Agreement vs Acceptance

Updated: Oct 25, 2019





A few months ago I was getting my hair cut and the stylist asked me what I do for work. I told her about the basics of improv and how it connects to her work.


I told her about how improv teaches us to see ''everything is an offer.'' An offer is really anything a person says or does. The more we cultivate our skills of noticing, the more offers we notice that we have an opportunity to respond to.


We can either block or accept and offer. "A block is anything that prevents the action from developing, or that dismisses the reality created by your partner's offer. To accept moves the offer forward by treating the offer as valid, by saying Yes And to it." *

I said, "What if you cut or color someone's hair and they don't like it. You don't have to agree with them. The invitation to accept their offer. So you can say to yourself, 'Yes, you don't like it. And what can we do about it.'' That's accepting their offer.


I think that so much suffering comes from us not wanting other people to think or feel how they think or feel. We resist. We wish they weren't angry. So we end up blocking - dismissing the reality created by the other. Rather, the sooner we can accept, Yes, they are not satisfied, or Yes they are angry, the sooner we can shift to asking, "Okay, what are the opportunities now, given this reality."


How many times have you interacted with a client or a colleague or boss and you don't like what they are saying (offering)? Here's the good news - "You Don't Have to Like It!" The invitation is to accept their offer, to accept that this is their approach.


I believe that this distinction is vital and can save us A LOT of grief, energy, time, and money.


And this ability to accept is really about seeing all people as human beings first and foremost who have their own history, thoughts, feelings, wants, needs, baggage, path of healing.


See what happens when you have a more spacious approach to others, when you are present to them and accept their offers. What I've discovered is that people don't feel like they have to dig their heels in as much. There's room for them. And so they don't hold on as tight, so they loosen their grip.... and then we get to the place where we can connect and discover together possibilities that we couldn't see before - when we were too busy blocking, denying each other's reality.


* * *


On the afternoon of Friday October 4, I'll be co-facilitating a Liberating Structures Immersion Workshop with Art Sherwood and Kristine Baker here in Bellingham, Washington.


Liberating Structures are an amazing way to increase engagement and unleash innovation with your team. In this workshop we will learn the Liberating Structures by doing them. It will be highly interactive and fun!


Our Early Bird rate of $150 is still valid, until Sept 20 when it will go up to the final price of $250. For more information and to register go to LSbellingham.info


Note: our team will be leading a full two-day Immersion in Winter 2020.



*(source - Dudeck, Theresa Robbins and Caitlin McClure, Applied Improvisation, p 283)

©2019 by David Westerlund. Photo credits: Ramona Laird, Alvin Shim, and David Westerlund.