Friday, July 12, 2013

The Power of 'NO'.

'No' is a funny word. It's an interesting word. It's a word that most of us utter before we can even string sentences together. As children, we enjoy the shock that using this particular word creates. Later on in life (around age four and five as our personalities develop and we become characters), we despise the word 'no'. It's limiting, it's annoying and most of all, it means we're being told we can't have what we want the most.

Over the past eight months, I've grown fond of this awful little term. During the first few emails and calls I placed in request for sponsorship, I assumed that being told 'no' was an immediate and very personal rejection and I internalized it, becoming dejected and afraid to ask for what I wanted. I thought it mean 'not a snowball's chance in hell, kid'. I was hurt from being told no, and figured there was something wrong with me. These days? It's a different story.

Hunting for money or free stuff is never an easy task in the first place. Asking for support is time consuming, embarrassing and doing such goes against everything I was raised to think about making it for myself and creating my own success. However, doing it mid-season and being told to 'wait and email us in the fall' is much harder and something I would never have imagined doing... But. I kind of love it. I love the feedback, the criticisms and even the 'we're not going in that direction right now's.

Today, when I'm told 'no' by a sponsor, by a company, by an individual donor, I just assume that it's just a bad time to be asking. Hell, they might all just hate me at this point, but I'm sticking it out and I'll call them and email them and approach them at a networking event again in a few months when things settle down. For now, 'no' just means 'give me a few days and I'll be ready to hear your pitch again'.

So. If you're a sponsor (or the rep or the team manager or the company president) and you're reading this, expect a call from me. Again.

And if you're just like me, out there asking for money so you can race bikes and help grow a market and change the world, stop taking 'no' for an answer. Call that company back. Email that donor. Ask again, but change the way you ask it.

Because 'no' really isn't an answer, is it? It's just a word. And words can change.

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