Don’t Take No For An Answer

I had the privilege of speaking at TEDxSMU Hilltop last week.  The title of my talk was “No = Go”, and I shared some of the “no’s” I’ve heard so far in starting my own company, Mizzen+Main.  The only reason I have been able to bring to life my dream of starting a company is because I refused to take no for an answer.  I hope to share that message as much as possible – our community, country, and world need people to stop taking no for an answer.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the differences between the no we tell ourselves and the no we hear from others.  I’m not sure which is more powerful – to be specific, detrimental – in one’s life.  No matter what, we have a choice in how to respond to either “no”, which is to say the negative power “no” can have in our lives actually means little, because we always have the power within ourselves to effect a different result.

While telling oneself no is likely a product of being told no, whether directly or indirectly, both have can have similar effects: inaction and a deteriorating sense of confidence; however, the buck stops with you when you tell yourself no.  You alone are responsible for telling yourself no, which also means you have all the power in the world to achieve the exact opposite result – telling yourself yes.  When others tell you no, you are not powerless though. Push back and get the answer you want, find a different way at the moment, or reorganize and get the answer you want when the time is right.

I’ve seen many people not get what they want out of life because “no” is the paradigm they live with – from others and themselves. This isn’t meant to be a “go get ’em” motivational post.  It’s a comment on the power of no in people’s lives and hopefully sparks a thought on the opportunities that are possible if more people didn’t take no for an answer.