Life is not always comfortable. From the time we are small children we are obsessed with our self-comfort. When a baby has a wet or soiled diaper or is hungry for food or milk, it will cry out until some adult responds, investigates and makes the necessary adjustments, thereby calming the child.

This pattern of behavior continues as we grow. We nap when tired, raise the heat when cold, shower when dirty, take medicine when we are sick, all in the name of finding comfort when we feel out of sorts. For some, happiness can be living a life bathed in extravagance, and the stakes of meeting our own needs are much higher.

Seeking creature comforts aren’t all that terrible if we realize a few things. We likely have more than some others in the world, we probably have less than some others in the world, and self-comfort is not applicable when it comes to pushing our boundaries as it relates to personal growth.

There are things we avoid so we can stay within our comfort zones, and we end up shortchanging ourselves as a result.

The word No is one of those things we treat as a disease. We don’t like to hear it and have a hard time saying it, yet it is an amazingly powerful thing. Admittedly I do like the word Yes better, but I have come to respect and welcome No into my world.

We have all been there, afraid to ask someone for coffee or a drink for fear of hearing “thanks, but no thanks.” Maybe we interviewed with all we had and didn’t get the job offer, got rejected from our top school, or even heard a spouse or partner say, “I don’t love you anymore.” These are all forms of No – and they hurt.

While none of the above bring joy, satisfaction or pleasure, they do bring closure and let us see where we stand.

Fear of hearing No stops otherwise great salespeople from reaching their personal best and allows people to linger in a state of suspended thought. The concern should not be in facing No; it’s within the Maybe’s that many lose valuable time waiting for something that may never manifest.

Embracing no is liberating! When I finally arrive at No, I realize that I have taken an idea, relationship, quest or boundary to its farthest possible limit, eliminating all guesswork.

Within the response of “No” is the data I need to reconcile the loss, if any, and move forward.

It isn’t easy, has made me cry and question things, but it has always become the impetus for the next step in my journey, rather than pining for a circumstance that was not part of my life curriculum.

Learning to say No is freeing. It is a complete sentence and needs little explanation. Each time you learn to speak it without qualifiers, its muscles flex and strengthen. Giving someone a Yes or a Maybe when your soul is screaming out “No” creates more of the same, and is a disservice to the receiver. 

There are tactful ways of saying it, and I am not suggesting being blunt and hurting feelings. The communication of No gives honor to your needs and lets the recipient of your answer deal with clarity. Someone may be waiting for a headcount, reinforcement, validation or contribution.

Being transparent with your intentions sets the expectations and allows the other person to reconcile as well.

The next time you fear hearing No, continue to ask. Go until it’s No.” In this way, you have exhausted all possibilities and can pivot into another thought or path with the confidence that it was not your door to walk through at this time.

Those in the know, know “No”.