A few years ago I ran across this blog post by professional coach Keith Webb that led off with "Improvisation is theater without a script. Kind of like coaching, leadership and well, life." I've always been a fan of improvisational theater and was immediately hooked. I read the post with great interest and realized that Webb was spot on. The secret to being an effective coach, as well as an effective leader lies largely in one's ability to STOP trying to control or to over-analyze things and to be present and flexible in each moment.
Shortly thereafter I was enthusiastically sharing my freshly learned insights with fellow Phoenix coach, Lisa Lang. Lisa has a background in the performing arts so she totally understands the connection between the principles of improv and coaching. She recommended that I read a book by Robert Poynton, Do Improvise: Less push. More pause. Better results. A new approach to work (and life) (link). In the book, Poynton shares the following introduction to the promise of improvisation as an important life skill:
"The unexpected is our constant companion. Blind alleys, unheralded turns and serendipitous connections are everyday stuff. However hard we work to avoid it, we are constantly accosted by things we didn’t plan for, from a puncture to a deflating economy. Life is a whirling torrent for which nobody has a script. Such a complex world demands an improvised response."
I'm convinced that Webb and Poynton are right. The basic principles of improv - Notice More, Let Go, and Use Everything - can be applied in any context. Consider for a moment that every day of our lives is a piece of improv on the stage of life. By intentionally developing our ability to improvise, we can can learn to be more adaptable and more resilient in a world that is increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. We can learn how to be more open and responsive to what we have instead of wishing we had something else. Who wouldn't benefit from that!
With all of this in mind, I'm excited to be partnering with Joanna Horton McPherson of Better People Company to offer a four-week course on four Thursday evenings in June (the 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th from 6-8 p.m.). Together, we'll be exploring how to be more mindful and resilient using the principles of improv. Regardless of your professional role, you'll develop a greater capacity to effectively respond to whatever life throws your way, both personally and professionally. And you'll have a ton of fun doing it!
Please join us! Click here to register on Eventbrite.