Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Is the fear of "no" stopping you in your tracks?

Really, is it?

Think about it.  Can you think of an instance or instances where your fear of hearing “no” has kept you from making the request in the first place?

It will take being really honest with yourself to see if this has been the case, and I would argue that everyone has been at the affect of this unrealistic phobia at one time or another in their lives.

I heard a great example the other day that I’ll share with you as an access to giving you an example to look for yourself.

Peter, a successful business man, has just left work and is headed for home.  He has about a 45 minute commute to get home.  He is married to a great woman, Mary, who is successful in her field as well.  They bought a new house a few years ago and they have been very focused on paying down their mortgage, as a priority above everything else.  Peter sees the importance of this, but it has been Mary that has been the driving force on this issue.

Over the last couple of years, there have been a couple of opportunities to deviate from their mission for a little self-indulgence, but after having discussed the matter each time, they have always decided to stick to their original priority – pay down the mortgage.

Just before leaving work today Peter received a great opportunity for him and Mary to take a quick trip to Mexico, deeply discounted, but he is sure that she will say “no” because that is money that could be put toward the mortgage.

So sure is he that she will say no that he spends the next 45 minutes on his way home having a fictitious argument with her, imagining what he would say, followed by her responses and on and on, with the obvious conclusion that after having argued back and forth, they will not be going to Mexico.

Peter arrives home after his commute, and now he is frustrated and angry, having lost his imaginary argument with Mary on the way home. 

The irony of course is that he is frustrated and angry with Mary, and she has no idea why?

Sound familiar?  If you said no, you are kidding yourself.  We’ve all done it.  Been so sure of an outcome of a conversation that we haven’t even bothered to initiate it in the first place, and then we blame the other person.

It’s what we make “no” mean that gets in our way, as well as our firm belief that we know that person so well that we can in fact predict their response.  We can foretell the future.  Wow. 

Sounds kind of ridiculous when you really look at it doesn’t it?

No means no, and that’s it.  It means no now, to that request, singularly, and it is not necessarily a predictor of future behavior, so the next time you are stopped by no, before you have even started, try letting go of all of your attachments to what it will mean if they say no, and just go for it, imagine they will say yes instead and you may be surprised to find that you approach the conversation in a completely different way, (because you haven’t already given up), and you may, in the process, create an environment where yes is possible where it wasn’t before.

Think about it.  If no one has been able to successfully predict the future up ‘til now, what makes you think that you can? 

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