Why do we qualify our yes and nos?

“Either or” “Neither nor”

Fun rhyming but wiggly as far as making a choice.

“But I…”

Usually ends with “can’t”

“Well…”

Usually ends with some sort of negative notion.

My coach Rachel has gotten me into the habit of saying “Yes, and” instead of “But” or “Well….”

A slight correction or reframe as we like to say.

But a powerful one.

“And” means in addition to, right?

“Or” means instead of or a replacement.

“But” means except or an objection

I find that I’d rather add on to my life

Than subtract from it

Or replace.

BUT, I slip sometimes into those — excuses or a qualification that always start with “but”.

In self-deprecating humor, I’ll answer someone asking me to do something for them with this…

I’ll say, “Ok, so my answer starts with “but” but it’s not quite as big as my butt”. Haha.

Being a curvy gal with some junk in the trunk this usually gets a laugh. Especially if I give point to my backside.

Then the disappointing is easier.

Why can’t I just say No?

Without smoothing it, making a joke, making it easier to swallow?

Apologizing for my decision.

I have learned that I have to say no more often,

my time gets taken up by many distractions throughout the day.

My “Nos” have become stronger and easier.

Just saying No, without an reason, excuse, or apology.

Just a simple No.

What’s interesting is that people will wait for the reason

and sometimes will ask “why” in order to sneak in a secondary “are you sure..?”

One doesn’t actually have to have an excuse, we can just say no and that’s enough.

Experiment with this, you may also find it interesting.

So, with my stronger NO! in hand.

I also play with the “Yes, and…” when talking about myself, my work, what I care about, what I believe in.

I think women tend to explain themselves, give away the ending, say everything in their heads.

Ruin the punchline.

We find this in our writers group.

My coach Rachel has us write and then we read our stories aloud.

Instead of just reading our stories, there would be a sigh, a look and then, “well, it’s okay but….”

Where Rachel would yell, “STOP just read. No qualifying, no excuses”.

We all did it.

“Just read,” she said.

We read aloud, the writer listens to the group critique the writing, not the writer. And the writer hears and takes in the critique of the writing, not a personal affront to their soul. The writer is then allowed to critique and discuss with the group.

I learned this wonderful “Yes, and” from Rachel during our retreats together

- write, read aloud, listen, critique, process, repeat.

I think as women we think (and have been programmed) that we have to explain ourselves before doing, saying, enjoying — just about anything.

The thing is, we don’t need to.

The Nike slogan — “Just do it”.

Three simple words that pretty much say it all.

Next time you are answering a question, starting a meeting or being given a compliment.

Don’t start with “well…” or “But…”

Start with Yes.

Start with And.

Or simply just start.

Or just say thank you. And leave it at that.

That’s all we have to give in that moment.

That is enough.

Moments make movements.

If we all stop making excuses, there just won’t be any anymore.

As my grandmother used to say, nothing to it, but to do it.

Yes, and…

you fill in the blank. :)

Thank you for giving that little heart a nudge if you liked this. :)

Written by Head Maven & CEO, Heather Newman, Creative Maven

Once a month we share where to find Heather in the world and the most “maven/expert” opinions on marketing, brand, travel, and culture that we like from the internet. Receive our next issue by signing up here.

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