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Improv to Accelerate Your Work and Life

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Do you ever feel stuck?

Whether it’s at work or in your personal life, you should always be evolving.

Developing personal skills goes a long way toward accelerating your career, helping you move up the ladder and create opportunities in your life.

So just how do you accomplish this goal?

By having fun.

Let me tell you more about it.

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Have you ever seen an improvisational sketch and laughed hysterically at the performer’s ability to turn on a dime and come up with really creative ideas?

Well, these improv skills can be applied to business and life  –  with huge success.

Here’s a review of the four “improv” skills that you can use to develop your skills and accelerate your life and work.

Yes! Space

Improv works because every idea is accepted, no matter what. If you can say “Yes!” to everything, you and your team will create endless possibilities and an innovative environment. In addition, people will feel heard and see that their ideas are being considered.

The best part is that an improv “Yes!” is not a Pollyanna yes. We accept contributions and value the team member. But it doesn’t mean we’ll do everything someone suggests. We accept ideas and explore them, but if they don’t work out, we move onto new ideas.

The team understands that this is acceptance with give and take  –  we accept and explore together. That keeps contributions flowing. However, creativity and improvisation are stifled when you look at the idea in its infancy and dismiss it too quickly.

In this kind of environment, the group will continue to improvise, offer even more ideas, and accept the ideas of others. What you end up with is a team of people that feel respected and are all contributing to the solution.

Building Blocks

What are the building blocks that lead to a great idea? It’s when you start with a word or suggestion, and work with your team to build upon it  –  until you explore every avenue possible.

By building on each other’s ideas, your team can build synergy and an innovative environment where ideas flourish. It also demands that we respect the others’ ideas and jump in with them, which means that sometimes we have to put our own ideas on hold. We take on the risk of jumping into another person’s idea to build, knowing they’ll do the same for us later.

Team Equity

Think of team equity as a place where everyone contributes, everyone is respected, and differences are perceived as assets. In addition, there is a spirit of investing in each individual’s growth, so that eventually, those efforts will translate into team growth. We are thrilled about our differences: They complement and support each other, and push us to be the best versions of ourselves.

You’ll notice a big difference at work and in life when the environment shifts from one or two people contributing to the entire group having a chance to share ideas and thoughts. Results typically go through the roof when each individual is valued for his or her contributions and growth.

Oops to Eureka!

Mistakes happen. All the time. What’s important is how you deal with them. In improv, mistakes often become eureka moments, occasions where fascinating, innovative discoveries are made.

And the Oops isn’t always something bad  –  it’s just unexpected. Like a huge client you didn’t see coming! A good problem to have, but still an unexpected moment.

You can turn mistakes and Oops into opportunities by dealing with them head-on. It’s not really about the unexpected or the mistake. It’s about how you choose to respond.

The next time there’s an “oops” moment, be flexible and seize the chance to try something unconventional. Who knows? The next greatest discovery for your team or in your personal life may just be hiding behind that mistake.

Get ready, set, go!

Here’s a recap of the basic principles of improvisation:

  • Yes! Space: Bring positivity and creativity into the workplace.
  • Building Blocks: Take something small and build it into something exceptional.
  • Team Equity: Leverage the combined power of the people in your organization.
  • Oops to Eureka!: Understand that mistakes often yield the greatest discoveries.

Use them at work and in life, and skyrocket your success.

What principles of improv do you already use at work and in life?