Hey, Thanks for Saying, NO!


“So we went to Atari and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we’ll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we’ll come work for you.’ And they said, ‘No.’ So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, ‘Hey, we don’t need you. You haven’t got through college yet.'”

–Steve Jobs on his attempts to get Atari and HP interested in his and Steve Wozniak’s personal computer.

We’ve all been told NO when we wanted a YES. Rejection stings. It hurts. It sucks…It helps us.

Wait, WHAT?!

Yes, NOs can help us. (hold on, was that sentence confusing?) Here’s what I mean. Imagine if Atari had simply hired the Steves. Would they have become all they became? Would they have done all they have done? Would I be typing this on a Mac today? Would I be talking in potentially gramatically incorrect questions? No way.

Because they were told NO, they had to figure out a way to make their ideas and computers so good that people would have to buy them and the industry couldn’t ignore them.

My oldest daughter, Faith, has been an actress since she was 6 years old. She loves it. But, all the way up through her junior year of high school she had never landed the lead role in any of her shows. She had gotten a lot of NO. It was frustrating for her and there were many teary nights. (Are you sure you want to be an actress, honey? It might be less painful to just hit yourself in the head with a hammer every couple of weeks.)

But she is driven. Faith taught herself tap via Youtube in the unfinished part of our basement. She talked us into getting her voice and dance lessons. She found an extra choir group to join outside of her school. She auditioned for every play she could find. She applied to every modeling/advertising agency in town until one accepted her.

She has worked and practiced HARD to become the actress/singer/dancer she wants to be.

If she had gotten more YES along the way, I don’t think she would have worked as hard. Why practice so much when you’re already getting all the good parts?

I know that’s true because I asked her, “Faith do you think you would be as good of an actress, dancer and singer today if you had gotten lead roles all along the way?” She said, “No way, Dad. I’m way better now. In fact, I’ve gotten better than some of the kids who used to get the lead all the time. While they were coasting, I was working and growing.”

Faith’s hard work paid off. She got the lead in several plays her junior and senior year of high school. She auditioned and was one of only eight students excepted to a very good Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting program. I have no doubt she can make this into her career.

I also have no doubt that she will face a lot more NOs, and they will continue to make her into the actress she needs to get to hear a lot of YESes.

I had the same experience with no while playing basketball, getting into radio, sales, voice work, and more. Oh, I’ve gotten plenty of NO. I still get plenty of NO. When I let that be the final answer, I’m done. When I look at why I get the NO, and work to get better, I’m often able to turn it into a YES.

What about you? What NO made you better? How can you turn a NO into the motivator to do the work you need to become who you want to be?

The YES you earn will be so very sweet.

Let’s GO!

I now offer one to one coaching and an online coaching program for various budgets. Click here for more details.

Choose Yourself – Don’t Wait to be Chosen


Are “the gatekeepers” stopping you from pursuing your dreams?

Told no on your loan application?

Passed over for the promotion?

Waiting for someone to ask you to marry him?

Never given the lead role?

Why do we think we have to wait to be chosen? Why must we play by someone else’s rules and live up to someone else’s standards to be good enough?

Why not choose ourselves?

That’s what the painters Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Degas, Pissarro, and Sisley finally did. They chose themselves.

Malcolm Gladwell tells the story in his book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants. 

In the 1860s, Paris ruled the world of art. If you wanted to gain respect, and make money, you needed to have your works accepted to the Salon de Paris.

The judges had strict standards. Art was supposed to represent real life with very defined details. No paintbrush strokes should be visible. Abstract art was always rejected.

Obviously, the Impressionists art did not fit the Salon’s parameters.

After years of trying to get chosen by the Salon, struggling with being true to their art and trying to make a living, the painters decided to choose themselves.

They staged their own art show, in ways vastly different than the Salon They slowly started to build an audience. Some critics even started seeing the beauty in their art.

They changed the world.

Yes, it’s scary to go outside of the so called experts, gate keepers, directors and judges, but why do we keep giving them the power to decide if we’re good enough?

Be like Monet and Renoir.

Choose yourself.

Find a new way to show what you can do.

  • Self publish your book.
  • Start your own YouTube channel.
  • Open your own business.
  • Create a new product or service that you can start selling on your own website.

Maybe one day what you create will be priceless too.

Questions for comment: What have you tried to do but been told no by the gate keepers? Have you ever gone around them? How?