Boost Your Improvisation Muscles with More “YES, AND”

Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny. Upanishads

Hope you carved out some renewal time this weekend. I know it’s not always easy, especially on busy holiday weekends where you might be trying to do a few too many things at once!


I’m constantly being “tested” on how to practice what I teach. I can tell you this: it’s a journey. A practice. A mindset. A path of practice not perfection.

I’m also 100% committed to navigating this path of authentic renewal + mindfulness and helping you do the same.

This week’s Super Simple Self-care Tip: The “YES-AND” key to improvising

It’s been about 14 years and for some reason, I found myself on this Easter Sunday pondering a course I took in graduate school.

The course: Improvisation in Business. My expectation: learn a bit more about why improvisation and adaptability were important, etc.

Surprising takeaway: we’re so attached to our agendas, egos and FEAR that we often fall into habits and patterns of disagreeing with, or judging ourselves and others. Unfortunately all this does is block creativity, flow and adaptability. In all areas of our personal and professional life.

The solution?

Start to say and think: “Yes, AND…” instead of “yes, BUT.” This simple phrase removes the blocks we often have during our communication and interaction. So from today on, remember:  “BUT” BLOCKS!

Say your spouse says something you disagree with. Instead of saying, “yes, but…” or “BUT, I don’t want to…” or any other “blocking” words or phrases, I want you to try saying, “yes…I hear you, AND how bout this…”

If your children are begging for something – try “yes, I hear you and understand…AND here’s why…..” If you hear your own automatic negative thoughts blocking you, feel that fear. Say “yes, I acknowledge you fear AND I’m going to take action anyway, but thank you for trying to protect me!”

I still remember having to demonstrate this in grad school. Our professor was actually a regular performer in improv theater. And let me tell you…. I was petrified when he said we had to get up and do an improv “play” of sorts.

But the key to our success was this one principle. Staying open: releasing blocks in our thoughts along with blocks in our verbal and body language.

This shift to being more open allowed a bunch of nervous, non-actors get up and create a witty, fluid and even funny performance from nothing. Pretty amazing.

Your turn! 
Leave a comment at the bottom of this page and tell me: where can you apply some more “YES, AND” to help you get out of your own way this week?

Remember this gentle nudge to help you create a bit more harmony this week…..embrace some more YES, AND!

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16 Responses to Boost Your Improvisation Muscles with More “YES, AND”

  1. Thank you for the “yes, and . . .” I will try to remember and practice “but” blocks . . . this is profound! God’s blessings. Donna

    • Thanks Donna! Many blessings to you as well. Hope all is well and we miss seeing your smiling face every day! xo

  2. I love this! it is a part of my “curiculum” if you will, especially with my little one. I try and always partner a no with something positive. ie- no, we are not going to get that toy today, and I would love to see if we can be creative and come up with a way to save.

    • Thanks Claire! Yes….definitely applies to the kiddos – although it’s taking longer to teach them this lesson! 🙂

  3. YES!!!! I had a coach teach me this and I did practice it for a while and then forgot about it. Thank you for the reminder– it makes a HUGE difference.

  4. I love it! I know exactly how blocking ‘but’ can be whether I’m telling myself or being told by others. Changing to ‘Yes, and’ takes practive but it’s so worth it.

  5. My mu was such a big no buts person! She said that every time you said but you cancelled out whatever you said before as true. I love you but, I want to but, Im sorry but…
    It really does. Thanks for reminding us how careful we need to be with the energy of our language!

    • It’s so true right?! It really does have a way of cancelling out the previous statement. Thanks for sharing.

  6. This is so great, and it reminds me of improv when I did theater back in the day . . . you have to say “yes” to everything when someone changes the scene on you. I think it’s what keeps me open to possibility in my own life and work, always assuming that I can say “yes” with an intention of positive expectation and still get everything i need :o)

  7. this is so wonderful, shari! what a simple, yet powerful way to reframe the way we say things (whether to ourselves or aloud to others). a good exercise for me and my clients to use when we enter that realm of negativity.

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