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There’s something about “My Name Is No” that makes me laugh every time.

Top 40 isn’t your thing? Here’s the chorus a girl sings to a guy hitting on her at a nightclub:

“My name is “No.” My sign is “No.” My number is “No.” You need to let it go. You need to let it go!”

In the September series, A Lot to Learn, we’re looking at ways to shift the old school self-help “fix-it” mentality to a new cycle of constant learning.

No one likes to hear “no”. Sometimes we run into unexpected roadblocks, even on good projects. Other times, we’re the ones hitting the pause button. Whatever the circumstance, is there a way to shift out of instant disappointment?

This was Bhakti’s predicament. Her post-yoga smoothie date with her best friend, Cathy, was anything but smooth.

“I don’t get it,” Bhakti cried in exasperation. “Plans for my new business were going so well. Now everything’s a mess.”

Cathy tried to console her. “Surely everything can’t be a mess. Tell me what’s wrong.”

“Where do I start?! The spa is waffling about having an ayurvedic practioner. They seemed to love my pitch, but I can’t get a firm answer about a start date and our financial split.”

“The bank doesn’t want to increase the line on my credit card until I can confirm my income, which I can’t do yet. How am I ever going to buy the supplies I need?”

“And my family is no help. At dinner, I try to get some support, but my husband and daughter give me the look of “Do we have to talk about that again?” Yes! We’re talking about it until everything is ironed out.”

shift-no-to-learning-mode

Cathy shook her head. “OK, you’ve got me. You know I’m not normally at a loss for words, but even I’m speechless over that list!” Their eyes met, and they began to laugh.

“I know it’s counter-intuitive, but I think you need to take the week off.”

Bhakti stopped laughing. “You’re kidding. I can’t do that. I need to get some answers!”

“I realize that. It’s just that trying to force decisions doesn’t seem to be working. If you can’t take the whole week, at least take a long weekend. Get outside. Go have some fun with your family and forget about business. Give your mind a rest. You can get back into it next week.”

Poor Bhakti – in every direction, she kept hearing, “My Name Is No.” But the supposed blocks were giving her a lot of second chances to learn. She had opportunities to retool her services, find a more affordable product supplier, or even consider why she was eager to be in business with someone who wouldn’t commit.

This week, accept that hearing no is a natural part of stretching, of learning something new. But shift the “no” into learning mode. Hear “not now,” “not quite,” or “not ready”. Then you can transform frustration into positive action.

And what about all that irritation and resistance?

You need to let it go.