When someone suggests you should try Twitter, do you proclaim that it’s silly?
When you’re urged to mail postcards, do you say it’s too expensive?
When you’re told that you should start an artist newsletter, do you respond that you don’t have anything to say?
Saying No vs. Saying Yes
I often teach my clients how to say No in order to bring some sanity into their hectic schedules. It’s important to learn to say No to things that don’t serve you well.
But it’s equally important to say Yes and to be open to possibility. It’s critical that you don’t erect walls that fence you off from valuable experiences.
When I first started my business, I encountered a lot of excuses from artists who told me why they couldn’t try this or that. If I hadn’t been given so many excuses, I wouldn’t have been able to subtitle my book The No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion. I would have had a different book. Without those excuses, I wouldn’t have been able to define the artists I wanted to work with.
I now only consult with artists who are open to possibility. I want to work with people who choose to live their lives as an adventure instead of playing it safe. I want to work with positive people who enrich my worldview.
Practice saying “Yes, and . . . “ to everything.*
With this in mind, let’s return to my three questions at the beginning of this newsletter.
A friend says: You should try Twitter!
Rather than saying that it's silly, you respond: Yes, and maybe you can tell me how it might benefit my art business. I love hearing about any new tool that allows me to share my work with more people.
A friend says: You should send out postcards for your art exhibit.
Rather than saying they're expensive, you respond: Yes, and I’m going to update my mailing list over the next few weeks. I’m also going to talk with other artists to find affordable options for sending postcards.
A friend says: You should start a newsletter.
Rather than proclaiming that you don't have anything to say, you respond: Yes, and I will sign up for other newsletters to see what I might be able to share that would be of interest to my mailing list. (See Action 8, Send a Killer Newsletter, in I'd Rather Be in the Studio!)
See how different these responses are to immediately dismissing a suggestion?
[*This is discussed in the excellent book Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith as it relates to improvisational comedy. They recommend the book Improv Wisdom by Patricia Ryan Madson.]
FINAL WORD: Don't dismiss what could be a good idea. Practice saying “Yes, and . . .” this week. It’s hard to do, but it’s powerful. Saying “Yes, and . . .” immediately changes your outlook from negative to positive. It opens up your world to other possibilities.
When have you embraced a new idea that made you uncomfortable at first, but ended up being a great move?