You make your partner look good. The scene is never about you….
When we learn we either acquire new skills and knowledge or modify old structures of knowing and doing. It helps us adapt, change, survive, grow, and thrive. The great teachers in our lives have provided the opportunities for the modifications and acquisitions. They help us step out of our comfort zones and stretch in new directions.
When we cocoon ourselves with the same people, processes, frames of reference, sources of information, activities, and thought patterns we limit perspective. We become mired in what we consider our best practices. We fail to grow to potential.
For the past two months, I have been a student with an improv comedy workshop. I have stretched, learned, failed, learned some more, laughed, failed again, collaborated, and grown with nine talented, witty, and encouraging troupe members.
Certain themes resonated with each session. Consider how each of the following can have applicability, beyond the improv stage, to our personal and professional relationships.
- Give and receive gifts.
o Good improv starts with the basic “yes, and” premise. You make your partner look good. The scene is never about you; you make the scene about the scene. You and your partner give each other opportunities to shine and advance the message. This also applies to the audience. Accept them. Receive them. Without them, you are speaking to yourself.
- Commit to the scene.
o Let the people in front of you (your partners and the audience) know who you are and what you are doing. Be specific. Be clear. Be heard. Step out and take a chance. If you fail, your partners will be there for you. If they fail, you will be there for them. See above.
- Listen and share the stage.
o While it’s important to be heard, you must share the scene. This requires listening and following. When we all talk, and all increase the volume of the conversation, we end up with chaos. Know when to modulate or stop talking. Remember, again, it’s not about you. It must be about the overall message.
- Don’t start a race to the bottom.
o Do you really need to drop the “F-bomb” or insult a group of people? Once you open the door for lower-level discourse, you give the audience permission to go there. “Oh,” they think, “so it’s that kind of show! Let’s give ‘em more of that.” When we revert to disrespect we announce that we either cannot do better, or we are too lazy to create at a high level.
- Laugh and collaborate.
o Yes, and yes! Learning does not need to be solitary or drudgery.
Being a continual learner gives us opportunities to experience, fail, and grow. It can be frightening. It can be exhilarating.
Step out, stretch, and experience.
Video recommendation for the week.
Failure can be frustrating. I like it when I can laugh and learn from it. As I did from the experiences in this video. Enjoy!
Make it an inspiring and grateful week and H.T.R.B. as needed.
For information about and to order my book, Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here. A few colleges and one state-wide agency have adopted it for training and coaching purposes. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same.
The paperback price on Amazon is now $14.99 and the Kindle version stands at $5.99.
Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition).
(c) 2018. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.