in Career

Not Listening to, or Moving Forward Despite the word NO Thrown at You

One side effect of being an entrepreneur is that you stop hearing the word “NO“. In fact, one can say that you still hear the word but you don’t listen to it or it doesn’t stop you anymore. Where it gets interesting is when this start happening even in personal and day-to-day issues apart from just professional matters, as I have observed in the last few months.

Lately I have noticed that how I have annoyed and surprised many people as I have ignored when they said NO to a certain matter, or how I have come up and followed up with them again and again. People are not used to hear back from people after they have uttered the NO word, but it works for me as long as it gets the job done.

What's your definition of NO?

What’s your definition of NO?

I think what entrepreneurship has done is forced me to change the definition of NO to “not right now”, “not this way” or something else depending on the situation. If I look back, I can remember very clearly a few instances when I have followed up on a NO response with – “How about tomorrow?”, “How about if I do it this way?”, or “Is there another way we can work it out?” and similar such questions until I get at least a part of what I wanted in the first place.

When we are working on something we really care about, it is very easy to get discouraged. It is very normal to even assume NO as the answer if the opposite party doesn’t reply or get back to us for a few days. But the truth is that there is probably a reason unknown to us for the No or No Reply. And in most of the cases, there is an alternate to that reason which, if explored, could lead to a Yes eventually.

I guess this is almost second nature to entrepreneurs, but we must always keep persevering if we “really” want to get what we desire. And if it is meant to be, it will happen eventually. We just have to keep on it, day after day, week after week, and month after month.

And even if you get a final NO (like somebody threatening to hit you the next time you bring a certain issue up) or you decide to move on (which is always a fine line), I have also realized that setbacks are often the starting points of something else, and not an end in itself. The only question is how we approach them, and where we draw that thin line between “giving up” and “going after what you really care about“.

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