It’s got just three little letters, but infinite potential when it comes to opening doors and inviting in opportunities for growth and change.
While it may not be easy to lead with, once you spit it out, you are on the path.
It works best on its own, no buts about it.
It is, by definition, a positive response that can only lead to great results. Even if the outcome is not what you wanted or expected, you are better for just taking that first step from resistance to acceptance.
Behold, the awesome power of YES.
Here’s the thing about yes, though. NO is a much safer bet much of the time. (And definitely when it’s used as a 4-letter word. I’ll totally say YES to saying NO when someone else is forcing his/her will upon you in an uncomfortable or dangerous way.)
But in the day-to-day, no is usually about grabbing the easy way out. Cuts off the risk, saves you from spinning wheels, protects you from possible rejection.
Be honest — and feel free to say NO to this — is that REALLY how you want to live your life?
That’s the question I asked myself six years ago when I got a call from a friend of a BBF, Elizabeth “Buffy” Wright-Drier, about writing a short play. Buffy was then married to a guy that was directing a series of 10-minute plays called “Quickies” at a local Los Angeles theater, and she wanted to submit her concept for consideration.
Problem was that Buffy was an actress, not a writer.
And so she called to ask me if I would be willing to do the deed and pen the play.
This leads me to the first rule of using YES to get your mojo risen’ —
1. Listen to your Universe when opportunity knocks.
I had a very robust double secret life as a writer at that point; in fact, the timing was prescient, as I had just finished a terrific online class about crafting compelling stories. Problem was, nothing I was noodling with had ever seen the light of day. I needed a reason to venture out of my comfort zone and into the unknown. I figured the worst thing that could happen is I would write something crappy that didn’t get chosen to be included in the show. No big whoop, and so YES it was.
Which led me to the next problem: while I love theater, and from my initial conversation with Buffy had a pretty good idea of where I could take the story, I had no idea where to start when it came to structuring a short play.
2. Fake it till you make it is a reasonable corollary to accepting a challenge.
As soon as I hung up the phone, I immediately Googled “How do I write a short play?” Not only were there a ton of blogs on the subject, I also swiftly found a free Word template that rivaled Final Draft in terms of easy formatting for a theatrical piece.
3. The first yes is only the beginning, so pace yourself as you find your footing.
Once you’re at the starting line and committed to the race, there’s no problem with taking baby steps out the gates. In the case of the play, I had the basics: the setting of the play was a park. (That was the one thing that all the short plays in that particular Quickies series had in common.) The character that Buffy wanted to include was a homeless man who’d chosen to live a life in the streets (or so he’d professed) — this person was loosely based on someone she’d known of. I figured it would work best if I could write what I know, and so the character I dreamt up was a version of myself in a state of high anxiety and conflict; a stressed-out working mom whose car had broken down near a park even as she herself was on the verge of a personal breakdown. The idea that the homeless man was the one that had it all, and the middle-class mama was the one losing it all was very compelling to me. So once I made that connection, the pistons started firing and things started to move forward.
4. Yes is, by definition, an affirmation; I can then becomes your mantra.
I must’ve written a dozen drafts before I had anything remotely worth sharing with Buffy. We then honed it to a point where we were ready to submit the piece we now called Home is Where the Park Is — and wonder of wonders, we got the YES we had worked for! But it came with a caveat: the twisted ending (in which the lovable sage of the streets turns out to be a complete dick) was rejected. In order to keep the spot in the show, I was told I’d have to rework the ending so it had a more positive spin, but I should feel free to keep the sassy snap as well. Yes had gotten me this far, so a blind faith and a big, phat I CAN did the trick.
5. The true power of yes is that it amplifies, multiplies and expands exponentially.
Saying yes to working with people I didn’t know (first Buffy and then the whole Quickies team), taking on a project doing something I’d never done before, and interacting in a new setting (the theater — although do camp plays count?) yielded so many amazing things: new friendships, new collaborations and new opportunities. I’ll always be grateful to Ashley Taylor, the creative genius behind Quickies, Moosie Drier, the fabulous director who brought Home is Where the Park Is to life, and to Richard Horvitz, the amazing actor who portrayed the sage homeless man. Gianna Burke, who so gorgeously played the stressed out mom (and admittedly, my alter-ego) in Home is Where the Park Is brought a friend of hers to see the show — a UK-based screenwriter/author named Lynwood Shiva Sawyer… and he liked it so much that he asked me if I’d give him permission to turn the play into a short film.
By now you know what I said — YES!
6. Yes is always a game changer, and sometimes it’s a life changer.
It took six years and incredible persistence, but Shiva has gotten several amazing people to say YES to Home is Where the Park Is — first, a terrific producer/director, Marianna Dean, joined the team. Then the film’s two stars, Gemma Paget and Justin Aves, were cast. In a review of the original short play, LA Splash reviewer Wayne Bethanis noted that it “…[wasn’t] Shakespearian farce (in the park)…” but now that I hear these proper British actors delivering their lines, I have to wonder about that.
Did I just compare my work to Shakespeare? Why, YES, I think I did…
But truthfully I am so blown away by the myriad opportunities and shift in my own life that happened when I dared to utter that powerful little word.
So if you hear yourself saying yes, just know that I support you wholeheartedly. The best things in this world are happy results of decisions made when no was not an option. To hell with the double negatives, let’s make a spit-pact to always say YES…
And speaking of saying yes, I’m hoping that you’ll start your positive journey right here, right now.
In the title of this post I’ve invoked another powerful word that has the ability to make great things happen: Kickstarter.
Marianna has just launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise a very modest amount of money (approx. $10,000 U.S.) to shoot the film.
Please check it out and give what you can — every little bit helps so much!
Home is Where the Park Is Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/781458664/home-is-where-the-park-is
Here’s a sneak peek of the Kickstarter trailer:
Thanks, and remember, always say YES to, uhm, YES!