2024 Blog

How to Handle "No"

Most people get told “no” many times throughout their lives. It’s never easy to hear, but something you must learn to accept. Unfortunately, rejection and “no’s” are inevitable while taking part in Pedal the Pacific. From planning fundraising events to asking for food donations, nothing is guaranteed. Since beginning my journey down the coast, the multitude of ‘no’s’ I’ve experienced in a single day has been daunting.

On my first day driving the SAG (support and gear van), we were only three days into our ride. I was driving the van while Clare called ahead to local restaurants for food donations. It was intimidating to say the least. Watching Clare get rejected multiple times in a row was disheartening for the both of us. I could visibly see it was taking a toll on Clare’s spirit. Lunch time was approaching, the girls were getting closer and closer to the SAG stop, but food had still not been secured. Finally, I pulled the van over and began to help Clare call restaurants. This was my first time getting a “no” since starting the ride, but definitely wouldn’t be the last. I got declined by probably the first eight restaurants I had called, and considering we were in the country lands of Washington, there weren’t that many more options. After getting rejected a few more times, Clare and I had finally been able to secure 4 sandwiches from a breakfast / lunch place about 10 miles away from our expected SAG stop. Not enough for all seven of us, but better than nothing, and now it was a race against time. After making our way to the restaurant, we soon discovered that there was a misunderstanding in what the expectations were for this donation. With tensions being high, this only made Clare and I even more stressed, and a little uncomfortable. Nonetheless, we were able to secure lunch and head back to the girls.

Eating a donated meal at our first campsite!

This experience stirred up many emotions inside both Clare and I—discomfort, frustration, stress, and lack of motivation. It was difficult to navigate all of these emotions while doing something new, having to be consciously aware of your SAG partners feelings, and having to show up for the girls’ cycling. Hearing the word “no” is simply the last thing anyone would want to hear.

However, what are the benefits of hearing “no”?

I believe there are a few life lessons we are going to take away from being told “no” this many times. First, being able to bounce back as if nothing happened, and then continuing to try even HARDER than before to succeed. Even more so when we think about our teammates cycling and doing the best they can, we’re more inclined to do the best we can. The intrinsic motivation that it inspires will help us in our future endeavors more than we can imagine. Subtracting the fear factor that most experience when trying something new allows more room for excitement.

Meeting with one of our community grant recipients, Safety Compass, we discussed the negative impact on survivors trying to escape “the life” when they are rejected from resources time after time; sometimes they don’t meet the criteria for a program, there aren’t enough beds in a safe house, or will have to wait months to receive help. This is why the organization acts as a sort of “middleman” for connecting survivors to resources. When a survivor reaches out, Safety Compass employees are immediately on the phone trying to accommodate their any and every need. In the scenario we discussed with them, if a survivor needs a bed, a plane ticket, or a meal, Safety Compass is calling everyone they can to ensure that the survivor is safe.

The importance of Safety Compass being the ones on the phone rather than the survivor is that they can hear “no” 100 times and be ready to call that 101st number with the same amount of passion and fierceness as the first time; however, a survivor would likely be much more discouraged, and may miss their opportunity to leave if they are not connected to resources as quickly as possible. We love that Safety Compass never tells survivors “no,” but instead welcomes them to a safe place and ensures  permanent stability once they are out of the dangerous situation.  

Despite all the “no’s”, altogether almost everything I’ve experienced during my ride with Pedal has been a new experience. It is always such an honor meeting people who are also fighting the fight against domestic sex trafficking. I can’t wait to see what other imperative life lessons are in store for my teammates and I.

July 12, 2024
Chloe Aguilar

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