NO. We have all heard it from someone in a position of leadership, and it can be painful. Typically no is not the answer we want to hear. Ever. That is especially true when you are a top performer and are used to things going the way you want. Even when you have challenges, more often than not you accomplish your goals. But sometimes the answer is no. No you can’t. No you won’t. Not yet. Wait. It just won’t fall your way.

But sometimes NO is the best answer you can get. As I look back over my life and think about the times I have been confronted with a no, or wait, or not yet, I remember the problems I caused for myself as a result of becoming frustrated. However, when I was patient I was ultimately rewarded in two ways.

  1. Those times I had to wait for an answer, wait for the position to open up, wait for the promotion to a job I was already doing, or other important things I considered critical in my life, ended up being the best times of learning for me. I didn’t always see it at the time but eventually it became clear to me and I was always a better leader from going through those times. The disappointment ended up working in my favor and in the end many times things worked out the way I planned, or sometimes even better. I worked hard, stayed with it, and was rewarded. I just had to be patient with the process.
  2. Sometimes though, things didn’t work out. Those times when I was disappointed, didn’t get what I was hoping for, and had to chart a different course (or one was charted for me) became a platform in which I could encourage others down the road who were going through the same thing. But I could only do that when I did not let not getting what I wanted affect me negatively. I had to use the experience to make me stronger and that is when I could help others process their “defeats”. It can be a lonely road when you think you are the only one traveling it. Being able to help someone in your sphere of influence is its own reward.

When the answer is NO, make sure you understand why, embrace where you are right now, and make an impact in the lives of the people around you. It could very well be you need to invest in them to get them where they need to be so that you can ultimately get to you where you want to be.


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Bobby Shaw

I am a former restaurant company executive with a passion for developing existing and future leaders to achieve high standards. I love helping organizations develop strong people cultures with an emphasis on leadership development that result in top-notch operations and better business results. I have over 30 years in the restaurant business in all facets of operations, from my start at McDonald's in the grill area in 1984 to overseeing 200+ restaurants with Chipotle Mexican Grill from 2002-2012 to leading Freebirds World Burrito's resurgence from 2013-2016 to working with the Salad and Go restaurant startup as CEO in 2016/2017. My real world experience transcends the typical operations background with a focus in leadership development and coaching. At the core of my background and experience, I believe that how leaders get results is just as important as getting them, and what got them where they are, won't necessarily get them where they want to go. I work closely with individual leaders and companies to improve their results through understanding how their strengths impact the overall results. My goal is to help business leaders and companies learn how to leverage the strengths of their employees by understanding their strengths and what they’re good at, and using that knowledge to positively impact their entire organization.

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