The Power of No

How many of us can say we can take no well? It is okay if you cannot, but what if we can look at the word no differently? Now before you say there is no way that the word no can be changed into a positive concept, I want to tell you a story about how the word no went from being the worst word ever created to landing my new job.

Education is my life, so much I am currently obtaining my Doctorate in Educational Psychology. Yes, I am a nerd. I always wanted to run a school or daycare, but life after Undergrad took a toll on me. When I landed a Preschool Teacher position at a child development center, I was excited. I loved the children, and I thought this could be a job that I could move up into a Director position. When I saw there was an opening for a floor lead, I quickly applied. “I should get this,” I said to myself, “I know Early Childhood Education like the back of my hand.” When I went to talk to the Director about it, she said there was no way I could be a floor lead. I was hurt. I have never dealt with someone telling me that I was not good enough. The parents loved me, and the kids did too, so I did not understand why she did not see the good work I could bring to the position. I shortly left because I knew that I would never get a chance to prove myself.

When I became an Academic Advisor at a University, I took to a Director there. He told me I had the potential to become a manager because of how effective I was at my job. He would give me articles to read about effective leadership, and I even started my master’s in Organizational Leadership to prove to him I was ready for the next step in my career. I knew I had a shot for the Advising Manager position that was opening up. I put my resume in, and I waited. When my Director came into our team huddle to announce who he was choosing, he selected a guy who did not have experience in working with students at all. You might be saying, “Ari that is rude,” hear me out, his position before that manager position was handling degree processing. Also, he could not calm a student down to save his life; and he would give me all of the “high touched” students as he called them. Again, I felt defeated. I could not understand why my Director would give me articles to read and put me on special projects that managers typically handled but could not see the leadership potential in me.

I became an Academic Advisor for another college; I knew I wasn’t going to move up there because my manager was only 10 years old than me. Also, she said I did not have the emotional intelligence to handle leadership, which, if you know anything about me, I am the definition of emotional intelligence. I know you might be thinking, “Ari, when will you get to the part where the no’s turn into something positive?” Just follow me for a little while longer. I recently applied for a Director position at a childcare center. I went in knowing that I did not have the managerial skills other than what I learned from my Organizational Leadership degree, but I could not pass on the chance to interview. I went into the interview, and I gave it my all. I left out of there feeling good about it, but still, in the back of my mind, I was thinking that another no was coming. I received a call on the last Monday of April from the Executive Director of the center. “Hi Ariel, I have some news for you about the position.” He said. “Yes?” I said nervously. Will this conversation be any different from the rest? “I want to welcome you to our team,” He said. “You are our newest Director!” I could not believe it. All the times I have heard no, and how I wasn’t ready for this type of responsibility, someone saw my passion and wanted to see me impact a team.

No’s can be tough to handle, but as my therapist said, no just means next opportunity. Someone’s no to you will be someone’s yes soon enough. You have to push away your doubts and allow yourself to get back out there to search for that next opportunity. Do not let no keep you from trying to reach a goal of yours.

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