this thing - and each “No” can feel like a refusal of your deep desire - or of you as a person.
So be kind to yourself as you read this post - there’s some tender places in you that are ready to be seen.
It’s a given that when you hear a “No,” you are always going to respond in some way on the inside: frustration, disappointment, anger, self-loathing, the sense that something (probably you) must be wrong are all common reactions.
Bring your consciousness into the mix, and you can make this response a choice - 100% up to you. How do you want to respond when you hear “No”?
- What would it look like to say “Yes” to “No”?
- What would it mean if it wasn’t a bad thing to hear “No”?
- What if “No” was just a cue to get curious?
Take that “No” and use it to grow.
Think of your “No”s as a training tool for your and your clients’ highest good. They are your chosen curriculum. It is in the vast, gory, and glorious training ground of “No”, where you will grow the fastest in dismantling your codependency.
Get curious about your resistance to hearing “No.” If you hear “No” and feel dejected, despondent, frustrated, or discouraged - if you only feel good about yourself when others say “Yes” to you - how open can you be to the actual truth of a situation or relationship?
Now ask yourself: “What truth is this ‘No’ revealing? Is it a part of the person’s resistance pattern? Is it their fear talking? Is it revealing something about my resistance or fear?” Sit with your teacher whose name is “No” and ask her: “What do you want me to see? What do I get to work on next?”
“No” should not be a cue for self-punishment at all…it’s the self-punishment/negativity/frustration that’s getting in the way of you having what you want, not the “No” itself.
Until you are able to tease out your codependent need to hear “Yes” from your business, the lines will be messy, and both you and your business will be weighed down by the load. If you want to build a business, if you want to sell, you have to be willing - and even eager - to hear “No.”
If you’re in it to win it, you have more “No”s coming your way. Why? Because your highest self wants them. They help you see your codependent patterns and consciously choose freedom. Your highest self is here to grow, provide more, be of the absolute highest service you can possibly be to others - and you can’t do it if you’re constantly hoping and needing other people to make you feel good about yourself. Your highest self is sending you clear signals about what to work on next. Your reaction to the “No”s shows you where.
In order to be of service to others, you must master the tricky and sticky tendency to make someone else responsible for your feeling of worthiness.
If you don’t put any conditions on another person to make you feel good about yourself by buying your product, hiring you, or agreeing with you, you literally free them from any responsibility to take care of you. It’s a powerful act of abundance - to step into such self-love and faith that you don’t need to put any conditions on those around you.
Be genuinely curious about someone else’s truth, and you will magnetize all the “Yes”es you could hope for.
UPDATE! Read Part 2 here.