Updated: May 4
Here's the tool that fundamentally changed the way that I approach my personal and professional lives, as well as how I interact with the world around me. Happy Blog Day Thursday from me to you, darling human!
Tool: "yes, and..."
To me, 'yes, and...' is the antidote to both toxic positivity and cynicism. Why? Because it allows us to acknowledge complex situations and experiences for all that they are. That includes however dreadful, wonderful, or a likely mix of both they might be. Using 'yes, and...' in our day to day vocabulary at work and at home can help us embody brave living as a daily practice. How? It moves us away from shoving down the hard stuff with toxic positivity, which eventually catches up to us. At the same time, it doesn't hyper-focus on the great stuff with a backdrop of cynicism that fears it cannot last. That, eventually, also catches up to us. If anything, reframing experiences by using and embodying 'yes, and...' can help us to: yes, make peace with the cracks, *and* celebrate the gold that fills them.
How might you use it? I invite you to experiment. When you catch yourself feeling overwhelmed by the possibility of everything that could go wrong and/or everything that could go well by putting yourself out there, consider: "What might become available to me if I added a 'yes, and...' to this thought spiral/process?" Oh, you want a simple, real life example of that? Okay, let's take a stroll through my brain, shall we?
The 'yes, and...' thought spiral/process that helped me press 'publish' on this very article:
"Yes, there will be people who don't resonate with this blog, *and* there will be people who do. Yes, I'm a deeply imperfect person who's still learning, *and* this blog can still be a 'Bat Signal' that helps me find my people and helps my people find me. Yes, this is a great opportunity, *and* maybe no one will care. Yes, maybe not everyone will care, *and* it might just make a difference to one person so I'm going for it. Yes, I'm going for it, *and* it might not always feel great. Yes, this might all be one big failure or a giant flop, *and* I know it's worth it to me because I answered my Question Compass with 6 yeses."
By using 'yes, and...', I can honour the wonderful in this adventure and the sometimes dreadful as well. This helps every part of me jump on board with sharing these words with you. Why? Because the part of me that feels brave is honoured, while the part of me that feels scared is too. I often share this tool with coachees creating change in their lives. It can thaw the perfectionism often rooted in shame, which can keep us frozen. Over time, this reframing tool can help every part of us make sense of complex situations, as well as the natural birth/death cycles of a life bravely lived. These can include: starting/leaving a career, starting/ending a relationship, or starting/ending a health journey/challenge, for example.
How else might this show up in the 'real' world? For example, one of my mentors was the first person I met who used and embodied 'yes, and...' It was wild to notice how it expanded the conversations and experiences she had. Mostly, it was bewildering to see how it also expanded the way colleagues responded to her contributions. It kept business meetings from stagnating, working groups from disconnecting, and hard conversations from leading nowhere. What's funny (pun intended) is that 'yes, and...' is a game used in comedy and improv classes. One person says something and the next person follows by adding 'yes, and...' This keeps the skit and the laughs going.
Question: what might become available to you, if you reframe experiences through the lens of 'yes, and...' during moments that often feel like one giant improv class?
Ps: If you'd like coaching support with brave living, you can book a call with me here