"The lights will go down, and when they come back up everything you see will be **improvised!**"
This weekend, I performed with a team who starts their shows this way. It's unique, because many improv troupes start off with an audience suggestion of some type. But this team dips the lights, and then creates an entirely improvised show upon the re-illumination of the stage.
I love this. As an art form, and as a metaphor to start the day. The lights went down, and now they've come back up. Everything that's about to happen will be all made up!
You get to decide what will happen today - even in the midst of meetings you don't want to be in, even in the midst of co-workers who don't approach the job the same way as you, even in the midst of managers who include leadership quotes in the signature of their email, but actively disregard the sentiment entirely. You still get to decide!
You get to participate in the magic of creating your day. I chose the image in the header of this article, because it filled me with the exact feeling I have when I see or get to participate in really magical improv. That feeling that's like "HOW IS THIS HAPPENING?! -- I'm so glad that I'm HERE in this moment of all the places I could have been right now."
What would it be like if that same sense of wonder rose in our hearts right along with the sunrise every morning?
The things is - I know from personal experience, and from the shared experiences of those in my coaching programs - how incredibly difficult it is to embrace that mindset when you feel powerless and overwhelmed at work.
It feels similar to the experience of trying to save a rough set; when the audience is quiet, and you can feel their boredom, judgement and regret for having invested $12 dollars in this experience.
I get it. But here's the deal: in both situations, your mindset is the most important determining factor in what your experience will be.
The story you tell yourself about what's happening around you will either allow you to participate in a way that creates magic, or allow you to participate in a way that creates misery. Every thought. Every email. Every re-telling of another's professional misstep. We're either stepping closer to or further from our desired experience.
SO -- if you're hoping to step into something magical at work today; something that exceeds your expectations in unthinkable (and positive!) ways, here are some mindset shifts to help you improvise in that manner:
The lights went down, and they came back up - and EVERYTHING that's happening is all made up. You can participate accordingly, if you want to.
You can experiment with new character work if you want to. You can hang back and let the scene develop without you if you want (<-- this is 100% a fantastic choice much of the time, contrary to what my fellow A-types are tempted to believe). If you WANT to... you get to do the most courageous improv you've ever done today.
It's not an obligation! It's an invitation.
I'm not interested in generating content that leads to self-judgement. I'm 100% interested in generating content that leads to greater self-discovery and empowerment.
We are improvising all day long, and we have been since our earliest, pre-verbal impulses to interact with other humans. This thing we're doing is completely made up, and we help direct the overall experience with every single contribution.It's a new day. It's new scene. The magic will be happening whether or not you realize it... but it's SO MUCH MORE FUN to realize it.
Should we talk? If you're feeling stuck in your career, and you'd like to harness the mindful improv, agile creative process to find more confidence and clarity about your next steps, there's room for you on my calendar!