Asking For What You Want: No is an Acceptable Answer

Earlier this week I had a phone conversation with a colleague. He pitched me an idea. I loved the idea and we’re going to move forward.

As the conversation wrapped up he admitted, “I was nervous about talking to you about this.”

Given that my awareness these days is on communication and speaking up, his admission intrigued me.

So I asked, “What made you nervous about asking?”

“I didn’t know if you’d like the idea,” he said.

He thought I might say no.

Seth Godin recently published a blog titled “What No Means”.

According to Godin, “No” can mean many things including:

  • Too busy
  • Not enough money
  • Not a priority
  • Not enough trust

What it doesn’t mean… “I hate your idea and I hate you.”

No is an acceptable answer

Then I saw this Tweet on Twitter
NO copy

I love it! NO = Next Opportunity

How often do you think of NO as an opportunity?

I deal with this fear, too. I have a call to make, a question to ask. I might hear no. My stomach turns, I think “I can’t” or “why bother?” It’s taken me a long time to realize “No” is an acceptable answer. I still have to talk myself through it.

I’d rather hear “no” then get strung along.

If there is something you want – more business, more clients, help to grow your business – ask for it.

It’s your business, your responsibility. Ask for what you want. Even if you hear “no”.

  • Figure out what’s stopping you.
  • Practice hearing “no”. Put yourself in low-risk situations where “no” is a real possibility. Get a little more comfortable and less afraid of the word.
  • Step into the fear and ask for what you want

What’s the worst that could happen? You end up in the same place you were before you asked.

Or, you may find the answer you hear isn’t as bad as you make it out to be in your own mind.

Your turn:

Are you afraid to ask for what you want? What can you accomplish if you start to ask? Even if you hear “no”…

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About Stacey:

Hi and welcome to the Brave Communicator blog where I write about communication as the path to well-being, trust, and influence.

I share insights, observations and interviews with brave communicators. I invite you to take a look around and bravely join the conversation. Learn more
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