The Power of No

The Power of No

I am sure you have all heard “No” before. Whether it was when you asked your parents for some more candy or asking for a raise. There has been a time when everyone has had to experience the power of No.

In life, there are many trials we have to go through. Each one of these trials determines what path we are put on. In life think about a time you took a walk, hike, run, etc. During these activities, you had to make a decision. Right or left, up or down you ultimately had to choose.

Now think about your life’s journey thus far you. Every decision you have ever made has come at a major or minor fork in the road. Sometimes we do not have a choice, and someone tells us we can’t do something, telling us “no” before we had a chance.

How does this word make you feel? It can hurt a lot especially when you work hard and believe in everything that you are doing. Sometimes it can come as a shock, “Really I am getting no these people have no idea what it takes and how good this is.”

It is at this point that determines the initial move forward. The statement above is more defensive, making it seem like the person you talked to as less than you. However, you can start to doubt yourself and let the fear creep in or any combination of the two. The length of time you sit in this cycle, and your mental awareness will shape your reality.

This is all nice and dandy but how do we get out of these cycles and move on.

1. Take it for what it is

It is a word, and you are giving it all the power, if you determine the next “no” you get will destroy your life then it will. Think about that for a second. A two-letter word is destroying your entire life.

“No,” is just that, a two-letter word, yes it can stop you from the immediate task but it doesn’t have to end everything you have worked to accomplish.

When I was in the SEAL teams, we were given many different types of missions. Some of those missions took very artistic ways to accomplish them. We got a lot of no’s along the way. The reason, because it was such a different mission no one knew the solution. But we had to keep moving.

We took the “no” and let it fuel us. Finding new ways to explain things, enhancing our Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), and getting better overall. We pushed the envelope even further and showed our superiors that we can accomplish anything and to be confident in us.

We could have easily sat back and said we are done. But we didn’t we let it fuel us.

2. Let it Fuel You

Remember the story above? You are the master of the ship. If we would have allowed our captain to be the final word we would not have accomplished nearly half the things we did.

Let’s bring this into the business world. In the corporate world, I would come in and be given the task to look at, analyze and build data infrastructures. When I would go into these companies, I would look at everything. I would not just look at the technology, but the people, and upper management who were managing these things.

After looking at everything, I would put it all together and suggest solutions. In most cases, the upper management and C-Suite executives would be extremely hesitant and say “no.” I saw this as an opportunity to find a better way to explain the solution or highlight a solution for a pain point.

The word “no” would fuel me to prove even more why it is essential, and if you don’t move forward, you are missing out.

3. Throw Away Your Self Doubt

“No” can bring up a lot of emotional self-talk. “Did I do the right thing,” “Why did I do this,” “Everyone else is successful I just suck.” In no way does this build you up, it can get you really mad or even depressed. Now ask yourself when you are really mad or depressed do you make the best decisions? The answer in most cases is, “not really.”

When the negative self-talk happens, and it will happen. Stop your brain immediately. Your fear is creeping up and trying to save you from yourself. Don’t dream big because you might get hurt.

I am here to tell you I have had many situations in my life that I failed. In BUD/s pool comp I failed my first attempt but succeeded in my second attempt 20 minutes later. In the SEAL platoon, I couldn’t get communications to work in nasty situations, but I kept shooting and moving until I could make it happen. I have started businesses that have failed and from those failures have learned and built sustainable, long-lasting, lucrative business.

If I hadn’t stopped my brain from negative self-talk, I would have failed at BUD/s long before pool comp. Even before I got to BUD/s, I wouldn’t have made it to day one.

4. Say GoodBye to Naysayers

Everything you have read to this point will make you stronger internally and mentally. There is still one outside force that needs to be silenced and removed.

The people you associate with on a daily basis or even on the weekends will hold you down or uplift you. Let’s go back to my BUD/s story. Before I left for the NAVY, my friends realized what I was doing. They constantly told me, “it wasn’t going to work out” in addition they said, “just stay don’t waste your time.”

What I realize now is that they were uncomfortable with someone dreaming big. The path of comfort was the path to success in their mind. If you have made it this far in the article, I appreciate it and want to help you realize the path to success is hard.

The one thing that makes it easier is your support network. I have had to say goodbye to almost all of my friends I grew up with. Only now have I started to reconnect with some of them. When I broke free of the chains they held me down with, I realized there were countless mentors, future friends and just people waiting to help.

It is straightforward to tell if someone is in your corner or not. The next time something does not go as planned pay attention to what the person you confide in says. If it is positive, these are good people if it is negative or they don’t really care. Red flag, find new friends. Even better would be for you to tell them how they are never there for you and you are moving on.

This is probably the hardest step but the most liberating. Trust me people are out there that are willing to help and support you just as much as you want to help and support them.


Life is going to give you lemons it is up to you whether you want to make lemonade. The people you surround yourself with will either help you find the lemonade machine or keep you from it. You are in charge of your own life, “no” is a two-letter word that can control you or inspire you. I choose to let it inspire. Now get up and make things happen and don’t take “no” for an answer. “Energy and persistence conquer all things.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

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