Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Yes (A to Z Blogging Challenge)

Several years ago I read the following article written by Tina Fey on saying yes. It had made such an impact on me that I copied it and shared it with a co-worker. Years later my friend mentioned she remembered this piece and it had served her well. I hope you'll take one minute to read it and leave a comment.  
Have you ever said YES and knew you'd figure it out later?


 By Tina Fey

In 1997, I moved from Chicago to New York to work at "Saturday Night Live." I packed up and was going through my things to see what I would take with me and what I'd leave behind. I found an orange folder -- a regular school folder -- in a bookshelf. As soon as I saw it, I knew what it was. There were quotes written all over the front of it. Some of them were: "Greet everything with 'Yes, and....'" "Make statements instead of putting the burden on others with questions." "Stay in the present, as opposed to focusing on the past or future." "The fun is always on the other side of a yes." (emphasis added)

Years before, I was a student at Second City, an improvisational acting school in Chicago, and took a class with artistic director Martin de Maat. These quotes were some of the rules of improv he gave us. When I found the folder, I realized that taking that class had completely changed my life. It certainly sent me down a career path that I never would have ended up on otherwise. It also sent me down a personal path -- my friends were all part of the improv community. My husband was a piano player at the ImprovOlympic, and we met there. All those rules and exercises defined us and our outlook on the world. 

The things I learned in that class became part of the way I live my life. A couple of times I've been called on to do things -- jobs or whatever -- where I've felt, Maybe I'm not quite ready. Maybe it's a little early for this to happen to me. But the rules are so ingrained. "Say yes, and you'll figure it out afterward" has helped me to be more adventurous. It has definitely helped me be less afraid. 

"We're offering you a job here at 'Saturday Night Live' -- can you move here within a week?" 

love, susan


  1. Love this! Very inspirational. It takes courage to say Yes to opportunities that come your way because there's always that trade off of giving up what you know for what you don't know. I've found it most exciting to jump in the unknown pool, otherwise I'd find myself swimming in a sea of What Ifs... Great post Susan!

  2. Great post - I like this. When I said "YES" to the A-Z blog challenge, I didn't think I had anything to say, and I didn't know what to write. But I did it anyway - and couldn't be more thrilled. Good way to go through life. Great post, thank you for sharing this! :)

  3. I'm a firm believer in yes. If we don't give something a chance...we limit ourselves.

  4. Wait a minute. Am I the only one who does not agree? I mean, I've been in therapy because I needed to be taught to say no after a lifetime of yeses when I needed to say no. For instance, I said yes to a church that asked me to do some serious art work for free. I had to buy all the supplies too. The Catholic church wasn't broke. I said yes to creating art 365 days. I should have said no to the challenge. I knew I could do it, but I did it to what end? Now, I know I like to make envelopes but said no buying a template. I recently said yes and I've found a way to use several drawers of beautiful paper . So, maybe we need to cultivate a yes spirit if it comes to taking chances we're uncomfortable with? Did I miss the boat again? Susan, you make me think too much! :D Help!!!

    1. Haha! You must read my "stop doing" blog. BTW, I love the random artsy letter I received in the mail yesterday. Oh, it brought back memories of when I used to make collage art. YES, I will try to make something in return.


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