WhatsApp's founder Jan Koum is departing from Facebook due to disagreements about the strategy for user data privacy and encryption. His remarkable journey has been a hallmark of courage, willpower, and relentless determination. Koum was born in a rural village outside of Kiev, Ukraine. At the age of sixteen, during much political strife and instability, his family made the agonizing decision to flee their country and move to Mountain View, California. Koum's father could not join them and was left behind. Koum says: "I grew up in a society where everything you did was eavesdropped on, recorded, snitched on." Koum's sudden departure from Facebook shows us why sometimes saying no or even walking away is the best strategy when you are no longer living your purpose.

Here are three smart ways to use no as a strategy in order to be true to yourself.

1. Success Is Never Linear.

Koum is no stranger to failure and rejection. In the summer of 2009, he and his co-founder Brian Acton were looking for jobs. 

They used Twitter to share their news.

7:06 PM, 20 MAY 2009

Networking with recruiters, venture capitalists, playing ultimate Frisbee.

8:39 PM, 23 May 2009

Got denied by Twitter HQ. That's OK. Would have been a long commute.

8:14 PM, 3 Aug 2009

Facebook turned us down. It was a great opportunity to connect with some fantastic people. Looking forward to life's next adventure.

Koum showed that success is never linear. There will always be obstacles. It's about taking a leap of faith, and trusting yourself that when the moment comes you'll be ready.

2. Embrace The Wisdom of Uncertainty.

Whatever you choose to believe, life is anything but predictable. Just five years later, in a miraculous twist of fate, Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion. To put the deal in perspective, at the time of purchase, the hotel chain Marriott International had over 120,000 staff, a twenty-two-year history, and a market cap of over $15.4 billion.WhatsApp had only fifty-five employees. Having the courage to step into the unknown is sometimes the only way to find your true calling.  

3. Say No Fast And Mean It.

If staying true to your why, your purpose in life sometimes means being selfish, so be it. Koum had brains to disrupt the technology industry and the guts to move on when Facebook's strategy was no longer in sync with Koum's vision for WhatsApp. 

Final Word.

Where do you need to show more courage? When you say yes to something you say no to something else. Make sure you say no to the right things in life so you can spend more time building your own future and not somebody else's.

Published on: May 1, 2018
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