I started my week off on Monday morning with a pair of pitch ideas to two separate magazines. The response back from the publications; “no.”

I was then checking on availability from my team members on a project and the response back was; “no.”

I had contacted payroll for a client to see if the latest payments had gone out and the response back was; “no.”

I even went to a coffee shop that morning and asked if they had¬†zucchini bread. Once again, “no.”

That was just Monday morning. Throughout the rest of the week I heard the word – or a close variation of the word – when it came to:
– Will the coffee bar be left out after 8am?
– Are you free to meet up earlier?
– Will the rest of the people for the dinner party actually show up on time for once?
– Do you have anything to drink other than Smirnoff Ice?
– Is the doctor available today? (unrelated to the ingestion of Smirnoff Ice)
– Is the furniture set you have in your ad still available?
– Can I see the mockups later today?
– Do you have anything coming up that I can work on for you?

Just in our personal lives alone we hear the word “no” on a routine basis. However not having zucchini bread or being able to purchase the new set of furniture does not chip away at our ego and confidence.

But contrast that with our professional lives where we put ourselves out there. Being exposed opens us up to a barrage of “No’s” (or close facsimiles) which are a lot harder to digest than a Smirnoff Ice.

All day Tuesday I was with fellow photographer Tom Spitz teaching, lecturing and discussing at a state-funded conference for HS teachers. Throughout the day we spoke with probably up to 40 photo teachers, art teachers and journalism teachers to help them in crafting their curriculum.

In our conversations we learned that hearing “no” is one of the biggest fears these teens and future young professionals have.

We face that ourselves even at this stage do we not? Perhaps it is the reason we e-mailed in the proposal instead of hand delivering it (or maybe never sent it in at all). Maybe the model who never showed her portfolio to anyone. Or the graphic designer who claimed their art was just a hobby so they didn’t have to be responsible if someone didn’t like it. We don’t send in pitches for fear of rejections, don’t apply for jobs for the fear of the word “no.”

However take this week into consideration. I’ve probably heard the word “no” several dozen times – if not into a hundred times. And what is the result?

I’m still sitting here with my morning coffee plugging away.

Not only does the word not kill us (as we sometimes irrationally fear) – it doesn’t slow us down or prevent us from achieving what it is we want to be doing.

James Patrick
Twitter @jpphotography
Instagram @jpatrickphoto