CityZen: A moment when we become one with the chaos and that chaos transforms into peace.

“Yes, and…” or “The Power to Shake Your But”

We can actually have our cake and eat it too. Cake, eat cake, have more cake. I’ve eliminated the word “but” from my vocabulary. Everything is now, “Yes, and …”  The practice of eliminating “but” from my vocabulary has opened doors of opportunity to do more in my life.

Imagine. What if you never said “but” again?

But I don’t have the time.

But it takes resources, money, talent, skills.

But she, he, they, my boss… won’t let it happen.

“But” continues arguments, stifles creativity, keeps us “right” without taking the blame, the hit, or the responsibility.

But you see…

I don’t have the (insert here)

  • money
  • time
  • resources
  • help
  • job
  • partner

But I…

  • did what I was told
  • work really hard
  • heard you say…
  • didn’t know…

“Yes, and…” eliminates excuses. It opens opportunities to do more in life. “Yes, and…” maximizes the precious time we have on the earth. We can actually fit in more into life with “Yes, and…”. “Yes, and…” acknowledges the challenge, other point of view, or a possible path without stopping momentum. “Yes, and…” does not waste time. It makes people more efficient, creative and validates their ideas. In fact, it builds confidence and strength in a dialogue.

Did you know Fortune 500 companies are using improv techniques to teach leaders how to lead?

Apparently “Yes, and” is an improv technique that is gaining traction in the business world as a tool for training leaders*, getting present to others, and helping faster thinking**. Instead of listening to the voice in our head and being consumed with our response, we listen, validate, and add on to create movement forward. Leaders empower their staff through “reacting, adapting and communicating” while creating “a safe place to fail.”

I was first introduced to the term “Yes! And” through my then 5 year old daughter. Three years ago, we signed up for Yes! And summer camp. Totally interactive, they put on a really funny show in one week. It’s an imaginative and collaborative arts program with a mission to equip children and young people with the tools to be better learners, to believe in themselves and to realize their dreams through the work of creating collaboratively with peers and professional artists. 

It’s all that. And…the light and playful attitude of the camp reminded me of how fun life can be, without excuses.

One simple example,

Enter my wife at 5:30 AM:  You getting up for basketball?

Me (groggy): Well… I… wanted…

My wife: There is no coffee. We are out of coffee!

Me: I will get coffee.

Wife: There is no place at 5:30 in the morning to get coffee! (Exit stage right)

Me (mulling the possibilities over): I could stay in bed, hear more about the coffee…I could play ball, then get coffee…Yes, and… That’s it! (Jump out of bed and leave for 6 AM bball game)

7:05 Coffee beans in hand, played three games of basketball, wife making a break to the espresso machine

7:09 Wife: I’m beginning to feel better already.

7:09 and 30 seconds: Me too.

Try it. You’ll like it. People will like you. You will like people. You will get more done. It works. Come on, shake your but.


*Yes, And Improv Techniques to Make you a Better Boss Fast Company January 2014

**How to think faster and on your feet. Aug 2008


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