“Yes, and….” and “Saying Yes to No”

There are two recent powerful lessons I wanted to share with anyone who needs to hear these as much as I did. They involve yes and no.

Yes, And

The first is: “Yes, and….” This is from a book — Getting to “yes and”: the art of business improv by Bob Kushan with Chuck Crisafulli (and I definitely recommend adding it to your reading list).

I received the book when participating in a really great Women of Experian event (back when I worked at Experian) where we learned how improv can be a powerful professional tool to use. 

Approaching ideas without pre-judgment and remaining open to ideas even when you don’t understand them at first is a powerful way to get to a better solution, empower teams, and combine divergent and convergent thinking to truly collaborate and drive change. 

Being open to new ideas even if they’re scary or not what you’re used to can be really hard. But it can lead to exceptional results personally and for your business. It can drive truly new and innovative ideas, allowing you to combine pieces of different solutions to get the best results possible. 

Say Yes to No

The second lesson is: “Say Yes to No.” This may seem contradictory to the above lesson, but it’s actually something to put into practice as you’re getting requests, are asked to do something, or even if you’re a business getting feedback from a client or customer.

Recently at an all-hands meeting for Radix Health, an amazing healthtech company I’m lucky to be a part of, one of the board members, Jim Denny, shared an important point — that sometimes it’s important to “say yes to no.”

As a workaholic, volunteeraholic, and someone who just genuinely loves helping others, this really resonates with me as I sometimes spread myself too thin trying to give to others. Because you can’t do it all. And if you try, you’ll be doing some stuff not so great or even poorly. 

Saying no can feel negative, but the reality is that it can be very positive. Saying no to the wrong thing can free you up to say yes to the right thing. Also, saying no can make people think about the ask — maybe it’s not really needed; maybe attention could be put on something that is more impactful, meaningful, or could help more; and maybe it’s just putting too much stress or pressure on someone (or even a system/process) who can’t really take much more.

Saying no is sometimes important for your own well-being. Like many people, as a working mom, I struggle with balance and trying to give my all to a growing, independent daughter as well as to my work and other very important people in my life — my husband, my family, my friends, and my pups. Oh, and me… that whole self-care piece that is crucial because if we don’t put the oxygen mask on ourselves first, we can’t help anyone else. 

So, I’m making a concerted effort to put these two lessons into play for myself for 2021.

Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash