Confessions From A Personal Trainer: Let’s Go for NO

True Confession Tuesday:

Where every Tuesday: I confess.

Confession: I think we should start aiming to get NO for an answer.

I’ll explain. I’ve been spending time thinking about expanding what I do to include workshops and programs for businesses, employees, and small groups. I tend to get very caught up in the question “How do I make them say yes?” That becomes very stressful because now I am trying to control the situation and the outcome.

And….I get trapped in pre-judging whether or not a business or company would want me or have a need for what I do. (Of course I am not a perfect fit for everyone and every business).

What if I flipped the switch? Aimed for as many “no’s” as I could? Not because I want to be rejected but because when I’m aiming for no as an answer, I’m less tied to the pressure of the YES.

Instead of worrying about how many people say yes and being afraid to approach different people or companies, I turned it into a game and sent as many letters/emails etc and focused on how many NO’s come back? What would happen?

  • Would I get some NO’s – YES
  • Would I be nervous about all of them being NO’s – YES
  • Will I get brushed aside by some- YES

Here’s the crazy thing – I might get a TON OF YES ANSWERS along my quest to accumulate NO ANSWERS.

Because when you can detach yourself from trying to control the outcome and relaxing and embracing the idea that you are going to get some No’s, you are more likely to reach out to more people, ask more questions, present more ideas, and get a lot of YES answers along the way. Far more than when you sat back and didn’t ask.



Let’s go through some real life situations.

  • You really desire a change in job positions at your work. You like the company but you want to move around to find a better fit. You decide to just go for it and aim for the no. You ask your boss for everything you want – the schedule, the type of job, more paid time off (!), and a shift to a different department. The boss says NO, that isn’t possible. However, this other job is opening in a different department which I think would be a great fit for you and let’s work together on what you need to make it happen. 
    • You went for it. You even got a NO but what happened is a different opportunity you weren’t aware of opened up. Had you been so focused on getting a YES for exactly what you asked for – you might have been too disappointed to see the other option.


  • You really want to start walking before work in the morning and you know your neighbor is always out walking at that time. You think it would be a great way for you to stay accountable if you joined him/her. What do you have to lose? What if they say no they don’t want to walk with you? There are plenty of other neighbors, friends, family you could ask or you could join an accountability group online, etc. So instead of worrying yourself about getting them to sayYES you embrace the idea of no. You ask them and they say “I walk 5 miles every morning – are you up for that?” It’s too far for you at this point but you both agree that the neighbor will do a 2.5 mile loop and you will join them on the second lap until you build up your mileage.
    • What happened when you asked is that you got more information and even though you might have thought the initial answer was no because they walk too far for you, you both worked into a great compromise that does work.


  • My real life example. I decided to just start asking clients and people I know if they had a need/want/desire for workshops/speaking at their business. Instead of stressing out about everybody saying NO and the world come crashing down around me I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome. In one instance we came up with a pretty cool workshop that suites the needs of the employees at the company. In another instance they said “well, I’m not sure there are any options for you at my company…..BUT I have another great idea for you with this other company.” Other answers were “I’m not sure if it would work, but let’s give it a try.”
    • Bottom line – I got better answers that I had hoped for but I wasn’t completely attached (and then devastated) when the answer was not a perfect YES.

Let the quest for NO lead you to answers you didn’t know existed.


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