Notes From Tina Fey

I like to think that great ideas are all around us. We just have to let ourselves see or hear them. This month my thoughts started from a bit in the book Bossypants by Tina Fey. (I will admit that for Hallowe’en two years ago I dressed up at Tina Fey doing Sarah Pallin…  I had her accent down cold. I may be a fan – of Fey- not Pallin!) I have no authority by the publisher or author… but here is a bit from the book. Sadly, I’ve taken all the funny bits out for brevity.

Fey lists some “Rules of Improvisation”:

  1. Always AGREE and say YES – if you don’t your scene will ground to halt
  2. After saying YES… add something to the scene with AND… if you don’t, again you’ve come to a standstill
  3. Make statements – in other words, whatever the problem be part of the solution. “Instead of saying –Where are we? Say –Here we are in Spain, Dracula”
  4. There are no mistakes.  Many of the world’s greatest discoveries have been by accident.

What struck me as applicable to the life of a high performance athletes came as she presented the first rule. She had this to say,

“Now, obviously in real life you’re not always going to agree with everything everyone says. But the Rule of Agreement reminds you to “respect what your partner has created” and to at least start from an open-minded place. Start with YES and see where that takes you.”

I think this is probably a good tool when travelling in other countries, checking in (or out) of anything, dealing with officials, coaches, other athletes, family, friends, media, visa offices, bankers, employers, your favourite barrista…

The 2011 competitive season has shifted into gear and there are already great results coming in.  Keep at it. You chose this unique life that you are living…. Continue to start with YES and see where that takes you.

I’d love to hear what your thinking about these days…

Marnie McBean
3x Olympic Champion – Rowing

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