The Blessing In “No”

Looking up

“What if Your blessings come through raindrops,
What if Your healing comes through tears,
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?
What if trials in this life are Your mercies in disguise?”
– Laura Story, Blessings

I’ve recently gone through a period of time with my consulting firm where I had to learn to see the blessing in “No.” Have you ever been there? During that time, I listened to the song quoted above and struggled with finding the blessing in “No” until just about two months ago.

Let me explain. After having our most successful and profitable year, 2012 looked to continue that trend of growth and success. That is, until June. June is usually a very busy month for us, but last year it wasn’t. “That’s fine,” I told myself business is always slower in July and then picks back up in August. We looked to have a very strong fall, so I should take the summer to work on our new product offerings. But business didn’t pick back up in August, or September, or even October. It just dripped in here and there.

By this point, I was really getting stressed and concerned. We were doing everything we were supposed to from marketing activities, to client communications & meetings, to developing new offerings – but business wasn’t coming in. Even the public courses we had scheduled were down. Instead of maxing out the class with 24 or 25 participants we would have 5 people registered, or worse yet, we would only have 1 or 2 and have to cancel the class.

What was happening? I still had payroll and taxes to pay and our other overhead expenses. We run a virtual firm, so we don’t have much overhead, but after four months of this we were really eating into our retained earnings. All I was hearing from our clients and prospects was they were putting everything on hold until after the first of the year. Really?!

As I fought and struggled with this, I kept trying to fix the problem, find a solution, look for the way out. Honestly, I was absolutely sick over the entire situation. Wasn’t I seeking and following the calling on my life? Why, at every turn, was the answer “No?”

Then one day, in mid-December, it dawned on me, I had become so focused on building & growing my business, I had lost sight of my family. Ouch. I thought that since both kids were now in school I could devote more time to firm and really press on towards that goal of becoming a million dollar firm. Wrong. See I’m not the only one who travels for work in our family, my husband does too. For a seven week stretch in September and October, one of us was gone overnight at least one night every week. My kids were getting stressed out and always wondering who was going to get them on or off the bus. My relationship with my husband also took a beating. It’s hard to reconnect at the end of the day during a three-minute phone call.

So how is this a blessing? For my Type-A driven personality, it was a wake-up call. See, if my business had been growing and flourishing, I would have just kept my head down, working and pushing forward oblivious to what was happening to my relationships. That would have only caused further damage. So I backed off. I had a real heart-to-heart with my team about what was – and wasn’t – happening in our firm and what changes we would have to make. Fortunately, I have an amazing team and they knew what was happening and were not at all surprised and very willing to do what was necessary to get us through. We still continued our marketing and client activities, but I made some serious changes about how much I was working and how much travel I was willing to take on.

The result? First, everyone in my family is much happier. The kids don’t stress about our schedule and our home is calmer. Second, business has picked back up. The difference is I’m scheduling it more now on my terms and sticking to my new rules. Do I still want us to grow to be a million dollar firm? Absolutely! It just may take me a little longer to get there and we may have to find new ways to serve our clients. But this way I know my family will be there to celebrate with me.

So how can you find the blessing in the “No”s in your life?

1. Does what I want have the potential to be harmful? Could it harm your relationships or existing business? Is the “No” protecting you from yourself?

2. Is there something better? Sometimes we settle for good instead of pursuing the great God has for us.

3. Is the timing wrong? Sometimes what we want isn’t bad for us, it’s just not good right now.

4. What am I supposed to learn? Sometimes the “No” is so we learn perseverance, patience, trust, discernment, or whatever else He is trying to develop in us.

Have you had a No in your life? How did you find the blessing in it?

9 thoughts on “The Blessing In “No”

  1. I appreciate your transparency, Megan. I’m glad to hear that your family is enjoying your shuffling of priorities.

    We’ve certainly been there. No and his annoying brother “not now, just wait” have been terrorizing us for years. We’re hoping they are finally ready to move out.

    • Thanks Jody, there has definitely been a positive change in our home. Trust me, “No” and “not now, just wait” really will move out so keep pressing onward!

  2. What an awesome article Megan. You’re ability to be open and as Jody said, transparent, will help encourage others who have been, or are, where you’ve traveled. It isn’t easy to find the positives in waiting but it’s often for our good. It’s especially helpful when we can share our experiences with others. Thank you!

    • My pleasure Karen. It certainly is hard when you’re in the thick of it all to see the positives, my hope is that I can encourage others by sharing not just the good, but also the struggles.

  3. There will always be “no’s” coming at us. The trick is having enough perspective to know the difference between the ones we fight against and the ones we wait out.

    After getting a big NO to being promoted twice, I changed my entire focus around work. No longer was I on the track to climb the consulting ladder and become CEO. Nope, I wanted more control and figured if I was going to work that hard (and I was), I’d own the darn company. I’m building my own track now, and it’s been better for me personally and for my family ever since.

    Bravo, Megan!

    • Yes, James, being able to tell which ones we fight against and which ones we wait out really takes some wisdom, which is why it’s so important to surround yourself with wise people.

      Huge Kudos to you for building your own track and recognizing that it’s the better path for you and your family! It takes courage my friend.

  4. Pingback: The Best Business Decision I Ever Made | The Naptime CEO

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