Learning how to say NO is one of life’s most important lessons. In her post Tiny Wisdom: It’s OK To Say No, Lori Deschene says, “…today I invite you to join me in remembering it’s OK to say no, and our world won’t fall apart because of it” and then details instances when it is ok to say no. Over the last few years, this is a lesson I have learnt well, saying no without feeling guilty and only say yes when it has value or I have the capacity to handle what I am committing to. I have no qualms about turning down requests for time, money, energy, IP, etc with peace of mind but I had forgotten what it’s like when I am the recipient of the NO, especially when pitching for work/projects.

It’s important not to take it personally. We are each on our chosen path, making decisions accordingly so what you are offering or asking for may not fit in with the other person’s journey/agenda. Plus, sometimes, as the cliché goes, no simply means not now. Reacting in a way that creates awkwardness or discomfort essentially kills any potential for the establishment of a relationship that will have value over time. I am also not a fan of the ‘pushy’ approach purely because I am uncomfortable with others pushing me.

I believe in the idea that we are where we are supposed to be, doing what we are supposed to be doing. And, obstacles are often just opportunities disguised. As entrepreneur and copywriter Joseph Sugarman once said, “Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognised a problem and turned it into an opportunity.”

Being turned down in one space is often an opportunity to approach other spaces. If a potential client turns down a concept, consider where else that concept may work and move on, while still keeping the door open with initial space.

You decide whether something will break you down or build you up.

Just a thought.


  1. Teboho Nkoane

    This is very helpful and true. Quite often we fail to progress in life because we are not honest with the expectations of others. We accept and say yes to everything, even when we know we are not been realistic. As mentioned, we need to learn to not take it too personal. Great article.

  2. Kojo Baffoe

    Thanks. Glad it resonated.

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