When a mentee tells me they were told “no”, my first response is pride. I’m proud that they asked in the first place. I can’t tell you how many people don’t ask for what they need or what they want. Leaders and bosses are not mind readers. Therefore, it is best to ask. I realize many people are afraid of rejection or being told “no”. But in reality, getting a “no” actually allows you to move forward.
When I hear a “no”, I actually hear, “not now”. My first job out of college was a sales rep for IBM. Although many people chided me about taking a sales job after graduating from Wharton, I still believe it was the best experience for an aspiring CEO. I learned early and often, that “no” was not the end of the world, or even the end of a sale. A “no” meant the circumstances: timing, terms, price, features, support, services, etc…, were not yet right. My job was to determine how to make them right so that a “no” became a “yes”.
When managing your own career the same is true. Ask for the raise, promotion, flexibility, etc… that you need or desire. If you receive a “no”, you now have the opportunity to question and understand why not. The feedback you get gives you the roadmap of what you need to do to get to a “yes”. Don’t accept a simple response such as the timing isn’t right. Ask questions, professionally, until you understand what you need to do and/or what position the team or company needs to be in for you to get what you desire.
If you don’t ask, you won’t get a “no”, but you will lose time and things will continue on in the status quo with your needs unmet.
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