Last week we talked about why we need to say yes more often. This week, let’s talk about why we should say no. 

I read a fantastic article about the need for saying no to create more joy in our lives. No has a negative connotation, but the part I hadn’t considered before was that every no is also a yes. 

Wait, what? Saying no to going out is saying yes to giving yourself some time to relax at home. Mind fully blown.

I’m not now, nor have I ever been, a learner for learning’s sake. I need to convert my knowledge to action. It’s not enough to know for me. I need to test things out and see how they function in this crazy little place we call reality.

Here’s an example. Since the invention of email, my inbox has always been more full than I would like. I continue to refine systems and approaches around it (although some days it seems like the Gremlins that multiply when you feed them after midnight!), but no matter what productivity approach I’ve tried, I always have more. I’ve never gotten to inbox zero for more than a split second. Time to apply this new knowledge around saying no!

What could I say no to in my inbox? I immediately found three email newsletters and hit unsubscribe. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to do that with a concise and fun newsletter like mine, but there were several newsletters that took a lot of time to read that were no longer delivering the same value I once got out of them. So I said no. Which is actually saying yes to other things that are more important to me, like time to write my first book (I know! Exciting, right?). 

It’s such a simple concept to say no and one that can be transformational, as I am finding out as I experiment with it more.

#PositiveAction What is something you need to say no to so that you can say yes to something else? Start creating that space for yourself today!


Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Yes And is the key to collaboration and innovation

One of my favorite books that I’ve read in the past decade is Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up by Patricia Ryan Madson. It distills the concepts from improv comedy for use in work and life. 

One of the cornerstones of good improv is to say Yes And. Regardless of what someone else says to you, you agree and then add on to it. A comedy sketch dies pretty quickly if you say, “Here I am on an inflatable raft with my in-laws” and someone else replies, “No you’re not.”

You could see where saying yes becomes extremely important in improv. It’s equally important at work (since most of us don’t work in comedy). We need yes and to collaborate and build something great together. 

Here’s examples of how this has been showing up in my work and home life lately. For work, I’ve been saying yes to new opportunities and meeting new people. I continue to be amazed by the connections I’m making and the different doors that are opening as a result. Who would’ve guessed that I’d be a guest lecturer at a university? Not me! But saying yes and led me there.

At home, I have primary responsibility for taking my kids to and from school. They bring stuffed animals along for the ride most days, which then end up riding in the backseat with me until I pick the kids up again. One day, the kids asked me if the stuffed animals had been good while they were at school. 

I had two options. Shut it down by telling them that the stuffed animals are stuffed and don’t do anything while they’re at school. OR I could accept their reality and add on to it. I responded, “Yes they were good, but got a little rambunctious when I was at work.” Not only did my story delight my children, but it gave us a chance to talk about a good vocabulary word (“What does rambunctious mean?”) and gave them a chance to explain the “rules” to the stuffed animals around expected behavior (teaching is such a great way to solidify your learning!).

Now, I routinely get a chance to practice my storytelling when the question of what the stuffed animals did comes up. We all enjoy using our imaginations to add on to whatever the starting point is (yes!) and we have lots of fun doing it.

#PositiveAction Find one thing to say yes to today!


Image by engin akyurt from Pixabay