We want the yes. We often want it so desperately that we build the moment before the big ask until it becomes sleepless nights and a churning stomach.
Yes to the sale, yes to the deal, yes to the venture capital. Yes to our design, yes to the big ask. We have all been there.
How about a reframe? How about considering the value of a no?
Last year I had my first ever ask for capital for my start up. The answer was no. Asking was so so hard for me, so to even do this was a big step. Getting a no wasn’t as bad as the first step. In retrospect, I am glad the answer was no. The timing was off. My idea was still ill formed. In the space between then and now I have learned so much and moved so far. The yes I was seeking was actually not appropriate to the time and nature of the business.
I am now in the stage of asking for partners and small investors. The business is in a much clearer space. It is a business now and not an idea. The ask is not that difficult.
Here is the thing…I don’t just want money, or any partner. I want an aligned partner who loves this project and wants to see it fly. A partner who brings complimentary skills to the table. Inhabits the same values. Lives and acts with integrity.
So while I am going for a yes, it is going to behoove me to move quickly through the no’s. No is OK. No is good. No means I am one step closer to yes. The world is filled with stories about people who had hundreds if not thousands of no’s before the yes. JK Rowling, Abraham Lincoln, Seth Godin to name a very few. People who didn’t stop at a no, instead seeing it as another step towards the yes.
Oh, and no doesn’t mean a rejection of me, or my idea…it simply means no…this is not right for them at this time.