Say Yes to Everything

I was sitting in my office coding a web site when the call came in. It wasn’t very good news. In fact, it was the opposite of what I wanted to hear.

I wanted to tell the person their offer was unacceptable. But a memory came back to me.

Without thinking, I said “Yes.”

Gulp. I said yes to something I didn’t want. Then I said, “And…” and I told them what I did want.

It seems contradictory. But it wasn’t really. It was the epitome of win-win. They got what they wanted, and I got what I wanted. And what I wanted made the “Yes” totally worth it.

What was the memory? Read on…

Can you say “Yes” all the time? Yes. Yes, you can.

Can you honestly say “yes” to everything that shows up in your life? How about IRS Audits? (I did.) How about saying YES to not meeting a deadline, breaking a promise, or even a crossed boundary? Yes.

Not only can you say yes all the time. Here’s why you should say yes all the time.

Yes is the only way to creatively manifest what you want.

Improvisation Class

When I lived in Chicago, I took an improv training at Second City. As you may know, Second City is a comedy center of the world, a place where some of the most famous faces of comedy have trained. I didn’t want to go into comedy or even acting, but I did want to play and have fun.

One of the things I learned was an exercise called “Yes, and…” The rule was you couldn’t say no to the person you were improvising with. You could only say “yes, and…” You had to say yes to whatever showed up in your reality, and then add something to it. Even if what showed up was the other person saying, “You are a giraffe.” The rules meant that you had to say, “yes, and…” You had to dig deep, often, even allow something even more bizarre to come out of your mouth. You had to add to what was already there.

If you’ve ever experienced this either as a spectator or participant, you know how hilarious it can be.

Saying “yes” to the absurd opened up creativity. You couldn’t stop what was happening by saying no. You had to creatively move with the energy of the moment. You had to work with whatever showed up. It took us to some pretty funny and outlandish places. It was like a giant brainstorming whiteboard where every idea was valid, even if the idea was completely ridiculous.

Years later, I’m finding this exercise more useful than ever. I’m seeing how it works with everything in life… in all manifestation. Even when what shows up is completely out of the range of desirable, you still have to say yes to it. The key, though, is the magic “AND.”

Aren’t we all just improving anyway? Something shows up in the improvisation of your life, and you have to roll with it.

When the IRS audit showed up in my life, I couldn’t phone in a “no thank you.” I had to answer it. I had to roll with it. I had to say “Yes. I’ll answer your audit.” My creativity led me to say, “And, here’s my enrolled agent who will be facilitating this whole process.” That ended up being not only good for the audit, but good for my life. My enrolled agent has been one of my favorite people here in Mount Shasta, and she’s helped me with a lot more than accounting and audits. She’s amazing. So my “yes, and…” became a win-win for everyone involved. Even the government.

What you resist persists
When I helped my good friend George Cockcroft (also known as Luke Rhinehart) get The Book of est ready for reprinting, I learned  as much through the process as I had gotten things done. One of the exercises in The Book of est showed exactly how what we resist persists.

The participant had a headache. The trainer takes the person into fully experiencing the headache. Not just assigning words or metaphors or labels, but really getting into the experience of the headache. Magically, or not so magically, the headache disappears.

Everything that shows up in your life is there as a stepping stone to somewhere else. If you resist the stepping stone, it persists until you get it. If you don’t get it, it shows up somewhere else until you’re ready to get it. It keeps knocking on the door until you’re ready.

The Magical “AND”

You see, “Yes, and…” opens up the creative process. We are creative creatures. We are meant to get in the flow of things, we are meant to create, build, and we are meant to move things around. We are meant to add to our communities, we are meant to give to others, we are meant to be a part of something more than what we are.

I’ve been using “Yes, and…” more and more frequently in situations where I would normally say no or resist. It requires:

  • I stay very attuned to who I am
  • Honor my own boundaries
  • Stay very present with where I am
  • clean regularly on my beliefs and programming

I often use tools like advanced ho’oponopono as Mark has taught me to do it.

So, here’s an example. I say something. Mark says something in return. He tweaks me a little, because I could take what he’s saying as either passive aggressive or a bit of a cut at me. I could react and say, “Hey that’s not really fair” and defend my boundaries. That’s my typical pattern of reaction, to challenge him to live up to the standards I hold of him. (Unfortunately for Mark, I have really high standards!) But as I’ve tried “Yes, and…” It creates a completely different feeling in my body and mind.

I say, “Yes” to whatever he said, then I add my own creative opinion on it. Sometimes it’s hilarious and comical. Sometimes it gets him tweaked a little. But what it does… it opens us both up in a place of playfulness with whatever has shown up.

Mark tells me that the “Yes, and…” is a NeuroLinguistic Programming technique. As we get older, we get stuck in either/or type of thinking. We get locked into judgments and beliefs in black and white thinking about what is true, and it locks us from finding creative tools to move beyond stuck thinking and stuck experiences. We think we’ve got it all figured out. And as Mark Twain said, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

What goes after “and?”

Life is improvisation. As soon as we think we have it all figured out, life throws something unusual into the mix. All of a sudden, someone is calling us a giraffe, and this time they really mean it. We have to take what shows up, and we have to work with it.

We have to create.

We have to dig deep and open up the whiteboard of our reality and allow something new to come into our experience.

It might not make sense. It will often NOT make sense. But it sure will be a lot more interesting.


Trends in Sales and Marketing

Fundamentals never change. But what are the fundamental aspects of sales and marketing, and what are the fads?

The fundamental basis of sales and marketing is relationships. Obviously, no one gets paid until something is sold. There are two ways you can sell: you can manipulate a “prospect,” or you can connect with a human being and explain how your product and service will meet their needs.

The internet has changed sales and marketing. However, they don’t change the fundamentals of sales and marketing: a relationship must exist between the product creator and the consumer. This lack of attention to the fundamental relationship between seller and buyer is the key to the problems in our culture.

The internet is just another method of connecting people in relationship across geographic distance. Because the internet allows people to connect with others who are more suited to their mindset, it exposes the reality of the sales process much more. It makes it more apparent when someone is deepening a relationship, and it makes it more apparent when someone is ripping a customer off.

We see it. We can see the company that only wants the sale who does not stand behind their product that breaks 2 weeks before its warranty. We see the company that sells us a product that doesn’t work unless you buy something else. We can see straight through the marketer who charges too much with the attitude that he’s doing great work if he can convince people to pay more than something is worth.

A recent article noted that tablet users (iPad, etc.) are a very important demographic. The early adopters, tablet users are showing us the way the internet (and internet sales) will be going. And tablet users are more discerning. They research more, they dig deeper, and they become very informed about the products they purchase.

They are leading the way… and the rest of the internet users will follow. It will become harder for the rip offs to continue finding victims.

Psychology Today recently ran this article about The Business of Manipulation. Within the article is a graphic, a matrix of different types of marketers. Unfortunately, many of the marketers in this country don’t know how to be anything more than “dealers” (selling a product they don’t believe in and don’t use themselves) and cannot fathom what it is like to be “facilitators” (selling a product they use themselves).

To the person focused on their own profit above serving customers, the goal of the sales and marketing is money. The mailing list exists to get sales. If a marketer of this ilk talks about relationship marketing, the relationship exists only to create sales.

Markets are made of people

Last week, I ran some metrics on our mailing list. We’re getting XX% opens on our newsletters, and I wanted to learn more about our list. As I am writing the scripts to run comparisons, I realized how wrong that attitude is. In this list made up of thousands of email addresses, there are individual emails… these trees in the forest. These email addresses are PEOPLE. There are a core group of people who open every single email we send out. And there are others who open most of them. We have relationships with those people. They are customers, but they are also friends.

In the internet marketing world, I am encouraged to find ways to manipulate the list to get more opens and clicks. I am encouraged to become a dealer, to focus on improving metrics, and “get the money out of the list.”

While you can break down customer demographics, group them, and learn about them in segments, the primary element marketers seem to forget is that markets are made of people.

Sales and marketing are changing

I can think of a few internet marketers who will think I am insane. They’ll tell me I need to create a syndicate and work with other internet marketers to extract money from lists of targets. I think they’re wrong.

And I think that’s going to change. People are wising up. Savvy consumers are more discerning about where to spend their money. People are researching more before they buy, and they’re demanding more than a product shipped on time. They’re demanding your attention to their needs.

Smart marketers are providing more value. Smart businesses are solving problems that we never knew we had.

Smart marketers are being honest. Truthful. And they’re connecting on a deeper level.

People are changing

As people, we’re changing. We’re becoming deeper and more aware, and the businesses we deal with are being asked to become deeper and more aware. We’re meditating more and exploring more aspects of our consciousness. We’re learning more about our multitudinous aspects of consciousness through deeper dreaming,

The simple act of meditation makes us more aware of subliminals. We’re not as open to manipulation as we were before. We are making conscious decisions based upon what we really need and want, not based on emotional appeals and high pressure sales tactics.

We’re demanding deeper connection in our relationships, in our entertainment, and in the communication that arrives in our home. That goes for all sorts of businesses.

How to succeed in the new landscape

Marketers are scrambling. People are watching less television, reading fewer newspapers, and less magazines. People are turning to online venues for their news, information, and connection.

To succeed means to get back to fundamentals. It means to look less at viewers, subscribers, and readers as a number and more as what they really are: people. It means looking beyond the metrix, beyond the matrix, and connecting with people in a relationship that actually improves their lives.

To develop those relationships, get to know your customers. Find out who they are. Find out what makes them happy, what challenges them, and solve their problems.

Along with finding out who your customers are, find out who YOU really are. What makes you happy, what challenges you, and solve your own problems in an interdependent way with your customers.

You are not that unique. The problems and challenges you have are the problems and challenges your customers have. Solve your own problems and extrapolate those solutions towards other human beings experiencing the same issues.

In The Wealth Diet, I provided some exercises that have worked for me to determine what things make me feel wealth from the inside out. Those also translate into methods of finding business solutions that make you happy as well as your customers.

But above all else, when you start to explore your heart and the energy within your being, you cannot help but expose who you really are. Allow that to flow, and the customers you were meant to serve begin to show up.