October 04th, 2012

The word “no” is so often associated with negativity. It can be perceived as a slap in the face. It can anger, blind, depress and take the wind out of one’s sails. But most importantly, it can be embraced, welcomed and used as one of life’s least utilized but possibly most useful tools.

I have just started my own business and for one reason or another, I have heard the word “no” many, many times in the past few months. It would be idiotic to say that it has a been a complete breeze starting my own company, when in truth it is most definitely one of the most demanding challenges I have ever encountered. That’s not to say it isn’t enjoyable, it just means that I have heard that word so many times I’ve had to develop a new way of dealing with its emotive and occasionally damning effects. And I defy even the most positive of Polly-Annas to not be hurt by yet another knock back after a constant slew of them. But, I think that’s okay, too. Surely we’re allowed a little blip of lower lip wobbling whilst we lick our superficial wounds. I also think it’s how quickly you then pull yourself back up and deal with problems or obstacles that arise.

I like to think that I am Polly-Anna-esque in attitude most days, but when I had another recent business “no” after a seemingly never ending run of them, I succumbed and had my own little pity party moment. Thankfully, it didn’t last long (half an evening at most). And this ability to give ourselves permission to feel disappointment, but then turning it into something unspeakably fantastic is the MOST vital part.

I needed to find a way of not being hit by this overwhelming negativity. I reasoned that it’s just a word, so why not give it a new meaning? So I decided that I would make an acronym out of it. This I have named “New Objective.” So now, when someone hands me a “no” what they are really doing is handing me a New Objective. On a practical level, what this means for me is whenever someone tells me no, at the same time they are lighting a match under my backside which ignites my internal rocket fuel. “How dare they say no!” can be turned into, “Thank you, you’ve just motivated me beyond belief, just the kick I needed.”

This doesn’t have to apply to just business, it could be applied to life in general. Especially to the haters and the nay-sayers who really have no idea what a positive effect their dreary protestations can have. I think there are a lot of people like me who actually use the negative attitude of others and make damn sure they are proved wrong. Success is something that a hater would not want to see in someone, yet by uttering a bad word, they are inadvertently fuelling the fire of prosperity within the person they want to fail. “No, you won’t be able to achieve that,” could be seen as a New Objective to go ahead and achieve it anyway or a New Objective to find an even better way. Imbuing the word with positivity and seeing it as a gateway rather than the deflating and depressing word it has become.

It can take a bit of practice to alter the way you feel about the word “no,” but if you can get to the point where you hear, see and feel differently about it then life gets that little bit easier. It doesn’t have to mean a rejection, it can mean that a new path becomes illuminated. The only reason we couldn’t see this alternative path before is because we were so hellbent on one specific direction and outcome. When handed a “no,” we have the choice to look for other ways, and this is where seeing it as a new objective really becomes worth its weight in gold. If you can’t bring yourself to welcome it (I haven’t quite reached this stage myself), then at least when it arrives: flip it, turn it around and be willing to use it as an invitation to look at the new realm of opportunities that appear.

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