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Expected to die, today he’s inspiring others to truly live.

World-renowned inspirational speaker + national bestselling author John O’Leary wants to help you wake up from accidental living so you can do, be, achieve and impact more through your life.

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  • Every Monday, John shares a quick burst of inspiration to help start your week on fire.
  • Every Thursday, John interviews an amazing guest on their story, successes, failures, lessons, and life to help you uncover tips to apply in yours.

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Mar 9, 2017

What does improvisation bring to business and life? The idea that we are not competing. We are in agreement, working together, have each others' back and building a relationship. 

Travis Thomas is an author, speaker, coach, improviser and expert at applying the cornerstone of improv - "YES AND!" - to succeed in life and business.

Today, you'll learn how improvisation has shaped Travis's life and how it will shape yours. Don't miss this fun, intensly meaningful conversation. You will leave with a concrete tool that will  help you to live inspired like never before.

My Main Takeaways:

  • Being nervous means you care. As an improviser, we don't think "oh no" instead, we reframe it from nervous energy to excited energy.
  • "You cannot progress until you say yes." The bedrock of improvisation, whether you are on a stage or the "stage of life" is Yes and... YES is acceptance (not trying to control because you can't change the facts).
  • In improvisation, you have an understanding that no matter what the other person says, you are accepting it (YES!). The 'AND' is where you build off of the accepted truth to get to the next level.
  • Why work from an "improv" framework? "The understanding in improv is that at no point are we competing or trying to sabotage. We are in agreement, working together, have each others' back, and creating a relationship." Imagine doing life and business in a world like THAT.
  • Un-programming the "no but" response. It makes us fall into a victim mindset. When you hear it, let it be a red flag. Replace it with "yes and!"
  • Be aware of BCE: Blaming, complaining or making excuses. When you catch your self BCE-ing, take ownership and ask yourself, "How would I respond if I was on purpose/my best/in the "yes and" mindset?"
  • If you're stuck: Go back to your beliefs because they create your perspective; and your perspective informs your actions and behavior. Read a great a book that will challenge your belief about yourself and the world to raise your expectation and mental model.
  • We influence through our interactions. Every interaction we either bless or hinder. Bless with love, forgiveness, compassion. It will positively impact.
  • The members of teams and cultures based on improv have  people who feel safe, trusted and respected ("psychological safety"). These are the teams that thrive and have life-forming collaboration, because there is so much trust you don't have to worry.
  • There are no mistakes. This is a key improv principle. Imagine a business or a relationship where there were no mistakes? What could you do?
  • It's not about figuring it out. It's about saying 'yes and' now because the momentum comes from accepting it right away and taking action.
  • Leap and the net will appear. Improv is like this African proverb; trust and know the outcome will be good even if we don't know what it is.
  • Get a copy of Travis's book Three Words for Getting Unstuck: Live Yes And!
  • I was a guest on Travis' Live Yes And! podcast. Check it out here
  • Care less about what people think about you and care more about what is purposeful to you.



1. What is the best book you’ve ever read? The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

2. Tomorrow you discover your wealthy uncle shockingly dies at the age of 103; leaving you millions. What would you do? The first annual Yes! Fest. I want to help inspire to put on an event that are youth oriented, because everyone tells me they wish they had this when they were a teen.

3. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be? A collection of letters that my wife and friends have written me and a book that, when I was the assistant coach at Principia College, my players each wrote a page about the impact I had on them.

4. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be? Jesus. "Hey Jesus, look where we are? Is this what you meant? What is your one suggestion to get on the path that you know we should be on."

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? It is also the hardest advice for me to take. Care less about what people think about you and care more about what is purposeful to you.

6. Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at age 20? Don't care what people think. Don't worry about the outcome. You know what you're passionate about. You know whats in your heart. Don't be rational. Don't be realistic.  

7. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read? He never stopped growing and he tried to do his best everyday.


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I can’t wait to see you here next Thursday! Today is your day. Live Inspired.

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