No is a pretty powerful word. When we are growing up, it stops us from putting our hands on a hot surface, keeps us from eating all our candy at Halloween and as a teenager, creates wails of agony, foot stomping and cries of “you just don’t understand” when it follows a request to hang with the crowd. We learn pretty quickly that no is not a good thing. Avoiding a no becomes an eternal quest. Anything to feel that disappointment or shame from hearing it.
When you choose to become an actor, no becomes in intrinsic part of your world. It’s not often expressed verbally but you know the no is there when you don’t get that call back or the shoot date comes and goes and by golly you weren’t on set. Or heaven forbid, you don’t even get the call in the first place. Ugh. It’s hard not to take that personally. Especially when the product you are behind 100% is yourself. And if you hear, or don’t hear but it’s implied, no often enough, you start to believe it. I’m not right. I’ll never get hired. I’m just not good enough.
I had an AHA moment recently when I heard something about the word no and it hit like a 2 x 4 between the eyes. No is just a result, it’s not a judgement of me or my talents. So while it’s not the result I wanted, it is nothing more than a result. And I can take that result and refine whatever it is that I’m doing so I get closer to the result I do want.
Taking the judgement and rejection out of no really helps dull the sting. It is merely a notation in the grand experiment of life that gets you closer to the yes you want.