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How do you feel when you hear the word no? I remember when I was a kid, hearing that word was the worst case scenario because it made me feel like total shit. I wish I could go back and have a word with myself in light of what I know now.

In a fast moving and growing business, we experience rejection all the time. In my business, my team and I hear the word no hundreds of times every day. Does that stop us from trying? Of course not.

Join me on the podcast this week where I’m talking about what happens to our thoughts when a client is not on board or when we’ve missed a sales opportunity. You’ll discover why fearing that rejection and making it mean something negative, instead of embracing it, is completely stifling your performance.

Join us over on Instagram where, this week, we’re sharing and celebrating our experiences of being told no, allowing them to empower us rather than get us down.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why we think that being told no is bad.
  • What choices we can make when we’re told no.
  • How I deal with being told no.
  • 3 historically prolific figures who achieved massive success despite being told no.
  • Why I actually look forward to being told no in the future.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to Love Your Living, a podcast for ambitious women who choose to have it all. Learn how to achieve the massive success you’ve been dreaming of in your business and your personal life. Here’s your host, multiple six-figure business owner and a life stylist, Brooke Keeling.

Hey, hey and welcome to the Love Your Living podcast, where we get real in talking about business and big goals, ambitions, and the reality of it. So today, I’m talking about a topic that is, again, in my everyday life and something that I see a lot of people struggle with.

And it just got me thinking, like, what’s really the story behind this? What’s the story that we give it? And that is, being told no. You know, being told no can be hard. We’ve all been told no, right?

I know it’s hard. How do I know? Well, I’m in sales; enough said, right? I’m told no every damn day. I have been told no in my life, in my career, getting beat out by competition on sales opportunity, it stinks. How do I know that? Because I’ve been beat out many times.

I’ve felt defeat after certain projects that don’t come together. I have been turned down for jobs for a lack of experience or education; you name it. And guess what – it sucked. In the moment, it really does suck. But the reality of it is, every time I got told no, I looked at it as you have two options, right?

You have two ways to look at this; two meanings you can put behind it. The first one is I could make it mean that I’m not good enough, strong enough, educated enough, my competition is always going to be better. I could make up excuses or stories around it about why I’m not good enough or why I don’t have this background or why I don’t have the resources, the opportunity, whatever it is.

Then, those stories would eventually likely lead to me quitting, feeling defeated, a loss of self-esteem, which of course, carries into everything in our life, decreases my chances of success. There’s nothing like a desperate mousy oh woe is me salesperson, or person in general. It’s just not a good thing; not a good vibe.

Or, the second option is I could take that no and harness the will within me. I could get really curious as to why; why was it a no? Was it really a no or maybe did I not ask the right questions? I could see where I could improve, where I could skill-up, get better, what was holding me back?

I could reevaluate my approach. I could try and test new things, ultimately deciding to keep going. So I think that the choice is pretty clear here, that option two might take me a little further in my life, happiness, overall success. But honestly, thinking about this, I don’t know why, as a society, we perceive no as such a negative failure defeat.

It’s like a ripple in the sea of striving for perfection, right? So to really dumb this down, when I was little, I was extremely emotional. I was such an emotional kid and being told no by an adult for the smallest reasons hurt me so bad. It hurt my feelings. No for reasons such as, “No, you can’t have popcorn. You just had your snack. This is the adult snack.”

I remember this vividly and I was devastated. I don’t know, I was like six years old, feeling like, “Oh my god, why did I ask? That was so stupid. I just got yelled at. I should have known better. How embarrassing. You blew it.” Why? What is really so bad about no? It’s just a word.

But our brains make it into all this drama, you aren’t good enough. They don’t like me. My competition is better. I’ll never figure this out. I’m just not as smart, educated, pretty, talented, whatever, you name it.

Maybe some of it is true; maybe it isn’t maybe it has nothing to do with you. Maybe someone is just having a really bad day or maybe it really is a no and there are some areas that you need to improve upon. But in the grand scheme of things, what’s so bad about no?

The only thing that’s bad about the no is the story that we make up. Does getting told, “No, you can’t have popcorn…” from my aunt, nonetheless, when I was six years old mean that she doesn’t love me; she thinks I’m the dumbest most pathetic six-year-old that just eats too much? Does she despise me for asking for popcorn? Should I never ask for popcorn again? Does she no longer love me?

No, of course not, it just meant you can’t have popcorn right now; that’s all. But my brain, even at six years old, decided to make up this crazy story to protect me. My fight or flight engaged, only I wasn’t in danger. If I didn’t get a bowl of popcorn that second, I wasn’t going to die. I wasn’t going to lose my aunt’s love because she told me no. It just wasn’t time for popcorn; simple, right?

Like, if I was explaining that to my six-year-old self or my six-year-old daughter for that matter, feeling so sad about not being able to have popcorn – not because they’re sad because you can’t have popcorn, but just because you feel like, oh my gosh how dare I ask for that? I would be coddling her saying, “Oh my gosh, sweetie, it’s okay. We can have some popcorn later.”

What a different feeling and meaning that is. It is literally the story that we make up in our mind around no, around anything. Now, I know that that is the most basic example, but I feel like it really dumbs it down to the smallest circumstances of saying no and really the reality of what it means.

So to put this into a bigger perspective, on a bigger scale and to really show you how powerful it is, to harness your nos, allow them to fuel you. Look at them differently. Ask a different question in your business and your life. Here are some examples.

At age 22, Walt Disney was fired from a Missouri newspaper for not being creative enough. Now, that’s enough for a lot of people to say, “I’m not good enough. I’m not creative enough. Maybe I shouldn’t be in this space. I got told no.”

In one of his early ventures called Laugh-O-Gram, he went bankrupt; the company went bankrupt. Again, strike number two, could have totally given up, but he didn’t. He went on to continue to create, to learn from his experiences. He was nominated for 59 Academy Awards. He won 32 of those. In addition to that, this incredible creative person that was told no, that had massive failure along the way, he got turned down 302 times before he finally got financing for his dream of creating Walt Disney World.

We would not have Walt Disney World if he would have quit after, I don’t know, the average of a typical person. How often do we quit? How many times do we have to be told no? Five times, 10 times? 302 times he got told no before he got financing for his dream.

The same story goes for the KFC founder Colonel Sanders. He was rejected over 1000 times before finding a taker for his chicken recipe and he built an empire off of that. 1009 times, to be exact, he got told no, your recipe isn’t good enough, this is crap. I don’t know if these are the exact words, but you know what, there’s not a whole lot of people, I feel like, in today’s world that are willing to put themselves out there and get told that many times and keep going.

Steve Jobs, another incredible example. When he was in his 30s, he got fired from Apple. And in an interview he said, “I was out, and out very publicly.” He was devastated. What had been the focus of his entire adult life was gone and it was devastating.

So he spent an entire summer in a, quote en quote, midlife crisis, trying to decide what he wanted to do. And from entering politics to becoming an astronaut, during this time away from Apple, he co-founded a computer company called NeXT which was later acquired by Apple and launched Pixar animation studios. And when he returned to Apple nearly a decade later, he brought the innovation of the iPhone and iPad. Pretty incredible.

Listen, I have seen this time and time again in all different industries, in my own industry, within my own team and within myself. We want this immediate success in everything, every area of our lives. We want it now, or like yesterday; myself included. I’m seriously one of the most impatient people. I want it all and I want it all now.

But look, sometimes, we have to go through the nos, the letdowns, the defeat, disappointment, the things that slow us done to get to the best things in life. The nos make us stronger. If we don’t have a no, if we don’t have a problem, a barrier to break through, there’s no growth.

The most successful people are successful because of their resilience. Skill, resilience, dedication, it outdoes natural talent every day. You do not need to be the best, the smartest, the most naturally gifted. The most successful people don’t allow their nos to define them. They learn from them, they grow from them. They keep going, change their approach, re-pitch, call the next person.

I bet, on average, my team and I get told no maybe 300 times a day – a day. Tally that shit. For every no, we see a yes. Or maybe some days – that’s what we shoot for at least, but some days, we might have 100 nos for a yes. But for every no, we get better. We get stronger, more confident. You learn from every no; that is, if you’re open to it.

I can tell you that I am not the best in my industry. I have failed a lot. There are a lot of people that are smarter, more educated, more talented than I am. I get told no daily. I have dreaded some follow-up calls and appointments. I have been scared that I’m going to fuck up, make a fool of myself during a presentation.

When I started in my real estate business, I remember vividly thinking to myself, “Am I going to make it? Am I good enough?” Well, fast forward seven years later and I have a team in the top 0.06% of my industry, on track to do a million dollars in GCI and we are literally just getting started.

So for me, I’ve really learned and I’ve realized, when I look back on where my success has come from, it’s from learning from all the times that I’ve failed, that I’ve been told no. I try to really teach my team and also myself to look forward to the nos. For me, I look forward to the future nos. Even in the moment, they might piss me off, but because I know that it doesn’t really mean no. It just means not yet.

And sometimes, it’s a really good thing because when I get pissed off enough, when I really get pissed, I get my ass to work. I get mad, and when I get mad, I go for what do I need to do, what do I need to change, where do I need to work harder?

So I want you to really look rather than getting down on the defeat and the nos that you have in your business. I really want you to be present and look at areas in your life now, in your career, and even in the past, where you’ve been told no.

What have you made it mean? What story have you made up around that no? Where has it held you back in your life? Where has it changed your mindset and your state and your forward momentum or the choices that you make moving forward? What’s a different meaning that you could give those nos?

Remember that this is just your brain making up a story and you have all of the power within you. Your mind is not in control; you’re in control. So you have to take back that control. You’re in control of your thoughts. for all my real estate people, sales moguls, entrepreneurs, I want you to tally that shit up.

How many nos have you gotten? How many nos can you get this week? The more nos, the more yeses. Celebrate the nos and celebrate the yeses. And remember that no does not mean no; no just means not yet. That’s all it means. Save the other drama for your momma, for real.

Now, if you are in real estate, I have some incredible scripts that we have altered and tweaked and made our own over the past few years that my team uses every day. So if you are making sales calls, if you’re in real estate, if you’re in another business and you’re on the phone a lot, feel free. I’ve included a free download. You can download our scripts. You can make them your own.

Maybe you can tweak them to your own industry. They’re free scripts. Check them out if you want to, if you don’t know worries. And if you don’t follow us on Instagram, come on over. I’m going to make this the week of no, so come over, check out what we’re doing over there. I want to hear all the nos this week.

I think if we can celebrate some nos and see where other people see nos in their business, it will just empower us. So let’s have some fun with this this week. I’m going to do an awesome drawing and stay tuned. So check it out over there. I’ll get some details over there for you. Come along. Let’s tally up those nos this week and make it an incredible week.

Thank you so much for tuning in, as always, and we’ll see you next week.

Thanks for showing up and listening to this week’s episode of Love Your Living. If you’re ready to create a business and life you love, or simply take your already pretty incredible life to the next level, head over to to download our five-step guide creating more balance in your life.

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