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The Worst Thing They Can Say is No

It is human nature to want. The feeling starts at a very young age and continues throughout life. As kids, our wants are frivolous and simple: we want the better toy, dessert for dinner, and to stay up an extra hour before bedtime. While we grow, so do our wants. Personally, we want to develop relationships, ask that cute person out on a date, learn new hobbies, travel, or make a difference. Professionally, we want advancement, whether that be a raise, a better position, more education, or recognition in your field.

It is easy to want, no action is required. The hard part is acting on these wants because we are great at making excuses. We often assume the worst and disqualify ourselves from contention without even giving it “the old college try.”

The fear or embarrassment of hearing “no” can cripple people into complacency with their current position. The want to grow is still there but the learned fear of “no” outweighs that want.

As a Recruiter, I hear people disqualify themselves every day without finding out the true result – “Ah, I really want to apply for that job but I know I don’t stand a chance.” In sales, it’s easy to not call a prospective client because you have heard “no” before, and just cannot bear to hear it again.

Well, I am here to say “The worst thing they can say is no.”

It is true, hearing no is difficult, but it’s not the end of the world. We have all been told no and survived to tell the tale. We just have to switch our mindset a little and find that silver lining by turning ‘No’ into, what I now ‘know.’

Turning ‘No’ Into What I Now ‘Know’

With the correct perspective, being told no can be empowering.

Here’s an example.

You’re scrolling through LinkedIn and see a friend’s company is hiring. You’ve heard how great the company is and have been starting to think about your next career move. You apply, score a meeting, and nail the interview. But at the end of the process, you were not chosen.

It feels terrible and you want to cut your losses and move on. DON’T. Reflect on the process. What did you learn about yourself? Were you as prepared as you could have been? Are there areas where you can add skillsets to make yourself the best fit for the role? What did you learn about the job, the industry, or the type of company? After interviewing, do you still feel the desire for the position or was it a little off? While meeting with the hiring manager, did you learn about other roles that are more suitable for you?

Or, take this scenario.

Your boss quits and their job is open. You set a meeting with the director of your division to express your interest in the role. You spend hours crafting your pitch, tallying your accomplishments and the reasons why you are the perfect person for the job. The rest of your team loves you, you’re the most tenured on staff, and the executive team respects you. But, you don’t have any management experience and your director tells you they’re bringing in someone else.

Do you quit your job? Bad mouth the decision to your peers? Or, give your new boss a hard time? No. You go back to work. You apply yourself and remain the go-to person on your team. And, you start managing the most junior staff member while mentoring others in the company. Six months pass, your new manager isn’t a fit and leaves – and you get the job.

Being told no never feels good. But it is a far better feeling than living with the regret of never going after what you want. Go for it. If you are told no, fine. Just be sure to learn something from it – after all, the worst thing they can say is no.

Photo credit: Canva

by Zachary Gorman, National Recruiter, Planet Pharma

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