The Audacity Of Not Taking ‘No’ For An Answer

It’s all in how you see it.  Do you slink away, crest-fallen, embarrassed, and throw in the towel?  Or, do you accept the challenge, and say, in spite of it, “Oh really?  Just watch me!”

Perspective is a powerful tool, and if you have the audacity to follow your dreams, even when told no you might just be surprised at the doors you find eventually opening to you – doors that would have forever remained closed had you accepted a one-off decline, and walked away without pushing for more.

If you have the power to dream it, you’d better have the power to pursue it.

        No guarantees; that’s what you have in this life, so what are you going to do to find your advantage?  Chances are it won’t be easy, but then again, did you think it would be?  Why did you set forth a goal, or a dream in the first place?  Are you prepared to WORK for it?  Quitters never win.

When I was seventeen I went out into the big wide world in search of my first real job.  I had set my sights on Fred Meyer, which, for those of you not in the Pacific Northwest, it’s a one-stop shopping store ala Target (but even before the Super target’s of today carried food, Fred Meyer did, so they had it all).  There was a new one being built about a mile from my house, and since this was in the olden days before internet everything – 2001 you had to go down to the Unemployment Agency and fill out a (paper) application.

Predictably, since I was a teenager with no real workforce experience other than mowing the yard of a beauty shop in town the summer I was twelve, I got the ‘thanks, but no thanks’ card in the mail about a week later.

I was incensed.  How dare they!  I had already mentally decided I was going to work at Fred Meyer, and I wasn’t about to take their ‘no’ for an answer!

I hopped in my car; my super stylish 1992 Mercury Sable that I purchased from my parents, that is, and drove straight to the building that was in the middle of being erected.  From there I walked up, scouted out someone important looking, and naïvely told them that I received their card in the mail, but that I did not accept it (yes, I actually said that!) and that I wanted to speak to a manager.

They asked which one; meaning for home, apparel, electronics, food, etc., although I had no idea who I was there to speak to, so I told them any manager would do.  They thought the food manager was around so they left to get him.

When he came to meet me I quickly explained the scenario and that I would like to work at Fred Meyer; at this Fred Meyer.  And to my great surprise, after speaking with me for a few minutes he let me know that he could hire me to work in the food department (restocking shelves after school for $6.72 an hour)…and here’s where it gets good: because of my TENACITY!

Ha! (Seventeen year old self-pat on the back!)

Well, that was actually pretty easy.  I want to say I was a good employee, but I was only seventeen and I was crappy, by my own standards of today, of course, but I was a good employee for a seventeen year old.  I never called off, neglected to show up, or came in late.  In fact, I often came in when called when others neglected to show up.

I worked at Fred Meyer over the next couple of years, through graduation, and until my husband and I moved away.  I had quickly worked my way up to section head of the junior’s department in apparel (which is what I was really eying form the get go), and had a great first real job experience there.  I still keep in touch with my manager from that time, and have thanked him for taking a chance on me way back then.

I wish I could approach all the nos I receive with the same bright-eyed and bushy-tailed self assurance I had at the inexperienced age of seventeen.  I wish they would have all been as easy to overcome as the rejection of my first choice of employment.  I don’t, and they haven’t, but, and this is a big BUT: that experience did lay the groundwork for my internal voice to tell me to keep trying.  I know I can do things when others say I cannot.  I know I can persevere; and even more importantly I choose to.  It’s how I survived my youngest daughter’s terminal illness and death, it’s how I came to put together the Rise community.  No one said I could, I just didn’t consider that I couldn’t.

We make an active choice each and every time we hear a no to decide how to take it.  Do you accept it and start back at square one, or do you use it as fuel for your fire to keep moving forward?  For me, that choice is easy; it’s the latter.  It’s the only way I see the world, and the only way I know how to navigate it.  Some nos are more than just a minor inconvenience.  They can be painful, costly, or life altering.  While the outcome for each scenario depends on myriad factors, often many out of your control, the strategy remains same in all situations.  It’s what I want to teach my daughter, and what I want her to see when she looks at me.  It’s one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal it’s the ability to:

keep moving forward

benson 089


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