July 17, 2013 by Barbara Homann
Recently I attended an improv class in Houston. One of the basic strategies in improv comedy is known as “Yes, and…” By following this rule you allow your fellow players to take a scene anywhere they want without disagreeing or interrupting or manipulating (“Yes, …”). Accept the scenario as it is presented to you, and then add to it (“and”…).
What would happen if we applied the “Yes, and…” to our daily lives? What if we erased the word “but…" off our vocabulary?
“Yes” means, accepting an idea or situation.
Office meetings with 10 attendees and 10 opinions, an argument with your 15 year old who threatens to disown you if he can’t get the latest smart phone, you just lost your job and have injustice written all over it. Does that sound familiar? Do you remember meetings where you were too busy going over your speech while waiting for your glorious turn? We didn’t listen, and all we had left was a “No”. Saying “No” comes easy. We want to be right, not let go, show who is in charge, think too fast and allow our analytic brain to shut off any new ideas. Practicing the “yes” approach will help you to hear what others have to say and bring your awareness to a level of openness that will ultimately lead to better communication and collaboration, an abundance of opportunities, and a healthy pathway to a better Self.
“And” means, build on.
The “and” takes the idea or situation and builds onto it versus the “but”, that will restrict it, weakens it or even turns it into a negative scenario. “I lost my job, but it’s all her fault.” “I like your idea, but mine is better.” “But” implements that the previous idea or situation is bad, there is no other solution than yours or you just chose plain discomfort. If you wanted the energy to flow in a forward direction, you got to open your heart and mind to other possibilities.
This approach is not about agreeing to everything, as hilariously portrayed by Jim Carrey in Yes Man. It is about encouraging others and our own “No” nature to accept viewpoints of others as well as challenging life situations. Then we have the choice to offer alternative solutions, including respectfully challenge others or go for our dreams.
Practice “yes, and…
My homework until my next class is practicing “yes, and…” It is fascinating to watch how easy it is. Opportunities are around me plentiful. A friend approached me to critique her new website. “Yes, I read your bio, but it is way too long and overwhelming.” How much better will she feel with “Yes, I love your bio, and I suggest breaking it up into shorter paragraphs.” “I am in transition, but I don’t know what to do next?” My approach is “Yes, I am in-between successes and I have an awesome opportunity to create a new career path.”
Each time I send an email, have a conversation or decide my next step of action I have a choice. I can decide to be stuck because I am afraid to fail, or I move forward and explore endless possibilities, not being afraid of failing as I can get up any time and try a different path.
Ernst Holmes states in his book The Science of Mind “Everything in the Universe is for us. Nothing is against us. Life is ever giving of Itself. We must receive, utilize and extend the gift. Success and prosperity are…attributes belonging to all people, but not necessarily used by all.”
I encourage you to try using “Yes, and…” in your daily life at work and home.
What a colorful and creative choice!
This is my first blog on my new site "Where Am I Going... Notes on being creative, innovative and inspiring at homannbarbara.wordpress.com