“Yes, and” Your Way

You did a great job on this report but I noticed a few errors.

Yes Black Lives Matter but don’t all lives matter? 

I met all of my quotas last month but this month was a disaster. 

I love you but I slept with your brother.

After reading each of those sentences what did you learn? 

That apparently you need to pay more attention to detail, your friend completely dismisses your beliefs, you failed to meet your sales goals this month and your girlfriend, well, let’s just say you need a new one. There were some good things in there too, you did a great job on a report, and met all of your quotas last month, so how come your focus rests on the negative things? 

Blame the ‘but.’ 

The ‘but’ in these instances dismisses the first phrase, making them seem trivial and unimportant. We don’t think it’s your goal in life give people the impression that you’re a pompous ass so how do we fix this? 

Just ask our co host Gina Trimarco. “If everybody would just learn and apply the philosophy of ‘YES AND’, which is a philosophy of acceptance without judgement, we would all be in a much better place.” ‘YES AND’ is an age old improv technique that encourages you to exchange ‘but’ for ‘and’ amongst other things. 

So let’s swap those ‘but’s for ‘and’s. Yay, for ‘but’ stuff.

You did a great job on this report and I noticed a few errors.

Yes Black Lives Matter and I respect your belief.

I met all of my quotas last month and this month was a disaster. 

I love you and I slept with your brother!

Okay so that last one still sucks. ‘And’s can fix how critiques are perceived but they can’t fix infidelity. 

However, using ‘and’ in place of ‘but’ can do a number of things:

  • It can allow both things to be true. You did a great job on the report, congratulate yourself and next time let’s pay a little more attention to detail so that we have fewer errors.


  • It can encourage dialogue instead of debate.We have an unconscious habit of being ready to counter before hearing and understanding someone else’s perspective, always having ‘but’s at the ready. In its dismissive tone, “but” usually incites a “who is right” conversation rather than a respectful sharing of opinions. 


  • You encourage creativity, innovation and collaborative teamwork. Imagine you share an idea with a colleague and their response is ‘I really like that idea but let’s add this to the plan’. Perhaps our Catholic guilt is showing but that statement leaves us wondering if our colleague even liked our idea in the first place. Should he or she have said ‘I really like that idea and let’s add this to the plan’ well that has such a better ring to it. 

We could go on and on about the pros of applying ‘YES AND’ to your life as co host Rachel Pitts attests, “I will always say it is the best lesson I’ve ever learned.” But let’s leave the details to the professional, for more on ‘YES AND’ check out our Patreon page where you can join as a patron and have access to tons of bonus material, including a video of Gina explaining ‘YES AND’ and the multiple ways you can apply it to your professional (and personal) life.

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