We’ve come to love the word YES, and post it often as a reminder to embrace the opportunities that come along, and go with them.
But we realize that there is a very important other side to YES, and that is being able to say NO.
We’ve spent a good amount of our life learning how to set limits, say NO when something was too much or not what we wanted to be doing, even if we thought we SHOULD be doing it.
NO can be a mighty healthy, boundary-setting practice. We know a lot of people who don’t know how to say it, and then suddently reach the breaking point because saying YES has taxed them beyond their capacity.
Take it too far though and NO becomes limiting, knee-jerk limit-setting not necessarily based on where you are now. No can become a prison, especially if it is motivated by fear.
The trick is, to get them right. Balance is all. N0 and YES need to live in the world together; they are tools for us to navigate possibilities.
We find a good way to qualify YES is the improviser’s practice of “Yes, and….”
We’ll use ourself as an example. Burned out from some serious life whammy’s of late—from a friend’s life-threatening illness, to another passing away, to our assistant leaving— we thought “We can’t write four posts a day. We’ve got to stop. We need help (Coming up with four original posts a day isn’t easy).” We planned to take the last two weeks of August off, and just wanted to get through this week. We knew that if we really needed to stop, our generous readers would be game. But saying NO and going dark for three weeks seemed unseemly; after all, we are now charging for Improvised Life. Instead we said to ourselves. YES, we will do the daily posts AND we’ll do three posts per day rather than our usual four.
Tempering our YES with a qualifying NO took enough pressure off so we gained some steam to finish out the week, as it is now a pleasure to do.
YES found at Dominic Wilcox’s Flickr.