Recently,  I was asked to participate in and/or attend two events.  They were things I would have liked to have done and could have learned something new, but honestly, I had too much on my plate.  So, I declined. I knew I could not participate wholeheartedly or without letting other things slide. About a week later, there was a story on NPR, TWO GUYS ON YOUR HEAD, where Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke discussed some guidelines as to when to say, "yes."

Saying yes to things you already know how to do is often easy, but saying yes to things where your skills are lacking or if there is a possibility of failure can feel intimidating or risky.    However if we are to grow as actors, artists, business men and women, or in our personal lives, we often have to take a leap, say "yes," and do things in order to learn, improve, or gain a new skill set.

In business, we can make a business plan. As actors we can memorize, practice, and rehearse. As filmmakers we can story board shots and plan in pre-production. However when it comes to the day of opening a business, the performance, or filming, there is often some piece of the puzzle that you never really feel ready for -  whether minuscule or on a grand scale.  However just because uncertainty or imperfection may lie ahead, we shouldn't be afraid to say, "YES."  According to Dr. Art Markman and Bob Duke, we should:  

*Say yes when you are asked to do something you are interested in and are willing to commit to it fully.  Have you ever said "yes," but your heart wasn't into it or you didn't really have time?  How did that turn out?

*Say yes when the opportunity allows you enough time and space to learn as you go along.  When you say yes to a new opportunity, you should understand you probably don't know everything - no matter how much you study or prepare.  If/when you graduated from high school or college, did you know everything you needed to know when you started or landed your first job? Or over time, did you gain more knowledge and become more adept to what was required of you?   

*Say yes if you are able to initiate a task accepting that everything may not go perfectly.  Say yes when know you are being given an opportunity to grow and have a safety net to make mistakes. According to Two Guys on Your Head just because you may be well prepared, it does not mean everything will go smoothly.  But, being well prepared will help you  roll with the hiccups you didn't anticipate.   They state that success is not necessarily based on how prepared you are but how well you take the curve balls and rebound after something unexpected.  Consequently, it is also important to say "yes"  only if you know you will have the support of others if mistakes happen.  If you get the feeling that others expect you to be flawless and perfect,  don't say "yes"  say "no."  

As an actor, I want to work with a director that will allow me to experiment in rehearsal or with a take or two on set.  Often times, you try something and it falls flat, so having the opportunity to work in a "safe" environment, experiment with different takes on a character, or mess up from time to time, allows one to develop a character, learn the blocking, lines, songs or dance steps, and grow as an artist? 

As a producer, I want to work with a director  and production team who will hear  and value my ideas or thoughts and collaborate.  My ideas may not always work or be what others envision, but if a team  respects and supports each other,  a better end product occurs.

*Say yes when there are more experienced and knowledgeable people with whom you can engage and learn.  Take hold and welcome the opportunity; say "yes."  When you can learn from others, an ideal circumstance for creating success in the long term has opened it's doors to you.  

I always love working with and learning from people who are smarter than I am or have strengths I don't have.  Learning from others is exciting to me, and I love the feeling when I learn new things as an artist, speech pathologist, or business woman. 

When do you say "yes?"


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