In a recent performance coaching I was offering an executive he said, “I want to look normal when I walk up on stage.” His want to “look normal" sounded like a yes plan but was really a no plan -- don't look abnormal, i.e. trying NOT to do something -- which I think of as a Secret No. This Secret No heightens the chance of a fight or flight response and may result in constriction of joints, muscles, thoughts, and ability to dynamically respond to the situation at hand. You've seeded your thoughts with exactly what you're trying to avoid and are thus more likely to play it out.
We needed to build a yes plan -- something he could fully embrace and, when it played out, would support his hopes and dreams. We took a few minutes to build a new plan and decided he would invite the audience to be with him while he was with them so he could share a story he found compelling.
His presence, tone of voice and pace of speaking immediately reflected the shift in his thinking and mindset. He was pleased. He had gotten what he wanted by experimenting with a plan built on yes.
There are two main plans as a performer --
Make a yes plan
Act on what's in your control
Everything else will follow.
Why does a yes plan work?
We are always whole! When the invitation to perform reflects our wholeness the results follow. Cognitive neuroscience, and maybe common sense, shows we respond to desire, to an actionable yes. “Looking normal” vs “inviting you to be with me while I'm with you so that I can share a something I’m super excited about” might sound trivial but your body, your being, can take action only on the latter.
The executive walked into the coaching session saying, “I’ve never given a pitch before and I’m not great at this stuff” and by the end of the lesson he had an actionable plan for storytelling that got his whole nervous system, attention and intention online.
Can you hear the yes and no plans around you? And what do you notice? I’d love to hear your story and experiments!