The Word “No”

Text by Annie Evans, Ball State University ’16
Image Credit to shifttohappy blog


Aside from fear of public speaking, death, spiders and the like, one fear infects people’s careers, relationships, and daily life.

What could it possibly be?

Alas, just as death is certain, so is rejection. As artists (and people) we must embrace the rejection as a given circumstance of the world so we can move forward.

Spending time in the hub of our industry has opened our eyes to the fact that we were so terrified to face: It is up to us, not a fairy godmother who can read our minds, to take action in our lives. We must go out there—even with the impending doom of potential rejection—in order to reach out and ask for what we want or need.

At this semester’s Creative Capital Workshop, the fantastic Colleen Keegan gave advice along the lines of, “If you’re not getting no’s, you’re not asking enough.”

It’s that simple. Don’t ask = don’t get.

How many times has your career development come to a halt because you didn’t ask for something or were afraid of rejection?

Even when you do get around to asking for that favor or inviting someone to an event, do you notice how you set yourself up to prepare for the devastation of that tiny little word no?

“I know you’re really busy…”

“It’s totally fine if you can’t…”
“It’s not that big of a deal…”

Do you ever catch yourself saying something like this, as if to be ready for rejection?

What if you ask and create the possibility for a YES?

Scary? Maybe. Effective? You won’t know until you try.


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