Why I Say ‘Yes’

By Lis Lewis

I don’t like to say ‘no’. I just cleared my entire calendar for the whole week in order to get on a flight that just landed (12:00 AM EST). I’m here in New York City to work with Miguel for his performance this weekend on SNL. I didn’t actually know I was going until just three days ago.

The entertainment business operates at the last minute; nothing gets done until it’s on fire. For example, I actually have no idea what my schedule is going to be for the next three days. However, I do know where I’ll be from 11:30 PM to 1:00 AM on Saturday night.

This business runs on a last-minute basis and that’s true for the artist too. There is a six hour rehearsal tomorrow, but even Miguel doesn’t know when he’ll be onstage. He only knows that he’ll have to leave 30 Rock by 5:30 because he has a show at Madison Square Garden tomorrow night. And I don’t know if I’m supposed to go with him to the show or not. But I will say ‘yes’ whenever I’m asked to do something and so should you.

Sing at someone’s party this weekend? Yes. Learn to dance by Friday? Yes. I’m not saying you should ever give up your character or become a person that someone else wants you to be. It’s your uniqueness that is the most compelling thing about you. But be flexible too. It’s okay to not know what’s coming next. It’s okay to take a risk. If they ask you to co-write with someone you don’t know, say yes. If the recording studio offers you free time, realize they might have to bump you for a paying client. In my experience, things don’t always happen the way you plan; sometimes it’s even better.