How's That NO Treating You?

January 2023

With England down 1-2 against France in the 84th minute of the 2022 World Cup semi-final game, Harry Kane, England’s premier goal scorer, lined up to take a penalty kick.

Despite his 88% accuracy on previous PK’s, he missed. Minutes later, game over - England out. France advanced to the finals (and eventually lost in PK’s to Argentina).

So what do missed penalty kicks have to do with coaching? 

Everything of course! 

Missed penalty kicks are the coaching equivalent of potential clients saying NO. 

And guess what? Just like missed penalty kicks are part of the game of soccer, NOs are part of the game of coaching.

Even Harry Kane agrees:

“It’s something you have to deal with . . . that’s part of the game. It’s not going to affect me as a player or as a person."



Some people say yes, some people say no. That’s the game. 

However, there was a time in my coaching practice when I was resistant to this game, and instead, I was playing a game called perfectionism and judgment.

Have you played this one before? It's so fun, right? NOT!  

After complaining to my coach about a client not signing up to work with me and going down the road on all the things I must have done wrong to create that - my coach asked me a simple yet profound question:

Mary, do you think that every client is supposed to say yes to working with you?

My answer was YES!

And in the following silence, I saw how my thinking was the source of my trouble, not the NO.

I wasn’t in cooperation with the game and how the game works. 

It's like I was playing rec soccer and crying every time the ball went out of bounds. Some people say yes, some people say no. Sometimes the goalkeeper saves it, sometimes the kicker scores. 

A NO didn't have to mean anything other than "NO." 


If you want to be in the profession of coaching (and enjoy it) the sooner you befriend NO and have fun with it, the better.

Here's how to do just that - gamify the NO!

At the very beginning of my coaching journey, before I had any paid clients, I came upon this great quote by Byron Katie:

Back then, I wanted to see if that was true. So I made a chart, hung it up on my wall and I started collecting my NOs with tally marks. To be honest, the first two were painful. I had so much mental drama. I wanted to quit. I felt sick. But I had 998 more to go. 

I kept collecting my NOs. Seveneightnine . . .  they were becoming little trophies, it was actually fun. I felt proud to make my marks. And eventually things started to shift inside of me. 

By the time I got to twelve NOs, I was feeling much better inside - there was more neutrality and ease, less spiraling and negative thinking, and I realized a bunch of NOs didn’t kill me and it really didn’t mean anything about me at all. 

Not only was I learning from each NO, I was also creating what I wanted - a successful coaching practice with paid clients and increasing fees! 

The problem is, most of us quit way too early.

We take ourselves out of the game in the first few minutes instead of running through the finish line.

I’m about to embark on some big new projects in my business. I anticipate there will be more NOs in my near future and likely more than I’m used to as I’ll be entering new territory and stepping outside my comfort zone. 

And I’m willing to reach 1,000 if that’s what it takes. Are you?


Want to experiment with changing your relationship with NO and bring more playfulness and fun to creating what you want?

Track your NOs as you go for your dreams and watch the inner transformation occur. Remember, YES and NO are part of the game and the game of coaching is a privilege to play! 

Click here to go to the Resources page to download the No Trophy Tracker.

I'm curious, what you are willing to receive 1,000 NO's for? What’s your dream? 

Cheering for your success,


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