Nobody likes to hear “No.” “No, you can’t have a raise.” “No, we won’t invest in your company.” “No, we won’t buy your product.” “No, we won’t collaborate with you.” Even just seeing the word no written there stings.
No feels like rejection. It can feel like someone telling you that you or your idea aren’t good enough. It doesn’t mean that, but it can feel like that. If you’re going to succeed in your career or in your business, you need to get to a place where the “Nos” don’t phase you. You’ll need to make your way through hundreds if not thousands of “Nos” to get to the “Yes.” It’s just part of the deal.
The most famous authors had their manuscripts rejected hundreds of times before getting a yes. The startups that are soaring left hundreds of pitch meetings with no startup money, until that one person saw their potential. If you can’t tolerate hearing “No,” you’ll quit before getting anywhere. As for that one person you know who got a “Yes,” right away? She’s an exception to the rule and we shouldn’t base our expectations on exceptions to the rule.
But more than becoming comfortable with hearing “No,” you might even be able to train yourself to like it – to get a thrill out of it. We spoke with career coach and founder of the KNAC hiring platform Ariel Lopez along with Deirdre Orr of Dierdre Orr Career Coaching and Consulting about how to get more comfortable hearing “No.”
Hearing no is evidence of something powerful
Lopez says that if you’re hearing “No,” that’s actually a sign that something good just happened. Rather than focusing on what you aren’t getting, appreciate what you’ve done. “Hearing no or getting rejected always sucks but it proves a few things: 1. You tried 2. You’ll be better the next time around 3. The opportunity wasn’t right for you.”