How to Brave the NO to Get the YES

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It was 6:30 pm on Friday, December 14th and not a peep. The email promised that we would hear something by the 14th.  

I hadn’t heard a word yet. Nothing. Nada.

I didn’t get in. They didn’t want me. I was one day too late. Why didn’t I pay more attention to the date?

I was in my own head. 

On the 17th of November, I unconfidently (is that even a word?) submitted my application to be considered for Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead Certification program. I wasn’t confident because:

1. I was late. Every application submitted by November 16th would take first priority and then they’d move on to the rest of the people (like me) who totally missed the top-of-the-pile, cream-of-the-crop date.

2. I felt unqualified. There were several requirements but the only one I felt I met was having a Master’s Degree. I hadn’t done organizational development work for 5 years (in an official capacity within an organization). I didn’t have 500 hours of leadership coaching sessions. I was a one-woman show (and I was discounting myself... I probably did meet the other requirements).

3. She's a Rockstar.  Brené’s first TED Talk  is at like 9.1 million views… everyone loves her! My application will drown in a sea of Brené Believers.

8:55 pm. Ping.

There it was… the email I was supposed to get. Gremlins still running ramped in my head, I covered my eyes, spread my fingers apart just enough to see through the cracks, held my breath, accepted defeat, and hit enter.

"Thank you for applying to our Dare to Lead Certification Program. We've completed the application reviews and your status has been updated on your account page."


UGH! It wasn’t even in the email!! I had to go somewhere else!

Gremlins still tracking their filthy language all over my brain, I clicked on the link, signed into my account, and nearly peed my pants.

I made it... I can't believe it... 

I was accepted!

Something that I thought was going to be a big fat NO turned out to be a YES! <Hallelujah!>

How often have you done that to yourself? Poo-pooed your abilities and talents, second guessed your worthiness, discounted your accomplishments, let your inner critic tell you it’ll never happen, believed the worst instead of the best, completely passed things over because you don’t feel ‘ready’.

Why do we censor ourselves before we even take the first step? 

Let’s agree to do these three things instead:

1. Understand the Opportunity Equation.


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Honestly, I think manifestation is a ‘woo’ kind of word that conjures up a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat but have you ever considered that this opportunity presented itself because you made it happen? That you are ready? That it is the right time? That you can do it? Did you ever stop to think that this is something you’ve wanted for so long (desire), that you have put the time in to being able to do it (preparation), and that you have created this opportunity for yourself?

I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason. We don’t just stumble over things… they were put in our path for a reason. Yes, opportunities present themselves to us in ways we never could’ve imagined but on the flip side, we can’t sit back and wait for divine intervention. We also have to create opportunities in our lives. Fortune favors the bold. Get out there. Make some dust in the world.

2. Take a chance.

You’ve heard about regret, right? It’s the thing we feel when we think about what might have been. The job we didn’t take. The conversation we didn’t have. The love that got away. The dream we didn’t chase. The application we didn’t submit.

If only…

People don’t ever regret saying yes to something; they regret not taking the chance.  Fear. Risk. Uncertainty. Low confidence. We hold ourselves back.

But let’s get real… what’s the worst that could happen? We fail and learn. We hear no and don’t die. We hear yes and succeed wildly!  

Take the chance. Do the thing. Avoid that terrible place of "I wonder what would've happened if I had just...". 

3. Believe hard. 

Looking at an opportunity that’s bigger than you are right now is scary.  It might not seem possible. But believing in yourself is a super power. You must believe that you can achieve what you set out to do. You must believe you are worthy of it. You must believe even if there isn’t any proof, or when you feel resistance within yourself, or when other people don’t believe in you. YOU must believe in you. Hard.

And if you can’t believe in you right now, borrow my belief. I believe in you! You are bigger than this opportunity! I am convinced that if you hear a yes or if you hear a no, you are going to learn something about yourself that will get you closer to the person you are becoming. Use my belief until you believe in yourself.

So where are you now?

You might be staring an opportunity in the face right now and you’re not confident you’re going to hear a yes. You’re afraid of the no but you’re even more afraid of missing out and right now, you’re in a holding pattern.

Can I encourage you to get off center?

Can I encourage you to believe in yourself enough that you see where desire and preparation are converging in your life?

Can you believe in yourself enough that you’re willing to take a chance despite the fear, despite the risk, despite the uncertainty?

How about a resource that might help? I call it my 10-10-10 Tool. I learned it from Suzy Welch and put my own spin on it. You can get it right here.

Listen… you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

So brave the no to get to the yes.