Welcome to One Word Suggestion.
Most people think improv is just for comedy or jazz music. But, really, it’s a tool for life. For each article in this series I use a single word, suggested by you, as a leaping off point to explore how having an improvisational mindset will help you perform at a higher level, both personally and professionally, whether you have a career on or off the stage.
One Word Suggestion: Fear
This week’s word, “fear” was suggested by Mitesh.
Have you seen the movie Atomic Blonde?
If you haven’t, It’s cold war era spy movie, set in Germany while the wall is still up.
It stars Charlize Theron, and there’s a scene in a nightclub where you can see a neon sign which says: “Everything you want is on the other side.” I thought this was an allusion to The Berlin Wall and the perfect life people imagined might exist for them on the other side of it.
Later in the movie, there’s a wider shot and the whole sign is revealed where we can see it actually says:
“Everything you want is on the other side OF FEAR.”
By this time Charlize is kicking some serious ass, but all I could think about is where can I get one of these signs made?
Because I love the expression and I think it’s absolutely true. If something scares you? Go towards it. That’s where the learning lives.
Fear often manifests itself when there’s something we know we want to do, but we’re hesitant to try because we might fail, get rejected, be disappointed, or whatever.
So if something keeps popping up in your brain and causing your stomach to drop – whether it’s applying for a new job, moving to a new city, asking someone out on a date, or taking an improv class – it’s usually a sign that you should be going for it.
How does all this relate to improv? For starters, improv is a great place to get comfortable facing fears. Maybe its public speaking, presenting, getting comfortable in your own skin, showing your authentic self to strangers…
Whatever it is, long-form improv and the ensemble philosophy create an environment where you will feel fully safe and supported to make bold choices, experiment, and explore. Improv dissolves fear. And that’s magical. Powerful. Life altering.
In a corporate context, fear is debilitating.
Innovation suffers, change takes forever or doesn’t happen at all, people don’t share their ideas, communication collapses and culture withers.
By incorporating some of the fundamentals of improv into a corporate context, you can help your team be less fearful of mistakes and more likely to succeed.
At LMA we always say “follow the funny,” but I think a good corollary to that just might be “follow the fear.”
If there’s something you’re afraid of right now, and it’s not life-threatening, then it just might be your soul trying to tell you something.
My advice is to listen to it. Take a deep breath and jump right in.
So that’s my take on fear. Thanks for the great suggestion, Mitesh.
If you want to suggest a word for next week, or add your perspective, drop me a note in the comments or in a review. I’m making one of these every week, for a year, so definitely subscribe, like, share, and all that jazz.
Or better yet, listen to the podcast.
And in the meantime, if you’re interested in improv for personal growth, professional achievement, or just for fun, my suggestion is to get yourself into an improv class or book a corporate training workshop for your team.
You can learn all about PowerProv’s programs at powerprov.com.au
About One Word Suggestion
The One Word Suggestion series is your personal toolbox full of ways to help you use the power of improvisation to craft a more mindful and meaningful existence. Available as articles, a podcast, and soon, a book filled with powerful exercises for teams.
The One Word Suggestion Podcast with Eran Thomson
In each 3-minute episode, Eran uses a single word, suggested by listeners, as a leaping off point to explore how developing an improvisational mindset will help you perform at a higher level personally and professionally.
Whether you aspire to be better on stage or on the job, this quick hit of improv inspiration is sure to bring you some insights, perspective, and joy.
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