Welcome to the Ashes to Wings podcast, where we tell stories of overcomers, and give you tips and tricks to living a fuller, more embodied life, here's your host, Jenni O'Connor.
Hey friends! Today we’re going to talk about the power of “yes and.” If you’ve never done improv before, there’s a game called “Yes And.” You team up with one or more partners, and co-create a story, taking turns to add details. Each time your partner adds something, you respond with, “Yes and...” and add your contribution. It’s a powerful team builder, and creates a judgement-free space that is expansive and open to creativity. The tricky part is, even if they throw something out there that makes zero sense to you, you still respond with “Yes and...” and find a way to make it work.
We can also do this in our personal lives. Rather than limiting our beliefs and our mindsets, we can work on ways to “Yes And” our lives.
So I want to do a little activity with you. Wherever you are, unless you’re driving of course, I want you to sit or lie down comfortably, and close your eyes. Take a moment to be with your breath, and relax.
Without changing anything, I just want you to notice what happens in your body when I say the phrase, “No, but.... No, but... No, but...”
And now notice what happens in your body when I say, “Yes, but... Yes, but.... Yes, but...”
And finally, notice what happens in your body when I say, “Yes, and... Yes, and... Yes! And...”
It’s likely when you hear the phrase “No, but”, you felt some tension in your body. Maybe there was pressure in your chest, or your face flushed, or your jaw tightened. The phrase “no but” typically causes shut-down in your body. Picture you’ve just presented your boss with a really great idea, and ask if you can implement it. Your boss says, “No. But...” You likely don’t feel seen or heard. You probably resent them a bit, and feel quashed creatively. In fact, you may rethink bringing new ideas to that person again.
When you heard the phrase “Yes, but” you may have felt a bit let-down. You got your hopes up when you hear that “yes” ... only to have them crushed with a “but.” This usually signals a condition you need to meet, or a restriction that will be enforced. This also doesn’t feel like an expansive or creative space.
When I said “Yes, and” how did you feel? Did you feel an electric excitement? Maybe your heart beat a bit faster? Maybe you were curious to hear what I was going to say next? “Yes and” opens opportunities and doors for creative exploration. It sets limitations aside... even if just for a moment.
While this is obviously helpful in relationships, you can also use this in your own mind. When making a decision, instead of limiting your options, how can you “yes, and” it? When visualizing your future, how can you “yes, and” it?
So try this today. Maybe with a significant other, or a child, or a co-worker. And maybe with yourself! When you show the people around you that you’re curious and excited to co-create with them, you may see them light up in ways they never have before. Make sure you let me know how it went! Until then, see you next time!
Thanks for listening. The best way to learn is to teach someone else. So take one thing you learned today and share it with a friend. Find Jenni on Instagram at the_Jenni_O'Connor and online at JenniOConnor.com. Subscribe for new episodes. Until next time, rise above!