JK Waldie & Associates

Fear of No

It is a word consisting of two letters. Merriam-Webster provides the following simple definition of No:


“used to give a negative answer or reply to a question, request, or offer”

No is a response we give in response to a question that we do not agree with or a request we do not want to accept. It is a response to language, no more no less. We human beings put so much more meaning into those two letters, however.

I remember as a child saying no to my father. He was a military officer used to giving orders that were never questions, so as you can imagine I got spanked for showing what was considered disrespect. As my experience shows, we are taught to obey as children, to not express our desires to do something else. That lesson impacts how we, as adults, respond when someone tells us no. Even more critical, it impacts our ability to say no to others.

Before you can learn to powerfully say no, you first need to become aware of how you react when someone says no to you. Think about the last time someone said no to you. What was your emotional response? What was your physical response? How do you react?

Now, think for a moment and consider why that person said no. What were their circumstances? Were they responding to your request or were they responding to you? We often react emotionally when hearing “no” because that is what we were taught as kids. We take it personally.

By becoming aware of our own response to the word, no, and starting to respond in a neutral way, you take the first step in building a powerful relationship with this two-letter word.

Learn the other steps at our upcoming workshop this Saturday, March 19, 2016, for The Power of No, Session 1 of our Powerful Language Workshop Series. Register Now.