Be Careful with Your ‘No’

While singers, dancers, actors, and others in entertainment unfortunately get used to hearing the word ‘No,’ there are actually instances where those same people might be the ones issuing the rejection. Regardless of who it is, however, it’s important to be careful with your No.

We are living in a time when mental health awareness has become so much greater. There have even been guests on my weekly “ Now Hear This Entertainment” podcast who have talked about their own battles with it and/or songs that they’ve written about the topic. Sadly, there are also those who don’t talk about it at all yet suffer almost daily with something (or some things) that weighs them down greatly.

To add insult to injury, it’s the time of year when it’s really easy to sink deeper and deeper into one’s sadness because of being alone over the holidays or maybe spending your first Christmas and New Year’s without someone, whether they have passed away or there was an emotional breakup.

We often hear people say, “You never know what someone might be going through,” but do we really stop to consider that before we so quickly dismiss someone with our ‘No’?

I remember once being really fired up about a brainstorm that I felt could really help bolster someone’s business, but when I contacted them, I was passed off to someone else who, figuratively speaking, patted me on the head and said, “Go to your local one instead and see about volunteering.” I folded my cards at that point and didn’t proceed any further.

Similarly, around that same time I saw someone give a talk and afterwards approached him, wanting to “do what you do” and he wasn’t real encouraging — at all. In hindsight it makes me think of how I always talk about that the correct ‘co’ word should be collaboration and not competition.

If someone wants to jam with you or write a song with you and there is a “get away kid, you bother me” turn down, that has the potential to discourage them from playing or writing at all! There must be compassion and goodwill so that it doesn’t unravel someone and force abandonment of their pursuit of whichever art they’d felt called to.

I know, I know, you have to get through all the ‘No’ responses to get to the one or more ‘Yes’ acceptances. Plus, some would also try to rebut the above by bringing up thick skin. But tell that to the person who is dealing with mental health challenges and needs to be talked to with care and concern. In fact, I would challenge you to look back and think of one or more times in the past when someone said something negative that you can still pinpoint to this day. It obviously left a mark on you for all the wrong reasons.

As you start making plans in the new year and consider bringing folks alongside you, be careful if you’re having them audition. Similarly, if people get wind of some plans you’re making, such as casting for a short film or music video, go easy on those who are not going to get a part in your project. It’s as easy as the “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” golden rule. How would you like someone to handle telling you No for whatever opportunity you’re trying to get? There’s your answer for how you should say it to others.

The challenges that are weighing you down about your entertainment career are why I encourage you to take advantage of my more than 15 years working with independent artists across the country. Schedule a private, one-on-one, online video consultation with me and let’s have a private conversation aimed at getting you moving forward. And feel welcome, too, to comment on this blog through a post on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, or by just sending me an email instead.

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Bruce Wawrzyniak

I’m a manager and publicist, running Now Hear This, Inc., an agency that has served clients nationwide. Plus, I host a weekly podcast and am a national speaker.