No, you didn’t get the job.
No, you didn’t get that role.
No, you didn’t do that right.
No, you need to come up with a different approach.
No, I can’t see you any more.
No, it’s not good enough.
No, that’s not what I want.
Recently, my son went off to college. To say things changed around my house would be an understatement. So much of the past year was wrapped up in his Senior Year activities, ceremonies, events and “lasts.” Packing him off to school was an adventure. And it left an empty bedroom and a quieter calendar. My daughter hasn’t ramped up to the busy schedule yet. She’s in the tween years where she spends more time in her room than with her parents. And my husband is rehearsing one of his favorite roles in a local musical theatre production.
So, I’ve got time on my hands. And since I’m a restless spirit that likes to be physically, mentally and emotionally active, I don’t sit still very well … or for very long.
I had an idea about how to fill those hours — a project that would present me with a new challenge and a more active schedule. So, I tossed my hat into the ring. Sometimes, though, the answer is not yes. And our best laid plans do not come to fruition. It’s not necessarily a good or bad thing; it’s just what it is. And as humans when we encounter a stop or a detour sign, we have to figure out what to do. It is interesting time for me. And, in the midst of it, I stumbled upon a quote I’d written down once upon a time …
Not sure where I found that quote, but it stuck with me. I keep a journal of quotes that resonate and reflect on them from time to time. As I’ve had more reflection time lately, I was browsing the journal and this one got me thinking.
How many opportunities in my life — in your life — have begun with the word No? Perhaps you applied for a job, but it didn’t come thru. I recall wanting this one job SO BADLY. The application process was delayed and another interview came through, landing me an offer. I debated … do I hold out for something I think I want that might come through or let go, trust this new, unexpected opportunity and move forward. I closed my eyes and jumped. And my time with Magic Line, Inc. was seriously the greatest six years in my career. It was a time of growth, learning, discovery, accomplishment, success and joy. I planned an event at the Palmer House Hilton, for goodness sake! Anyway, that position defined my career direction and I am forever grateful for that opportunity.
A couple years ago, I auditioned for a play. I thought it was a good fit and I went prepared. Didn’t get the part … a friend of mine was cast though. As we drank beers and ate truffle fries together after the “casting call,” I remember a few tears of disappointment slipping out. But, there was another show and another role that I had been preparing for at the time as well. Another part that intrigued me. And, as I brought my A-game to that competitive, challenging audition, something clicked and I got the part. Gotta admit, I had more fun in Don’t Dress For Dinner than I can type on these pages. And I’m as grateful for the No as I am for the Yes and the friendship that evolved with my director Rachel.
The No’s come. They come in various forms and ways. Sometimes they are presented in a kind, understanding manner. Sometimes they are delivered crisply over the phone or by text, letter or email. Sometimes they come face to face. Sometimes they occur in the silence of an unreturned call or message. Sometimes you want to ask questions, but you’re stopped short. Sometimes you just never understand why you get them. But, you have to go on. I’ve quoted The Rolling Stones before. Think you know what I’m saying …
“You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes … You just might find … You get what you need.”
Sometimes it takes a No to propel us forward. Sometimes a No gets us to the next better thing … or to the right thing seven things down from that. It’s not always formulaic, and it doesn’t always happen immediately. But, we learn from Nos. We evolve from Nos. We grow sad and strong from Nos. We mourn and we lament when we get them. We rant and rave as well. But we change from Nos. A dead end is a dead end. We have to turn onto a new path when one road closes. We can’t just stop and curl into the fetal position … well, okay, we can. I have. But only for a little while.
Life is full of Yes. Life is full of No. And sometimes to get to a Yes, you have to experience a whole lotta No. I like to think — I choose to believe — that each No offers an opportunity for growth and a gentle push onto a different path that I might not have chosen should the word Yes have come. That I need both in my life to help me become the best Me I can be. I may not always like to get them, but a No is necessary to shape my character and help me simmer for a while. To make me stronger … get me to the next right place.
With a No, my life does not end. I am not broken, destroyed, lost or set out to sea to drift along the currents. I am simply taking a path that has redirected me to something better … something different … something … New.