We’re asking for money at the cash registers again – for a very good cause, one I can really get behind (Our Voice, a community agency that fights against sexual and domestic abuse). There are all kinds of good reasons why it might be good for our customers to say “No”. They may need to pull their energy in today. Even thinking about this agency may trigger some of their own traumatic experiences. The bottom line is that in that moment “No” may have the most integrity for them – may in some way even be healing.
If we want to let it be equally as good for them to say “No” as “Yes”, then – to keep our own energy intact – we need to somehow just not care whether they give or not. We need to plant our feet, take a deep breath, hold our center – and simply be glad we asked. That’s all: we did our part in the dance. Now we turn it over.
Now here’s where there’s a delicate paradox. At the same time that you don’t care whether they give or not – while you say to yourself that “No” may be just the right answer for them – still it’s OK and maybe useful to have another part of your mental machinery that is pulling for them to say “Yes”.
Why? Because, overall, yes is more life-affirming than no. It’s good to say yes. It’s a celebration of life. Be happy for them that they are in a place of yes. If they are in a conflicted place, cheer for them to break through their no barriers and choose life.
Bless them whichever way they choose. This is good for you too. Embrace life. Don’t ask because you are supposed to ask or because it will look good in your numbers. Ask because you believe in the cause. Ask because you want be filled with yes energy. Ask because you want to offer your customer the chance to have a yes moment. Ask because it’s a chance – in a job that sometimes can become robotic – for real human contact. Ask because otherwise you’re just swiping groceries.
Bring out all your compassion for customers who are in a place of no. It’s a painful place. I say “Great”, whether people say yes or no – and I really mean it. When I say “Have a great day”, I lean into it even a little more with people who have said no. “I think your day maybe hasn’t been all that great so far. I wish for it to get better.”
I give them all my big toothy grin at the end. If they think I’m a goof, so be it. It may help them dispel any energy that accumulated during this transaction. It might be right.