I confess, I don’t always practice what I preach.


Just this weekend, for example, I’m embarrassed to say that I did the opposite of what I coach clients to do.


It was Saturday night, and I was leading an hour-long session of playful activities at a weekend women’s retreat for my synagogue.


We started off with a Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament.

Also known as Rochambeau, this is the classic hand game you may know, where two people face off, and count to 3.

Tapping one fist into the other open palm, they say in unison, “One, two, three, shoot!”


On the fourth beat, they both say “shoot”, and each person can either throw a rock (fist 🤜), paper (a flat hand 👏), or scissors (two fingers in a V ✌️).


Rock beats scissors, paper beats rock, and scissors beats paper.

In the tournament version of the game, the loser immediately transforms into the biggest fan of the winner, and joins their team, standing behind them and cheering their name.

Now the winner looks for a new person to face off with, and game play continues as above, until two people are facing off, with the whole group cheering in two teams behind them.

Ultimately, one person wins the whole game and everyone cheers and does a victory dance for them.


It’s a quick energizer that only takes a few minutes, and it’s always a lot of fun.


Before I could even proceed with my demo, however, someone raised her hand to ask:


“Can we say something else besides ‘shoot’? It’s so violent!”

I’d like to say that I responded with a “yes, and” mindset.

I’d like to say that I opened up the question to the group, to find a solution that would make the question-asker feel validated, and the group feel respected.

Instead, I just said, “No.” Full stop.


It got a laugh. It saved time. And I moved on.

In my mind, this was just a five-minute game. Using the word “shoot” didn’t feel significant to me.

But what felt significant to me was not actually what was important. After all, I was facilitating this activity for the group. 

I regret acting so cavalierly, and I don’t think it was the optimal way to handle this particular situation.

And I certainly didn’t practice what I preach.
Which is to embody a “yes, and” mindset.


To be clear, a “yes, and” mindset doesn’t always mean that you literally say “yes,” but it does mean that you accept and build on the offers that are made by others.

Which I certainly could have done.

In fact, the next day, I was chatting with some of the women who came to my session, and they offered up some great alternatives to saying “one, two, three, shoot.”

Like saying, “Ro-sham-bo.. Go!”

Had I responded with a “yes, and” mindset, we could have landed on that solution in a minute or two, eased the anxiety of those who felt uncomfortable with the word “shoot,” and everyone would have had a much better time with the game.


This is the power of “yes, and”!

As you can see from my example, it takes practice to respond with a “yes, and” mindset by default, in the heat of the moment.

It’s okay if you notice after the fact that you threw in a “no” or a “yes, but,” where accepting someone’s offer would have served better.


You’re human. Awareness is always the first step. Now you (and I) can work on doing better next time!

Because a “Yes, and” mindset is so important for communicating for influence and presenting effectively, it’s part of what I teach in both my Communicating for Influence program, and my Winning Presenter Process™.

Start to pay attention to where you can bring “yes, and” thinking to your day.


You may be surprised at how it affects your relationships, and your ability to communicate for influence and impact.

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