Earlier this year, I was watching a MasterClass with Amy Poehler about improvisation and how it relates to living life.
One of the rules of improv is, “Yes, and…” When your improv partner makes a statement, the way for you to add to the story to move it along is to say YES, and then add a thought, idea, or situation they can react to. If you lead in with a no or negative statement, it’s likely the ability to improv is going to nosedive soon. It’s challenging to respond to a negative idea in a positive way that keeps it moving forward. By saying yes to the continuation of the story, you’re agreeing to collaborate and build on the story that’s forming.
Read that again.
By saying yes, you’re agreeing to collaborate on the story that’s forming. The converse is, by saying no, you’re not agreeing to collaborate, or grow the story.
The story = your life/business.
Be willing to say YES to everything that comes your way! Be adventurous and willing, even if it’s scary or intimidating. Take chances! The only way we learn and grow is by saying YES and getting out of our comfort zone to try new things.
Make it a point to walk through each day with a “I’m gonna say YES!” attitude, and just watch what comes your way to explore! Being in this mindset helps you to keep your eyes open to the possibilities.
An Example of Saying Yes
A friend texted me about participating in a local elementary school’s “Read Across America” week, asking if I was interested in reading stories to the kids. At first glance, I’ll be honest and tell you, I can find many reasons to say, “Oh thanks for thinking of me, but I’m really busy.” Here are a couple: I spent a lot of time helping with PTA and other organizations when my stepdaughter was younger, and I’m very happy to have my time back to focus on my business. Another objection I could’ve had is that little kids are like petri dishes of bacteria, and the last thing I need as a voice over is to get sick.
See where I’m going? It’s easy to object.
Instead, I thought to myself, “How fun would this be to do for an hour, and see cute little humans enjoy being read to?” It’ll be nice to get out of the studio for a couple of hours, be helpful to others, and make a difference in a child’s life. So, when I received the text, I immediately said, “YES, I’d love to help with this!”
Sometimes, all people need is an invitation, and they’re happy to help, and say YES. Don’t be afraid to ask people to participate and collaborate.
Take some time to think of the many ways you might have said NO to past opportunities, and think about what you can say YES to going forward.
Say YES within reason. Use your judgment about saying yes to something that compromises your ethics or morals.