It’s All Improv & You’re Already Great At It | Blog
It’s All Improv & You’re Already Great At It | Blog
It’s all improv.
Thinking on your feet. Responding to the moment. Dealing with the unpredictable and the unknown. Engaging with others. Taking what life & others present and building on it. Creating.
We all do this in our work, our lives and our relationships.
This last weekend I was leading a three-day intensive with a friend and colleague for her non-profit organization. We were training her new mentors and teachers on the principles behind human potential, well-being and our true nature. One of the attendees teaches improv. As she was sharing her experience, I kept having the thought, “It’s all improv.” Life, business, relationships is unpredictable, and we are constantly having to adjust, find our way, go into unknown territory, create and respond.
I did an improv class many years ago. It was a blast and also a little nerve wracking. I remember having those moments of tense anticipation wondering what was going to happen and wondering how I would do. It was also fun and exhilarating.
There are a lot of wonderful metaphors in improv. Things like listening, building on what others have offered, there are no mistakes, etc. What is present for me today is realizing that life is improv. Business is improv. It’s all improv. And in a way, we’re already really great at it.
Being adaptable, thinking on our feet, responding to the moment is what we do. Being able to predict and control all the variables of life and business is an illusion. And not necessary. Why? Because we are designed to thrive in the unknown. We are designed to think on our feet and respond. We are designed to engage & connect with others.
I’ve spent a crazy amount of mental energy playing the future game. Trying to prepare myself for all kinds of “what if” scenarios. Thinking through future conversations, future opportunities, future events. Yet, when I began to understand the power and potential of our minds; our innate nature; to offer up what we need in “real-time”, I could see all my thinking wasn’t really necessary.
In fact, being in the future was constricting my mind. Being in my head, in my planning or trying to figure it out, is not the same as being present or being in real-time.
I was also underappreciating the fact that I have what it takes to handle ANY moment. The creative intelligence of our minds is a constant. It provides insight, clarity, new thought and helps us engage. Look for yourself and see how you have always been responding to what life presents. We can’t help but respond.
One of the things that kept me hooked to planning was thinking that I could have done better or I will do better if I plan. I wanted a back-up plan or a “plan b” in case I needed it. However, it wasn’t until I got willing to show up in a freer and more present mind, not having it all figured out, that I started to see how reliable the creative intelligence is in all of us.
Just last week, I had a client share how she decided to test this out with her presentations. She has to give presentations to her leadership team and clients on a regular basis. She would come highly prepared. They were always well received and articulate. However, she was spending a huge amount of time doing “rehearsals” in her mind. She had started to wonder if that was needed and decided to show up and see what happened. As she was telling me the story, with some chagrin, she said not only did I save a ton of time on the front-end, I had more fun. It was more interesting and engaging for me. And she said, “I have never gotten as much response and enthusiastic feedback as I did that day.”
That’s not surprising. Why? When we are in a freer, more present mind, we think on our feet, we hear what’s needed, we are able to respond to what is present versus responding to what we think. We are lighter and less tense. That feeling of ease and presence affects others.
It doesn’t guarantee a certain outcome, but it gives us access to creative, helpful, insightful thinking in the moment. Life, business & conversations require that we engage, adjust, keep going, take what comes our way and build on it.
Conversations are improv. And you’ve been in conversation your whole life. Are you seeing it yet? You are already wired for improv.
You are designed to create, respond & engage. When we let go of tracking, evaluating and trying to force a certain outcome, we experience more of our innate potential and connection to that creative intelligence. We engage and discover fresh new possibilities.
Yes, like improv it has moments of nerve-wracking anticipation, but it also has moments of pure joy, connection and exhilaration.
“The creative intelligence of our minds is a constant.”
Show up with a little courage and bravery and you will discover the power and brilliance of the creative intelligence behind all life.
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Barbara Patterson is the owner of a global coaching and consulting company bringing the insights of performance and fulfillment to clients around the world. She helps organizations, leaders, entrepreneurs and coaches access more clarity, creativity, have greater impact and higher levels of performance in work and life. Barb is the Founder of Beyond Limits in Business and host of the Real Business Real Lives podcast. If you’d like to experience in-depth, robust and transformative mentoring for you and your business check out Barb’s 6-month Beyond Limits Small Group Mentoring Program. You can follow Barb on Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram. You can also subscribe to her weekly blog on her website at barbarapatterson.com