“When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”

— Alexander Graham Bell

This is for those of you out there that dwell just a little too long on the word “No.” (And this includes yours truly) Yeah, it sucks, BAD, but after the initial sting of the response, there are two simple decisions you can make:

1) Stand there with your heart in your hand and stare longingly, wishing you could bury your head in a bucket of cement, OR

2) Brush the dirt from the poor scuffed up little blob and put it back from whence it came, vowing to learn from the experience.

take a learning approach to defeatI’m not the Motivational Marketing Tooth-fairy or some kind of Communications Cheerleader that’s here to give you a shot to the arm when you’re feeling down. On the contrary, I’ve been there more times than I can count. I’ve been slapped down my defeat. I’ve wallowed with the best of the “wallowers,” and I’ll tell you one thing…


While unproductive as “Feeling Defeated” is, it does more than just give you the blues. “Defeatism” is a psychological sand trap that not even Arnold Palmer has the right club to get out of. Swing as you may, without taking the experience objectively and learning from it, you’d simply dig and dig deeper into the hell that is the blues bogey monster.

Defeatism, depression, insecurity, fear… whatever you want to call it, it’s a powerful foe. You can’t fight it alone. You can’t focus on “it” solely. It’s the bully of the psychological playground and will kick your ass as soon as look at you.

I write this today, because I had someone say “no” to me – a proposal for work. I was pissed. I was despondent, but, instead of bowing my head and accepting defeat, I decided to fight back.  I asked the prospect this simple question:

“What was it that made your decision NOT to use our services?”

His answer?

“Well, while your proposal was very thorough and addressed our questions, we’ve just decided to go another direction.”

Loosely interpreted, “It’s not you, it’s me.” 

I was never going to win that fight, so I thanked him for his time, reminded him of the services we offer and graciously hung up the phone.

Was I still pissed? Yes, but I had another meeting to go to and didn’t have time to focus on the “no-ish” explanation.

I packed up my bag and went on to my meeting where I was GIVEN the entire marketing and communications strategy for 2012 (easily 3x the previous proposal) of a client that I didn’t expect to get more than some simple WordPress updates and FaceBook monitoring.

KER-SMACK…  Another door opened.

Had I been focused on the previous door, would I have seen the cues in the meeting that lead to this new business? Probably not. I would have been sullen and retracted my marketing and sales arms. But without hesitation, I noticed the opportunity and walked through the door, SLAMMING IT RIGHT IN THE FACE OF DEFEAT!


So, next time you get “No” for an answer, and we ALL will, take a step back, try to derive a lesson from it, and move on. If you have an opportunity to learn from your mistakes, then you can never consider them actual mistakes.

Rah-Rah-SIS-BOOM-BAH…  That’s as much cheer leading I do. I’d rather keep cooking…  🙂

How do you handle rejection and the feelings that accompany it? Is there a process? Is there a plan to learn from it?  I’d LOVE to hear your stories about kicking “Defeat” in its ARSE!

Until next time…

Keep Cooking (positive mental momentum)
Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef

Image credit: http://www.aviary.com/artists/magefury19/creations/baby_fist