About a year ago, I decided to try to live my life similar to the way improv actors practice their art. In improv, this means saying “yes and” – never disagreeing with your fellow actor and instead accepting their ideas and adding to them.
My approach is a little different in that my goal was to say “yes” when I might otherwise have automatically said, “no” – “No, that ”˜s not the kind of person I am,” or “No, I don’t like things like that,” or “No, that‘s not the way I do things,” or “No, that‘s not the way I see things,” and perhaps most importantly, “No, I‘m not comfortable with that” or “No, that feels risky.”
I realized that every time I failed to say yes, I was closing myself off from opportunities, new perspectives, and learning – in short closing myself off from growing and living life fully. My goal is to stay in a state of curiosity, rather than judgment.
I wish I could say I have lived the last year without ever saying no or being judgmental, but that would be a lie. I have, however, allowed myself to be open to many more opportunities, experiences, people and viewpoints than I would otherwise have and, practice makes perfect, so I‘m going to keep practicing.
Despite being skeptical about it, I enrolled in a certification course for a 360Â° leadership assessment tool. As a result, I discovered what I have come to believe is the best 360Â° leadership assessment tool I‘ve ever used (the Leadership Circle Profile).
Despite being really rusty, having not danced in years, I decided to take up salsa dancing again and dance in public even if I might look way less flawless and graceful than the wonderful dancers in the room. I discovered I can have great fun even while making lots of mistakes.
Probably the biggest thing I‘ve said “yes” to recently is to write the memoir that has been bubbling inside of me for years that I have been too scared to write. I won‘t pretend the process wasn‘t painful – it was. I won‘t tell you it was easy – it wasn‘t. I won‘t say that it‘s no longer scary at all – it still is. I will tell you that it was one of the most positively transformative experiences in my life and that I am not the same person having written the book as I was when I started it. I‘m about to send it to an editor but I‘ll keep you posted.
In short, saying “yes” has led me to feel more empowered and alive and to know that I don‘t have to live small anymore.
What are you saying “no” to that you can say “yes” to – and to change your life and live large as a result?