When Life Tells us “No”

We love it when life tells us “yes.” It’s a great feeling when things are going well, when we are productive at work, when our families are happy and healthy, when life is full of joy and fun.

But often times, life tells us “no.” It seems that all too often life throws us obstacles that challenge us and our ability to stay positive. It truly is these times when life says “no” that define who we are. Anyone can take the glory and happiness when life says “yes,” but those who can persist and fight on when life says “no,” they have something very special.

Russell Wilson, the star quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, gave the commencement speech at the University of Wisconsin this month. He talked with the graduating class about what to do when life says “no.” First, he said to ask what you are capable of. If life says “no,” but you know you are capable of achieving your dream, go after it with all your heart and effort. Second, be prepared. Sometimes when life says “no,” it really means, “not now.” So be prepared because your time will come, and when you get your chance, you need to be ready. Last, Wilson said to find a way to keep things in perspective: “That doesn’t make the painful moments any less painful. But it does mean you don’t have to live forever in the pain. You don’t have to live forever in that no. Because if you know what you’re capable of, if you’re always prepared, and you keep things in perspective, then life has a way of turning a no into yes.”

Russell Wilson

Wilson provided a number of examples of when life told him “no.” And now he is one of the greatest quarterbacks in the NFL. Life is going to tell us “no” plenty of times. As leaders, it’s our job to model these behaviors that show our team we won’t be defined by life saying “no.” We will be defined by how we respond to life saying “no” and how we find ways to turn it into “yes.”

Thanks for reading,

P.S. – Please share my blog with a friend who may need more positivity in their life.



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