A number of years ago, I was at an organizational development workshop where we brought in an improvisational comedy troupe to give us some training on improv techniques. I remember is being very cool and somewhat freeing, as the whole thing was about “Yes, and..”, which is sort of the equivalent of playing verbal hacky sack. You’re trying to keep the ball in the air for as long as possible, and it’s very light hearted. Also, you have to be very present about where you are and what’s going on, as you don’t know what’s going to come next and be ready.
As I have been doing my own personal development (as well as professional development) work, I’ve noticed that this concept can help you in all sorts of areas. One thing that I’ve said over and over is that I’m a firm believer in reality. I wish I were six feet tall, but I’m not, so what can I do with what I’ve got. I’m not going to be 25 again, so how can I be the best middle aged man I can be. You can’t deny what’s here, but it’s best to play with what you’ve got. It’s also accepting the personal power that you have within the situation. You are powerful if you have control over your own actions in the moment, and don’t give them away to others.
I was thrilled when I found the YouTube video of Jane Lynch‘s Address at the Smith College 2012 Commencement. In this, she expands on the topic of “Yes, and..” to state that we have to accept what we’ve got, and see what creative opportunities we can do with. I invite you to watch the video and see how you can think about including more spontaneity and possibility in your life.
So, when was the last time you said “Yes, and..”?