January's OPEN challenge

A book club I belong to recently selected Improv Wisdom by Patricia Ryan Madson to read as a group. Have you heard of this book? I’ve seen it recommended in lots of varied places, so I was excited to check it out.

I picked it up the other day, and after scanning the introduction and the table of contents, it occurred to me that this book is the perfect companion to my One Little Word, OPEN. The book is divided into 13 “maxims” and all of them seem to relate in one way or another to my word, OPEN. Wouldn’t it be cool to set myself a monthly OPEN challenge, and to use the 13 maxims from this book as my guide? That’s one per month, with a bonus extra maxim for December. I’m so excited to get started!


Say Yes.

What does "Say Yes" mean and why it is helpful? In the author's own words, my favorite quotes from the chapter:
“Yes glues us together. Yes starts the juices rolling. Yes gets us into heaven and also into trouble. Trouble is not so bad when we are in it together, actually.”
“Saying yes is an act of courage and optimism; it allows you to share control. It is a way to make your partner happy. Yes expands your world.”
“Saying yes (and following through with support) prevents you from committing a cardinal sin—blocking. Blocking comes in many forms; it is a way of trying to control the situation instead of accepting it. We block when we say no, when we have a better idea, when we change the subject, when we correct the speaker, when we fail to listen, or when we simply ignore the situation. The critic in us wakes up and runs the show.”

How “Say Yes” relates to Open  

Saying yes opens me up, and helps everyone around me stay open, whereas saying no blocks, controls, shuts down and closes off other people (and myself.)

Saying yes opens the door to new adventures, possibilities, and connections.

Saying yes opens up the possibility of greater serendipity.

I habitually say no in lots of situations, and I can see how it could be a way to retain control of a situation, as the author points out. I love being made aware of this and challenging myself to resist the quick “no.” 

It should be said that I believe in cultivating the ability to use a good strong “no” too. Certain situations require a “no,” and many women I know have a hard time saying no when they probably need to. Ultimately it feels important to become aware enough in our own lives that we choose carefully when to say YES and when to say NO, and to avoid either one becoming a habitual response or ingrained tendency.

For this month, I’ll be bringing careful awareness to my opportunities to say YES instead of NO and playing on this edge to see what I learn. Join me?

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