Do You Listen to the One “No”?

We are all leaders.  A good leader doesn’t need to try to do it all.  What is that old saying, “A jack of all trades and a master of none”?  I think that is a very true today, as true as when it was first published in 1592.  We must reach out for guidance and assistance.  The question becomes, to whom do we listen?  Whose opinion do we value?  Just because someone is a professional doesn’t necessarily mean they have your best interests at heart when they provide guidance.

I made a big decision to hold a public workshop.  I thought I had a well laid plan.  But, a bit of fear and lack of confidence lead me to contact someone I thought would provide sound advice and would want to help me succeed.   My success would benefit him too.  Win Win, right?  Wrong.

His guidance was to question why on earth I would ever dream I could hold a workshop that was open to the public.  The conversation went downhill from there.  He closed by saying that he guessed he didn’t say what I wanted to hear.  I responded that not only did he NOT say what I wanted to hear, everything he said was contrary to all the guidance I had gleaned from a fabulous group of entrepreneurs.  He told me to let him know if he could provide any further guidance.

Are you kidding me?

My mind was spinning.  You just crushed my plans and dreams.  You just told me you had no idea in the world why I thought anyone would pay me to facilitate a workshop.  You told me I had no credibility or history to solicit anyone to attend.  Why on earth would I ever reach out to you for guidance in the future?

After a few minutes of being crushed, I picked myself up, dusted myself off and reached out to trusted colleagues and friends who bolstered me back up!  I knew he was wrong.  I have a lot of credibility and experience.  This is just a new platform and approach.

I did hold my first DISC Leadership Development Workshop on May 14, 2015.  I had hoped for at least 2 attendees and had 8!  Although I’m comfortable with large groups, I was looking for a smaller group for this workshop.  All the evaluations were excellent.  I even received an email that same day asking about a variation on that workshop.  Later, I received a call inquiring about hosting a workshop out of state.

Bad advice can paralyze you.  You must step back and evaluate the validity of that advice.  You may not have the best idea in the world, or it may not be completely developed, but don’t throw it out without further inquiry.  If you have done your homework, researched the topic, considered all possibilities, and then sought assistance from someone already successful in your field of interest, walk away from the NO and move towards the YES!

People have all kinds of ulterior motives to undermine your plans.  You may never know what those motives are.  It doesn’t matter.  Walk away from those people!  You may need to modify your original plan.  You may need to limit your focus.  You may need to bring in other experts to help you execute your plan.  What you don’t need to do is listen to the NO when it goes against all you believe.  Do your homework.  Do your research.  Listen to that little inner voice telling you to forge ahead!


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  1. What you have stated is so true; it can be from one that we admire to a family member to a close friend, and, for whatever reason they say “NO” and the paralysis is breath taking, but only for a minute! I’m so glad you heard your inner voice and most of all you acted on it! I can’t wait to witness all that your dreams hold for you, my friend!

  2. You are so right: listen to the “no” then discern if there is truth in it. I’m so glad you didn’t let this get to how you perceive yourself. And look!? How you perceive yourself and how others perceive you was a step forward as a professional. You are so brave!

  3. WELL SAID!!! I can so relate to your experience and appreciate your reminder that hearing –and sharing — a “Yes, you can do it!” means so much.

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