Why Every Girlboss Loves the Word No
Denise Vasi in partnership with Uber
In the last five years, I’ve learned the power of saying no, and it’s been a tremendous help to me both in my personal and professional life. For many reasons the word no intimidates people. Especially women. Not all women of course, but a fair amount of women find the word no either hard to say or hard to swallow. Women often feel the pressure to be everything to everyone and to do everything for everyone. We’ve been taught to be non-confrontational, not to be too picky AKA difficult and to put everyone else’s needs before our own. The problem is, saying yes all of the time conditions us to feel guilty when we find ourselves in a situation where we really want to say no. On the receiving end, hearing no is devastating for anyone, especially when going after something you truly want. Somehow the word no translates to “you’re not worthy of,” “your idea is not good enough,” or “you’re not loved” but that’s rarely the truth. Know this, those immediate feelings of rejection are normal and even healthy, the key is how you cope with all of those feelings. There’s a real difference between taking your time to reflect on things and spending your time spiraling down a rabbit hole of self-doubt. While it may not always feel like it, there’s actually a lot of power and positivity in the word no. Every Girlboss knows that no is her best friend. So why should you work on using this word more often?
It sets boundaries. As an entrepreneur, setting boundaries is necessary to maintain one’s sanity and a valid form of self-care. When you own your own business, it can be hard to turn work off, to take a vacation or to say no to taking on one more client. Setting up boundaries allows you to maintain a good work-life balance so that you can run your business rather than have your business run you.
It shows that you value your time. When you say no to one thing you are saying yes to another– the more important thing. Prioritization and time management are skills every Girlboss must keep sharp. You have to have a plan to accomplish goals. There are long-term goals that require a big picture plan and there are the short-term goals that need to be mapped out daily. I like to keep a list of my top three priorities for the day, if something work-related comes up and it isn’t urgent then it’s best to say “no, not today.”
Rather than cram it in, move it to tomorrow’s to-do list. This helps you keep your day on track and enables you to avoid over-committing yourself. You also avoid potentially not performing the task at hand to the best of your ability.
It’s powerful. By saying no, you’re making a choice. A clear, strong choice! Maybe you’re saying no because you need to put yourself, your family, your business or your sanity first. Perhaps it’s because feel you feel undervalued in the situation. When you say no, you’re saying “I value myself, my time and my business. I have integrity. I know how to prioritize, and I am laser focused on my goals.” That’s powerful! That’s the Girlboss mentality!
What about when someone says no to you? You can still use that no to your advantage. Every Girlboss knows there’s more than just rejection behind the word no.
It’s part of the numbers game. Every no is one step closer to a yes. Especially when you’re taking each no as a chance to improve your pitch, your service or your product.
It’s motivational. Like a true Girlboss, learn to channel that no into fuel! Instead of being consumed by self-doubt take the opportunity to raise more questions. To dig deeper, to re-evaluate with the intent to try again, to try harder.
It has different meanings. It’s hard to realize it in the moment, but no might mean “No, not right now” or “No, it’s not the right time.”
No might be the Universe’s way of telling you you’re not ready. Or you could be facing a no because you need to approach the situation differently. Regardless of what it means, when it comes to your career and business, no rarely means never.
I once heard that you have to want the dream more than you fear the failure and it’s something that always stuck with me. Remember that a no might be a blessing in disguise, a necessary pause because something better is coming.
Trust me, I understand the frustration in hearing the word no over and over again. I applaud the women who go out there and create their own opportunities. The women who have used the countless nos as motivation and have turned the sting of a no into the catalyst to push further.
There are more female-founded startups today than ever before, but female entrepreneurs need financial backing! When it comes to funding, women are facing significant difficulties AKA hard nos. By now you’ve probably heard the staggering statistic that only 2% of venture capital is going to female-founded businesses. Well Uber wants to change that! Uber is saying, No, that is not enough!
In collaboration with Girlboss, Uber has launched Uber Pitch. An investment competition program committed to empowering women by awarding funds, tools and mentorship to three female-led businesses. Uber and Girlboss are presenting new opportunities for women to earn capital and encouraging us all to #RethinkTheRatio. You can read more about the program by clicking here.
Finalists from the Uber Pitch contest will be invited to the Girlboss Rally which is taking place on on November 17th and 18th in my hometown, Brooklyn, NYC. I’ll be there and I hope to see you there too!