What do you think is the biggest reason people don’t ask for what they want and need?  Why do people not go for a raise, try out for a team, ask someone for a date, or anything else they could possibly desire?  Fear of rejection!  And do you know what’s so interesting about this?  There really is NO SUCH THING AS REJECTION!  Now, before you think I’ve lost my good sense, let me explain what I mean by this.

Have you ever heard of the “go for no” philosophy in sales?  The gist of it is, if you make a game of being told “no” to whatever it is you are offering, it becomes easier to ask in the first place and accept the no’s.  Since sales is just a numbers game, the more no’s you collect, the more yes’s you are also going to collect in the process.  Basically it’s taking the sting out of the no’s.  It’s merely a matter of collecting enough no’s and the yes’s are an inevitable by-product of receiving the no’s.

Let’s try on a different explanation for why they’re saying no, shall we?  What if it’s really a case of misalignment, nothing more, nothing less?  Say we’re working on a puzzle together and you attempt to put a piece together with another piece and they don’t fit.  There’s a lack of alignment between those two pieces.  It’s not that one piece is rejecting the other.  It’s not that one piece is better than the other.  It’s simply that those two pieces don’t fit together; there’s a lack of alignment between them.

When new team members were struggling to work up the courage to pick up the phone for sales calls, my Sales Director in Mary Kay used to say “If you offered someone a piece of gum and they said ‘no’, would you run off in the corner and cry?  No!  It’s not a personal attack on you or the gum; it’s just not what they want at that point in time.”

No matter what we offer someone, whether it’s a stick of gum, something we’re selling, or even ourselves, “no” isn’t a personal indictment; it’s just not what they want at that point in time.

Imagine how much more willing you will be to ask when you realize the answer is not about you in any way!  It’s simply about the lack of alignment at that point in time.  It reminds me of the little kid who keeps asking his parents “Is it time yet?” and hearing “No”… “How about now?”…”No”…”How about now?”…”No”.  That kid is aware that the decision could change from moment to moment and that it is nothing inherently about him; just the state of that moment in time.

It’s SO much easier to pick up the phone, walk into the boss’s office, step onto the field when we don’t assign personal value to whatever it is we are about to do.  If we just approach all of those events as if we’re curious to learn the outcome, but not attached in any way to a particular outcome, they unfold so much more easily.

More about Rejection

So, going  back to the beginning here,  when we view “no” as the result of a lack of alignment, nothing more, nothing less, we become vastly more able to approach asking the question than when we fear we are being rejected if “no” is forthcoming.

What if we applied this strategy to all areas of our lives?  Think about the implications of this for ending a relationship.  I don’t need to feel devastated if you dump me because it’s not that I’m a bad person; it’s that we are not in alignment with what each other wants in a relationship.  Doesn’t mean I’m a failure at relationships or that you aren’t good enough for a relationship.  It simply means we are each looking for something other than what the other person is offering at this point in time.

Think of a situation where you’ve avoided approaching something for fear of being told “no”.  Now imagine approaching that situation and actually receiving that “no”, but viewing it simply as a mismatch in alignment.  How does that feel to you?  Are you more likely to take the step of asking when you frame it this way? And, in receiving that no, you are now freed up to go ask another and potentially find the yes you’ve been seeking.

Remember, rejection is simply a theoretical construct we’ve created and, as such, we can un-create it by choosing to view “no” as simply feedback or data designed to help us move forward in life.  So step up and ask…”no” may be the best thing you could hear!


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