When the Answer is "No"

Preface: Most of the time, Root & Restore will be a place of encouragement and empowerment. However, something that is more important to me than lifting people up is being real. I believe with every part of my being that in order for me to be an effective encourager, it is vital that I be genuine and real. That way, when I say the fun, kind things, the recipient of those words knows that they are hearing me speak something that I truly believe in rather than just anecdotal happy words to lighten the mood. 

So, to jump right in... 

A very real and normal part of building a business is being told "no" or watching doors close that you wished would open. If entrepreneurship was an easy path to achieving wild success, everyone would do it! However, it's actually a difficult road that is full of detours, delays and disappointments. 

Part of those disappointments can show up as rejection. A lost bid, a rejected idea, a "change in direction". All are forms of the answer "no" and all have the potential to be a nuisance at best and crushing at their worst. 

Today I'd like to share with you some thoughts on how to deal with rejection- from a lost bid or a disappointed client to losing a client to a competitor.

1. Understand that it doesn’t feel good. 

  • Allow yourself to feel sad over receiving “no” for an answer. It takes time to process the feelings you’ll have over rejection- from relief to disappointment, etc. I believe that in our boss-lady culture, it can be tempting to gloss over our feelings of hurt or disappointment and try to put on a brave face.

You don't have to show the whole world your broken heart or ruined vision board, but it is important to be honest with yourself about how you feel. If you're relieved, that's ok. If you're upset, that's ok too.  If you're crushed, it simply means you are human. 

2. Be kind to yourself. 

  • Being rejected is not fun, regardless of how you look at it. However, it doesn’t mean that you are a failure. It doesn’t mean you should quit. It doesn’t mean that you have no value. It can be tempting to jump to those types of conclusions, but being told “no” doesn’t mean that the whole world rejects you. It just means that the situation you were wanting to be in was not for you, or not for you in that time. Being kind to yourself and giving yourself room to process your emotions (be it for 5 minutes or 5 months...) is key to moving on in a healthy, effective way. 

3. Protect your space. 

  • I was once told no over two very big projects that were deeply disappointing. I just KNEW I was the perfect fit and the “yes” was so palpable I could taste it. Then, I got a no for both. I was SO upset!! It felt like a punch in the gut and while I knew I’d ultimately be fine, I had to take a minute to protect my space to protect my sanity. This meant taking a step back from specific social media pages for a while and intentionally surrounding myself with things that would lift me up. I took on projects that made me happy and I spent time with people that really knew me and loved me. Instead of scrolling on social media, I spent more time away from my phone than I normally would and found such peace and joy in simply protecting my space. 

4. Try to accept that not everyone/everything is for you.

  • This can be difficult, because it’s so easy to feel like you want to be all the things for all the people. This “no” could have been a case of bad timing: maybe you weren’t ready for the opportunity, or maybe the opportunity wasn’t ready for you! Maybe in 2, 5, or 10 years, things will be different. OR, maybe you will simply grow out of the need for that opportunity and saying “no” now positions you for something that is a much better fit later.

Maybe your business growth would be hindered by the opportunity you’re seeking now and you are being protected for something more significant in the future. I’ve heard the concept that “there is enough success for everyone” and I sincerely believe that’s true. However, the success that someone else has may not fit your life in the same way. That same concept works for why some people get “yes’s” and some people get “no’s”. Your opportunity will come, and it will be the best fit for you. An answer of “no” can be painful, but it can also be a protection for what is meant to come into our lives.

What is meant for you will find you! 

5. Try to find the lesson.

  • Finally, I strongly believe that we are told “no” in life for a plethora of reasons. These closed doors can be deeply disappointing and painful, but they can truly shape us and our businesses for incredible growth if we let them. Maybe experiencing rejection ourselves helps us to be more compassionate and considerate when we have to tell someone else “no” to something. We can be more kind and understand how they may feel.

Being rejected for an opportunity can give us freedom to pursue new, unexpected avenues of our businesses that we might not have otherwise. We never know what growth opportunity is waiting just around the corner!  We can also take the opportunity to learn from our experience. Maybe we were weak in certain areas of our business and this gives us the opportunity for true, honest reflection and improvement. 

We are told no for so many reasons, so many times in our journey as entrepreneurs. It is a difficult part of pursuing your dreams, but it can be a refining part of our journey if we allow it. If we choose to let our experiences of rejection be fertile ground for growth and positive change, these “no’s” can become the very foundation that we build our empire off of. 

I'll have to give you the details over coffee sometime, but there have been a few "no's" in my life that I truly thought would crush me. I did not feel that I could stand under their weight and getting through a day felt overwhelming and downright impossible. I don't share these things lightly or ignorantly... I know that if you really had your heart set on something and it doesn't work out, it can feel as if oxygen suddenly was in short supply.

This is when it is best to engage in serious self-care and tangible tools for success... care for yourself at your most basic level, meet your immediate needs and let the rest fall into place. 

One final thought: I am no spring chicken... HA!  I’ve seen a lot and experienced a lot in my life. I just want to encourage you that there has yet to be a “no” in my life that I didn’t come to eventually appreciate, no matter how much it hurt at the time.

A dream deferred can surprise you in the ways it does come true, in its own time and in its own way. 

I am cheering you on, friend. I would love to hear about how you handle rejection and how you've come to appreciate how hearing "no" can shape your journey.