No matter how much you care about work, or being a “good” parent, partner, or friend, you are going to make mistakes and fall short from time to time. That’s okay. We’re not robots.
But if the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that there’s no one way of doing life and we are all just doing our best.
And if we let go and trust in the process, ourselves, and each other, we can soon discover that magic happens when we go off script.
I know improv is a game changer for people willing to give it a go. And here’s why.
Improv lets you be a beginner.
As adults, we sometimes forget what it’s like to be a beginner. We may dream of giving a certain hobby or activity a go, but because it’s not something we’ve tried before we put it off and find excuses not to sign-up.
You can’t predict the direction of an improv exercise, so you surrender the urge to “get it right” and allow yourself to be a beginner again. Nearly everyone in my workshops will be in a similar boat so you can have your first go at improv together.
Improv is good for the soul.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. said: “To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.”
When life throws us curve balls or bad news is all around us, improv is a fun way to nourish your soul. The beauty of improv is in the process and the practice, not the outcome. That makes it the perfect mix of escapism and being fully in the moment.
There’s a reason why I keep coming back to improv – it makes my soul sing and it’s addictive (with no nasty side effects).
Improv expands your comfort zone.
Change and improvement can never happen if we’re always playing it safe – holding tight to the status quo like a comfort blanket.
No, growth lies outside of your comfort zone. The more you’re willing to push outside your comfort zone the more it expands, and your confidence grows. You really are feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
Improv can throw you exercises where there is no real-world equivalent (think Zombies or aliens). You get to try out being someone else for a while or problem-solve imaginary scenarios. Trying out new – and unexpected ideas – is a great way of expanding your comfort zone.
Improv encourages you to develop a positive, growth mindset.
If you want to be effective, creative, and proactive, you’re going to need to let go of some control and take risks.
Mistakes are opportunities to learn and grow. Improv allows you to try out different scenarios and perspectives, without fear of repercussions. This is because it fosters an attitude of: “let’s give this a go and see what happens.”
The more you practise this muscle of giving things a go and letting go of just one way of doing things, the stronger your growth mindset will become.
Improv helps you stand tall and be more expressive.
We’ve gotten so used to connecting with each other via screens we’re starting to lose the art of expressing ourselves with our full bodies – like gesticulating with our hands or being animated with our movements.
Improv helps you not only think on your feet but be on your feet again. You can try out what it’s like to move your hands in a certain way, stand in a certain way, or walk across the room confidently.
Improv lets you express a fuller, richer range of emotions in a safe space. And get instant feedback from your peers. You can ask: does this stance look aggressive? Does this look confident and create respect? How do I use my voice to convey a certain message?
I love how improv teaches us to take up space again and stand tall.
Photo Credit: Emma Hughes Photography