Yes, Please!

Mindcamp Random

How improv can take you from making great scenes to building a great life

By Tessa Manuello
As creative minds, we’re busy with dozens of ideas, hundreds of things to do and many more we wish we would do in this lifetime. But it seems there is never enough time – not to mention we often think we don’t have the know-how to achieve them properly.

I hope to inspire you to say “Yes” more often. Saying “Yes” can ease fear and help you achieve many ideas.

A few years back, I used to live with many unachieved ideas. I thought I didn’t have enough time and lacked the expertise to make them happen.

It was not until I took an improv workshop in Paris in 2008 that I began to think differently. At the time I was a legal professional with a heavy caseload facilitating the resolution of commercial disputes. Taking an improv workshop seemed a good way to amuse myself… but it became much more that.

As an improviser, the first rule I learned was to say “Yes.” Accepting each other’s ideas with a smile and with confidence was key to building a great scene. That meant saying “Yes” to the unknown, taking the leap of faith and being comfortable not knowing what comes next.

As I took more improv workshops, I started incorporating the philosophy of improv into my personal and professional life. I thought that if the principles of improv could lead to making great scenes, why wouldn’t they also lead to building a great life?

By saying “Yes,” I’ve allowed myself to live many unexpected experiences: I moved to Canada, worked for a community program with the YMCA, produced an improvised comedy for the Fringe Festival, acted as a journalist, wrote/performed/blogged poetry, and created an initiative for the empowerment of women. I also got my application as a presenter accepted for this year’s Mindcamp!

By writing this post, I realize it’s been a while since I last said a strong “No” or a clumsy “I don’t know…” My “No, I can’t do this,” “No, I’m afraid of that,” “No, this is not exactly what I want” were based on fears: fear of no longer being in control, fear of failure, and fear of judgment, to name a few.

By saying “Yes,” life flourishes. Saying “Yes” enables us to experience fears and dismiss self-doubts, to learn and transform, to open one’s heart to life and to love.

I invite you to experience the power of saying “Yes” – be it for small changes or bigger moves.

Tessa Manuello