Sometimes A ‘No’ Is The Greatest Opportunity Of All


We’ve all been trained to associate progress with yeses.

“Yes, you got the job.”

“Yes, I’ll marry you.”

“Yes, you’ve been approved for the loan.”

We see those as opportunities.

But not the nos. When have you ever heard someone say, “No, they’ve gone with another candidate. What an opportunity for me!” But couldn’t we? It’s simply a mindset shift! I’ve coined this catchy phrase in my house and in my practice called a not-pportunity—an opportunity that arises from a no!

Nos come often, expressed in many different ways besides just the word “no” specifically.  Not, can’t, won’t, don’t, and shouldn’t are all examples of nos. If you examine your actions, conversations, experiences, and thoughts in a given day, there are TONS of nos.

And because there are, it’s easy to take no as a negative thing. Honestly, for most of us, that’s a habit we’ve dutifully practiced and, dare I say, mastered.  But what if a no is actually one of our desires divinely transformed to align with our soul’s purpose? Our highest good?

Garth Brooks sings about it in his song Unanswered Prayers. You know the one—he and his wife run into an old flame.  She was the one he wanted to desperately be with back in high school, but it didn’t work out.  Standing there, with his wife beside him, he realizes what a blessing that no ended up being!

Been there, done that.

I bet this crazy, unexpected, challenging Twilight Zone of 2020 has produced more not-pportunities than you can count.  An example in my life? Virtual schooling for my little guy. I would NEVER have even considered it as an option for us. And when his school closed, I panicked.

We can’t make this work. How will we ever do this? But you know what? It’s working for us. It works for his personality. He’s thriving and I’m enjoying much more time with him than I would have otherwise.

So, what if, just what if, we took the nos like we take the yeses—as an opportunity realized, nay, a not-pportunity! Easier said than done, you say? Nah, just less practiced.  So, let’s become skillful not-pportunists.

Ok, so now what? You got a no. Ask yourself:

What doors did this no close? Did others open as a result?

Are there other ways to achieve my goal?

Am I trusting and surrendering to the flow of the universe in this?

How can I find gratitude in this no? (Gratitude is the king of mindset shifts, after all.)

What can I learn from this experience?

It’s a mindset shift. Practice finding your not-pportunities—opportunities that didn’t end with a no but started with one.